The first Carbon Taxes

 Andrew Leonard on the first carbon taxes in the world in a discussion on carbon sequestration.

 So imagine our surprise upon learning that Norway’s state-owned oil company, StatoilHydro, has already sequestered some ten million tons of carbon dioxide offshore, in a sandstone formation 1000 meters under the seabed, near the Sleipner offshore gas platform. StatoilHydro started burying CO2 beneath the ocean all the way back in 1996.

How prescient! But perhaps not so surprising. Norway first imposed a stiff carbon tax of $50 a ton on its oil and gas industry in 1991, providing a significant impetus for the industry to minimize its emissions.

1991! In the United States, a “carbon tax” is seen as a death knell for any politician so foolhardy as to endorse such an economy-killing idea. The people would never stand for it, and the energy industry would fight to the death to stop any such madness.

Funny thing, though. Finland instituted a carbon tax on fossil fuels in 1990 — the first country to do so. Norway and Sweden followed in 1991, and Denmark and the Netherlands in 1992.

And somehow, all those nations have managed to survive.


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