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

Carbon Tax

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,311 times Debate No: 96961
Debate Rounds (5)
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Full text of the resolution:
The USFG should institute a carbon tax

No semantics
No trolling
No kritiks/counterplans
No new arguments in the final round
BoP is shared

If lannan has any issues with the resolution or definitions he wishes to add, he must contact me to change it before we begin. Once the debate starts all rules and definitions are accepted.

Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Constructives
Round 3 - Rebuttals
Round 4 - More rebuttals
Round 5 - Conclusion


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting. I look forward to a great debate!

I hold that the USFG should not institute a carbon tax. I will aim to explain why.

Contention 1 - A carbon tax hurts the poor
According to a study by the liberal Tax Policy Center (TPC), a carbon tax would be regressive, placing a large burden on the poor.[1] The reason for this is simple: carbon taxes greatly increase the cost of consumer goods and energy.[2] In fact, this is the entire purpose of a carbon tax: to raise the price of energy to the point companies have to use other, more expensive types.[2] While the rich urbanites who propose a carbon tax would be able to afford this, the single mother living in a big city - which already has a high cost of living - would not. Why should we drastically increase the cost of living to the point it hurts the poor? The answer is we shouldn't.

Contention 2 - A carbon tax hurts rural communities
Carbon taxes also have a very negative impact on rural communities; because the carbon tax equally raises the price of goods for everyone, that means everyone has to pay more.[2] This would be disastorous for rural communities, raising the cost of transportation drastically. Carbon taxes in British Columbia hurt the agriculture, manufacturing, and resource sectors hardest - and these are the most common industries in rural areas.[3] This isn't even counting the massive increase in energy cost that carbon taxes require. Simply put: a carbon tax is inherently harmful to rural areas.

Contention 3 - A carbon tax hurts the economy
Carbon taxes would be detrimental to American competitiveness economically.[4] The manufacturing industry would be substantially harmed, because the advantage in the cost of energy - currently lower than the European Union - would be lost. This would cause jobs to be lost and prices to rise.[4] While my opponent might claim this would be made up for by new jobs in clean energy, the fact of the matter is that these jobs simply don't exist.[5] By design, economic output would have to decline.

Contention 4 - A carbon tax doesn't help the environment
If the United States were to completely halt any carbon emissions, the emmissions would be replaced by the rest of the world in just eight years.[5] As the global population rises, the impact of any American action is minimial - and if anything, it could actually hurt the environment in the long run. Companies could easily move their manufacturing jobs to countries like China or India, which have far fewer environmental regulations.[4] In fact, China and India refuse to harm their economy by passing environmental regulations.[5] There is little reason for a manufacturer to remain in the United States, make less money, and be placed at a disadvantage to their competition.



I would like to thank my opponent for sending me the challenge for this debate and wish him good luck.


Climate Change

Many people are becoming more and more concerned with climate change as the world is coming closer and closer to levels of no return. Generally, global warming is when Carbons would build up in our atmosphere to trap heat to help warm the planet so that life on Earth is possible. Recently, this has been becoming more and more problematic as the Ozone layer is deteriorating and Earth's atmosphere is getting thicker and thicker, warming the planet with it. This has only problematic issues stemming from it. As many nations in the West, the US has a high consumption rate of fossil fuels as it accounts for 95% of our transportation consumption and energy consumption is nearly 70% as alternative energy is slowly beginning to emerge [1]. Fossil Fuels have another job, as they are being used, they produce carbon emissions that harm our environment and our atmosphere. The World Health Organization has reported that pollution generated from the excess of fossil fuels has killed nearly 7 million people worldwide, while 70,000 were killed in the US [2].

There are several issues that this can cause and many lead to having our planet become very unhospitable. As the Earth heats up due to the constant increase in Carbon in our atmosphere where the Carbon begins to build in layers in our atmosphere. This increases the problems as it will help cause the ocean to 'burp' where the frozen reserves of Methane will be released into our atmosphere which would result in a 44.6-degree increase in our Earth's temperature at higher altitudes [3]. This would completely end all life on our planet as we know it and if we don't try to curtail this then we will be damning our children and our grandchildren. We would see decades of time where the Earth's climate is varying so severely that the plants and animals would die off due to the conflicting weather patterns leading to mass starvation. Food production will see a fall by nearly half by 2050 [4]. The Earth has already breached the 'Point-of-no-return' of 400 ppm which means that if we do not make some sort of effort through the political process of our nation, we, as a human race, will face extinction if this isn't done now.

Must be done now!

With it being 2016, that means an election is coming in November. President Obama is currently a lame duck and many people will not try to get things done in Washington. We look at the current election status in 2016 and we see Hillary Clinton spiraling out of control after the email scandal no charge occurred and Trump is continuously rising as though it seems like nothing can stop him [10]. Donald Trump is a candidate who is Pro Coal and Oil, so we already know that there will not be action to help this issue under a Trump administration. Obama still political capital to use and create a law that can change things before he leaves in January [11]. This law would have to compromise with the GOP since the Coal and oil companies would lobby against this hard. The compromise would have to be nuclear power, since many Republicans do not support the normal Clean Energy sources, a nuclear energy tax credit with the abolition of the cap-and-trade system would be enough to get the Congressional support to get this law passed. Obama would help save the planet before Trump would end up destroying it when he gets into office. His administration would not only harm it, but would speed up the process causing the extinction of humanity to happen a lot sooner.

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy is a clear renewable energy that is sustainable. The main issues on why this has yet to be fully established and recognized on a nationwide basis is due to the lack of investment in the field. The Federal Government, nor does Wall Street offer loans for the nuclear sector due to uncertainty in the market about these groups. They received some in 2005, but it was not nearly enough to get any program off the ground [5]. The Danish example showed that the government did not tend to keep their revenue long as they returned it to the energy sector to encourage renewable energies, and in this case the USFG should fund the Nuclear energy sector [6]. This is important to help keep the American economy healthy as it will keep money away from DC to be used on a different program and this will go to something that will benefit our nation in the long run. When we do some comparisons we can see that when we look at Capacity factor by generating source, Nuclear has 92.2 to Coal and gas's 56 and 54%. This shows the highest production and effective when compared to the other two more productive energy sources [7]. Waste also shows that nuclear waste is way less than that of the traditional energy sources. Despite not having much of an amount of availability, nuclear energy makes up 64% of the renewable energy output the nation receives showing how much the country gets from it. When other nations see us doing this they will follow due to the American Hegemony in the world. Many other nations have been implementing similar measures, but when the US gets involved, it will create a worldwide clean movement to get something done [12]. Even if it isn't to nuclear, it could be other forms of clean energy and things would see a major shift.


The Carbon Tax is an effective way to go about solving the climate crisis considering how close we are to a total environmental breakdown. We can see something like a simple $15 per ton of Carbon tax would lead to an 11% reduction in C02 emissions [8]. There are other aspects that are more preferable as this makes corruption less possible and eliminates many regulations which I will get into later on. The Carbon tax puts a price on the Negative externality of pollution. This has been put forth on a multitude of occasions known as a pigovian tax. Pollution is considered a negative externality to firms as they have no need for it and it only hinders their ability to operate. This gives the companies incentive to innovate and with the government being able to give out tax credit for renewable energy, this would provide incentives for these companies to transition to clean energy. The consumer would also react in a similar fashion. It is common for the consumer to go and work to mitigate unnecessary costs and will elect to select goods which are backed by clean energy. This would be done which much conscious as these market changes are seem through price changes. With the Climate Change causing prices rising and transport rising, they would elect for the clean energy selection as companies would try to convert their energy production and lower their costs. This would reduce the amount the consumer would pay which would allow the markets to fully adapt to people wanting to select the cleaner options since they will be cheaper.

The Carbon Tax will also go and reduce regulations where in the status quo, they use the Cap and Trade where there is a limit on the amount of pollution that can be allowed. Under the Carbon Tax, they pay as they produce instead of having their production stunted due to a ceiling on the amount they can produce. This could actually lower prices in the long term as it allows the companies to produce as much as they wish and exceed the limits they once had while they pay the taxes for it which will go to renewable energy. These companies will eventually be enticed to change their production to cleaner energy which would provide a mutual benefit for all parties involved. The Carbon Tax actually stabilizes prices where in the status quo, in times of economic downturn or when demand for energy is low, energy prices would escalate [9]. This would destroy the amount of innovation that is inspired since there would be no reason to do so since their yearly production is curtailed. Under this plan, innovation can be fully highlighted as it will help them increase their production and efficiency.

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Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to thank my opponent for his prompt opening round.

Climate change
There really isn't much to argue with here. The existence of climate change is actually moot to the idea of a carbon tax. The carbon tax can be done with or without global warming; the real question is whether or not it actually helps, which I already established it doesn't. Moreover, the last paragraph of this section is essentially moot with the result of the 2016 election.

Nuclear energy
Again, I don't see the relation here between nuclear energy and a carbon tax. I cede that nuclear energy is great, but how is that relevent?

Most of these arguments are covered in my opening round. With respect to my opponent, I'll give him an opportunity to rebut them rather than reiterate my points.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
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