The Beginner’s Guide to Climate Change
Part 6: Modern Climate Change Policy
Current State of the World
Many countries have already begun implementing their respective climate strategies. Each nation has a different approach that suits them best, but we will be taking a look at the most prominent and successful examples for this introductory blog. Additionally, there is some lingering delay in mobilizing certain wealthier nations due to steep political divides; the example that we will discuss is the United States of America, but there are many others to sift through if you are interested. At this point, examples will be the primary content covered; if you are curious about your own government’s strategy to fight climate change, you now have the tools to read about it and understand the situation!
Canada: Carbon Tax
Canada has employed a fairly by-the-book carbon tax system into their government; companies are required to pay an amount of money proportional to their emissions in order to continue doing so. In order to smoothly apply these new rules, the Canadian government allows for their provinces to decide how the procedure will work. They can either adopt the standard regulations into their law, or they can develop their own customized guidelines that better fit their situation. If approved by the federal government, that special version of the carbon tax is implemented in that province instead. This added flexibility is instrumental in the success that this system has seen thus far by giving those bound by the rules an element of control. Additionally, the Canadian government has opted to redistribute the collected carbon taxes to other beneficial initiatives such as tax rebates for citizens and the continued research of climate-safe energy alternatives. These factors combine into a climate change policy that is maneuvering its way to greater success.
European Union: Cap-and-Trade System
On the other hand, the European Union have opted for a robust cap-and-trade system to regulate their emissions; companies are required to purchase an amount of permits proportionally equivalent to the number of emissions they plan to release. Economically it has behaved relatively similarly to the carbon tax system, but it has a variety of additional modifications to further encourage the reduction of emissions. For example, they are currently planning to implement a heightened tax rate for imported goods originating from less climate-strict countries; essentially, this protects local companies by punishing countries for not implementing their own climate change policies and redistributing that extra money. This is but one example of how the EU operates; for further reading, check out the European Comission.
The United States: Political Debate
The United States currently resides in an extremely tricky situation. There is a harsh political divide separating the beliefs that something should or should not be done about climate change. Past presidential administrations have attempted to implement some form of a price on carbon, but there has still been precious little progress in that department. In some cases, individual states have opted to introduce their own versions of the carbon tax/cap-and-trade systems in order to begin the work that the federal government has thus far neglected. Hopefully in the near future, genuine action will be taken to improve our chances against climate change.
With that, you are all set! Talk about climate change wherever you can and spread the word!