The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

A Carbon Tax Should be Implemented in The United States.

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MrTechno has forfeited round #3.
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Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/23/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 845 times Debate No: 96358
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)





Debate Rules; Round 1

There are a couple of rules I’d like to put in place for my opponent:

1: No semantics; and to that end, I will make clear what my argument is:

I will be arguing for a Carbon Tax.

Wikipedia’s statement on Carbon Pricing should give you what you need to know immediately:

Carbon pricing — the method favored by many economists for reducing global-warming emissions — charges those who emit carbon dioxide (CO2) for their emissions. [1]

And to specify on the carbon tax:

A carbon tax is a tax levied on the carbon content of fuels.[2]

Carbon: Chemistry. a widely distributed element that forms organic compounds in combination with hydrogen, oxygen, etc., and that occurs in a pure state as diamond and graphite, and in an impure state as charcoal. [3]

Tax: a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc. [4]

2: My opponent and I share the BoP; this is a pretty large BoP opportunity and I think evening it out will add fairness for the debate.

I will be arguing for the use of a Carbon Tax in the United States, by either the fact that it works already, and the fact that it can be improved easily enough. My opponent will have to argue that a Carbon Tax is not fit to be used in the United States.

3: No trolling. I mean, everyone here should know that drill.

4: Structure: Round one is for acceptance only; any arguments in this period will designate a forfeit.

4A: Round 2 is for opening arguments only; your opening arguments, and only your opening arguments, cannot be a rebuttal to mine.

4B: In Round 3 rebuttals start. You must rebuttal all arguments, even if they’re in the same round as yours after round 2

4C: No new arguments after opening rounds.

5: If you do not cite sources for studies you find to use in your argument, those arguments won’t do anything. Please cite sources whenever you get something from another website.

6: Finally, if you have a question about the rules or think they’re unfair, PLEASE tell me them before you accept the debate, and I’ll work it out.








I accept your challenge!
Debate Round No. 1



First off, I’d like to thank MrTechno for accepting this debate. It means a lot to me.

Contention 1: Human Health; Global Warming

Why should we use a Carbon Tax in the first place? To reduce CO2 emissions, which lead to global warming. I will now show the severity of the global warming problem which will necessitate a Carbon Tax in the first place.

To begin, I will quote David Keith, an award winning experimental physicist:

“There is no controversy among anybody, even the skeptics, that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is going up — unless you pick ones that are just nutballs” [1]

The effects of this is one of the most debated issues today, but scientifically, it’s increasing much faster than normal because of the CO2/Carbon emissions. I will go into more detail on this later, but according to this chart, almost all of these emissions are caused by humans.

[2] Now, it’s pretty easy to draw conclusions about what this means. When CO2 increases, the earth emits heat that the Carbon Dioxide prevents from leaving , which means the place is going to get warmer, and warmer, and warmer. Don’t we all know that that means trouble?

2014 being the hottest year by record is only trailing 2016 by three years, as well as the corresponding forest fires. Climate change caused more than half of these fires since 1979. [3] [4]

Here are some other added effects of global warming:

The sea level will go way up. Because ice is very easy to melt into water, once we cross the line of 32 degrees all over Antarctica, with much of the ice melting inside it, it’ll mean disaster. [5] [6]. The thing is, we lose about a hundred cubic kilometers of ice in Antarctica every year since 2002, according to a study by NASA. This means that many areas close to the sea level, such as Hawaii, might lose their footing sooner or later. This is worrying.

Now, here are even more effects caused by global warming: [7] The water supplies we have will decline, especially in the American Southwest. And finally, the obvious 3 points:

1: 1980’s was the hottest decade on record.

2: Wait, I forgot. 1990’s standard was hotter.

3: Oh wait, and I forgot about the 2000’s. HOTTER.

Having a Carbon Tax combats all of the global warming problems. Honestly, it’d be too long to list all of them. But Carbon Tax, being the taxation system based on CO2 emissions, is certainly necessary to reduce global warming.

Contention 2: Overestimates on the Regressivity of a Carbon Tax.

A Carbon Tax is needed, but on the other hand, we could wonder to ourselves “Is it worth reducing global warming at the cost of a less good taxation system?” This contention shows that the Carbon Tax is economically overestimated in it’s regressivity.

The main complaint about a Carbon Tax is how it is a Regressive Tax, which leads to the same amount of taxation on the poor and the rich. The thing is, the Carbon Tax doesn’t really have to be this way. We don’t even need to change anything to see that Carbon Taxes are less regressive than you think.

The conventional wisdom is that a Carbon Tax is regressive, because even if the rich have to pay more in numbers, the poor have a larger percentage of their income taken away.

According to a study, Progressing Towards a Fair Carbon Tax, [8], this isn’t as true as you think.

Does annual income accurately represent a household’s well-being over time? Not necessarily. Some researchers argue that using annual income as a measurement of household well-being overstates the degree of inequality of excise tax burdens, exaggerating the effects of both progressive and regressive taxes (Poterba 1989). This may be the case for a number of reasons. First, the annual income of households follows a predictable path: younger households earn less income as members earn education and first enter the workforce; middle-aged households earn the most income as members’ careers mature; and older households earn less income as members retire. Second, annual income can vary significantly year to year. Temporary unemployment, for example, changes income drastically.”

This states that most studies exaggerate the regressive effects of a Carbon Tax, due to the changes in income over the course of a lifetime. In early working years, according to these charts on, the income is lower. (i.e. college years.) [9]

And another chart, proving age differences in income:

These both prove major differences in income from different ages. This negates the ideas that Carbon Tax information can be properly inserted as a regressive tax.

One more thing; readers, when reading my opponents sources, make sure to only legitimize sources that show that Carbon Taxes affect producers and companies, as well as consumers. Not including the former can result in a biased study.

There is a lot of information about the misconceptions of what a Carbon Tax does, and listing it all would be a lost cause; I believe, however, I’ve already made my point about the misconceptions of a Carbon Tax.

Even with all of this, we can still do more to make a Carbon Tax even better. This point brings me onto my next contention.

Contention 3: Refining a Carbon Tax
This contention may be a bit short; I apologize.

To begin, this is a quote from The New York Times.’s article The Case for a Carbon Tax:

“Revenue generated by carbon taxes could be used for a variety of purposes. A lot of the money should surely be given to households, especially the poorest, through tax credits or direct payments to offset the higher prices they would have to pay for gasoline, electricity and other goods and services because of the tax. Some of the money could be used to invest in renewable energy and public transportation, or to lower other taxes.” [10]

We need to think about the revenue for discussing a Carbon Tax. Don’t think of a Carbon Tax as simply a way to lower fossil fuel amounts because of Global Warming; We can do even more with the revenue.

First off, rebates. Rebates are very important when discussing the revenue of a tax, especially one that can be considered regressive if no thought is put into it. Rebates are a direct payment from the government at a later date. The thing with rebates, is, that they’re very easy to be made progressive.

Ideally, we can simply give a larger rebate to the bottom 20 or 10 percent, while cutting off more, which simply makes it more progressive, since the more wealthy, having more, therefore likely spend more; people in scarcity are subject to not having the liberties of industrializing everything they do.

As the New York Times said, there’s even more to do with the revenue, just like the revenue of any tax is important. Public transportation and increasing the quality of schools and homes in poorer neighborhoods may even benefit from a relatively high Carbon Tax.


An income tax is naturally more progressive than a Carbon Tax, which was really the whole reason I had to make those last two arguments, but here’s where we add up everything.

1+2= 3.


As a logical argument, I have proven that a Carbon Tax has simply outweighed a Progressive Income Tax. Let’s say the fact that a Progressive Tax gets two points for having no problems in terms of regressivity.

Even under the most generous terms, a Carbon Tax still wins. A Carbon Tax, as I have shown, really almost builds up to the progressive nature of a purely Progressive Tax. Let’s give it one point for that.

With the rise of a global warming problem, we’ll give it 2 points for that, as global warming could very well possibly be the end of humanity, soon enough. Now, since there’s two points for the global warming and one for almost living up to a progressive tax.

3 is bigger than 2, and the resolution is affirmed.
Finally, I’d like to thank the readers of the debate, whether you agree with me or think I must be living in an Insane Asylum somewhere.

Also, thank you to my opponent, for accepting this debate, and I look forward to a good argument from you.
I await my opponent, and goodbye!













Sorry I could not get back to you sooner
Well, to start my argument, a Carbon Tax on the United States will reduce wages for workers in the coal and oil fields. My idea is that, a majority(67%) of the power generated in the united states comes from coal, oil, and natural gas. So you have to put a tax on your energy bills. Since people don't want to pay extra money, they would resort to solar power. Less power used from the oil means less money for the oil company. In order to cope with the lower revenue, they would have to lower wages for their employees, which means they would a. switch jobs or b(more likely). not have enough income to support their families.
Another thing is that most of the CO2 emissions are from—you guessed it—China! Although the United States has the 2nd largest share of CO2 emissions, China has produced 3224.68 million metric tons of CO2 more than the United States, and since we cant do anything about China because they're communists, only doing it for the United States would mean the rest of the world would still produce trillions of tons of CO2, which would still cause mass climate change.
My last argument is that a Carbon Tax would cause mass outrage as people feel like taxes are already too high. I live in New York where sales tax is 8.625% and income tax is 6.45%. I dont want to pay an additional tax for gas and energy where taxes are through the roof. Some of us can't use solar power(aka people from where I live) because our income per capita for the county in which I live is $36,189 and median household income is $87,778. We can expect to see a drop in those numbers and possibly a 3rd Great Depression(2nd one was Great Reccession) if a Carbon Tax would be implemented. Thank you for your time.


Debate Round No. 2



Thank you, MrTechno.

Now, before I respond to his first argument, which I believe is more important to talk about, I will mention his second and third arguments first.

China Argument:

His second argument, that China produces global warming and therefore the United States pollution doesn’t help, is incorrect.

According to [1], China produces 23% of global warming emissions, while the US produces 21% of these emissions. United States is close to being in just as much danger as China.

Reducing almost half of the major source of global warming still means a lot.

Oh, and by the way:

"we cant do anything about China because they're communists"

That's an unsupported argument that could more or less be called an Ad Hominem.

According to, the internet website from Time magazine:

China—the world’s largest polluter—has sought to portray itself as a leader in the global fight against climate change in recent years. The country has expedited the development of renewable energy power plants, experimented with cap-and-trade programs and last year committed to curb its growing carbon dioxide emissions in coming decades.”

[2] Now, logically, shouldn’t we play our part to defeat global warming, if China is doing theirs? The article makes it very clear that China has already been trying to reduce this problem.

Taxes are Too High Already Argument:

My opponent says that taxes are too high already, however, tax swaps and rebates can solve a majority of this problem.

Now, for the rebates. According to turbotax, rebates look like this:

Federal, state and local legislatures frequently issue tax rebates to encourage taxpayers to make certain types of purchases or to stimulate a flagging economy quickly by getting cash into consumers' hands.”

It’s simply a direct repayment of cash back to the person who paid the Carbon Tax.

[3]. Now, in order to offset the charge on the poor and the middle class for taxation, we can give a progressive rebate. Specifically, the rebate is given more to the poor than to the rich. I did list this in my first round argument.

Now, for the tax swaps.

Let’s just suppose that a Carbon Tax is fifty dollars a year, and an Income Tax is two-hundred dollars per year. (Remember, if it’s off, it’s just an example). A tax swap can be easily implemented in the United States by doing practically the same thing that a rebate does.

You pay the two hundred dollars of the Income Tax, and say that your Carbon Tax takes up fifty dollars of that Income Tax ,thereby lowering the Income Tax by fifty dollars. You pay the Carbon Tax, while lowering the Income Tax whenever the tax swap occurs.

These two methods are very efficient, and I have shown that Carbon Tax needn’t really increase the amount of taxes you’ll have to pay that much.

The Carbon Tax Works Negatively Against Producers Argument:

My opponent made the argument that a Carbon Tax works negatively against producers.

I wanted to address this late, as it’s really a major argument in the debate. My opponent, to summarize, is saying that a Carbon Tax would have a bad effect on those who work for companies that produce carbon emissions. I will refute this in four premises.

Premise One: All New Things Come With Costs

It’s required, whenever a new thing comes along, to have a cost. The cost of the Carbon Tax may be some decreased production, but, on the other hand, don’t all advances have an effect on people?

Let’s think technology here for a second. Technology- and I’m sure my opponent would agree- is an advance in everything we know. It’s sped up academic progress by calculating answers to problems, which is a lot quicker than simply doing every problem, and it helps the workforce , as technological inventions do not fatigue, nor do they require as much pay as a person. These things cost people who used to have jobs to lose them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, when talking about technological unemployment:

Nothing illustrates the impact of technology on jobs like the dramatic decline in the U.S. workforce employed in agriculture – from 41% of the population in 1900 to 2% in 2000. Big declines also occurred in a number of other occupations. Automobiles reduced the demand for blacksmiths and stable hands; machines replaced many manual jobs in construction and factories; and computers displaced a large number of record keeping and office positions…”

[4] This shows that, technology, although we need it, does take away jobs. It’d be difficult to find an advancement that didn’t have it’s cost. So, I’ve affirmed that not only are many important things detrimental to the workers in the economy, but I can provide an example.

Technology is similar to a Carbon Tax in these ways. Technology is a necessity, and necessities have flaws. A Carbon Tax is a necessity because of the fact that it reduces global warming.

However, as The Wall Street Journal will mention later, there are still a lot of jobs, which is because the government was able to help this issue. This is true with the Carbon Tax, as I will prove in the next few Premises of my argument.

Here, I’ve shown that there are costs for every advancement, and therefore the problems are inevitable and not special to a Carbon Tax.

The readers should, of course, read the rest of my premises for this third argument, because this isn’t all I have to say about his point here.

Premise Two: Increasing Welfare For Producers

Remember that in this case I will only be talking about those who work to produce carbon emissions that relate to Global Warming, not every worker in general.

Now, back to workers. It’s true. Some jobs could be lost , but this premise and the next one affirm that there’s a lot to do about it.

First off, we have unemployment benefits. [6] Unemployment benefits are now $450 per week for a limited time, which is low, sure, but that brings me back to the argument at hand:

[I know the source numbers are out of order, not much I can do about it, as Google Docs is giving me a bit of trouble]

Since in 1996 we passed a law to give the options of welfare back to the states [5], many states, Conservative and Liberal alike, will agree that it’s an absolutely necessity to give these people Welfare. Mostly because, well, they didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t a matter of the fact that they’re simply unemployed, but it was a circumstance. Therefore, most would agree that it’s correct to increase welfare for laid off producers.

This is because the major argument against welfare is that people take advantage of it instead of getting a job, but in this case they have no choice.

In this argument I have shown that unemployment conditions can be improved. However, in my next premise, I will show that there aren’t going to be too many unemployment problems,

Premise Three: More Information About The Revenue and How it Can Help Workers:

Unemployment, contrary to popular belief, can even be, as crazy as it sounds, improved by a Carbon Tax.

How could this possibly happen? This source, Brookings, argues for it:

But a carbon tax doesn’t need to be all bad news for the coal community. As documented in my new research, coal consumption and production is on the decline for many reasons, and is unlikely to rebound any time soon. What coalfield communities need now is to move on their transition before things get worse. To do that, they need funding, which a carbon tax is uniquely suited to provide.

“An analysis from the Tax Policy Center’s Donald Marron, Eric Toder, and Lydia Austin estimates that a carbon tax that starts at $25 per ton of CO2-equivalent emissions and increases by two percent above inflation each year would produce net revenue of about $90 billion in the tax’s first complete year and about $1.2 trillion over its first decade. Just three percent of the revenue over a decade could raise $36 billion for the transition. And that revenue projection is even lower than what might be raised by a piece of legislation introduced last year by Congressman John Delaney (D-MD), which would start the tax at $30 per ton.

“Thus a carbon tax can raise more than enough revenue in the first ten years to fund a generous transitional assistance package for coal workers and communities and still allow for tax reform and other objectives that could motivate a legislative deal.

Now, we can decipher that if we execute a general $25 dollar Carbon Tax, we will be able to grant a gigantic package that can help coal miners in the transition.

Premise Four: New Business Opportunity; A Whole New Industry

Humans have been making technological advancements for quite some time, and couldn’t it very well be possible that we have a whole new industry on our hands? Since the American economy will need to adjust to these changes, we could have a whole new industry based on alternative energy which minimizes the need for CO2 emissions.


I have made a rebuttal to every single argument that my opponent has presented, and in doing so have shown many other opportunities America could make to establish a Carbon Tax. I hope my audience recognizes, as the BoP is shared, that the Pros of a Carbon Tax, which is global warming, far outweigh the changes we would need to make to establish it.

The resolution is affirmed.

Now, I’d also like to remind my opponent that he must attack my opening argument and defend his now.

Over to you, Con, and thank you for this awesome debate.









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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by armoredcat 1 year ago
By the way, MrTechno, my argument will most likely be posted tomorrow, at around 4:30 California time to undergo revisions.
Posted by armoredcat 1 year ago
Working on it right now.
Posted by armoredcat 1 year ago
Sorry, not the first 2, the first one.
Posted by armoredcat 1 year ago
All my images are in the photo album btw.
Posted by armoredcat 1 year ago
I know some of my images were small. Go on my [9] source for the last 2 charts.
As for the first 2.... I think they're on Wikipedia. I know, I know. It's not THAT reliable.
MrTechno, thanx so much for accepting, btw!
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