Imposing Tax on Pollution Alone can’t Help Save the Environment

Are Carbon Taxes Just?

What would Nozick or Rawls’ idea of justice say about a carbon or pollution tax? Global climate change has become a major topic in today’s world discussions due to pollution and carbon emissions. What is the impact on pollution on Human health and the environment? On the other hand, how could applying this sort of tax encourage the use of greener methods and more renewable resources? I will be mainly focusing on Nozick’s idea of justice, would Nozick and Rawls agree, and how a tax on carbon emission and pollution would be unjust to his ideas.

Nozicks’s main idea of justice is deciding if a transfer of holding is voluntary. If both parties in a transaction have a mutual transfer, then the transaction is considered just. But if both parties are not mutual, then the transaction is considered unjust due to the unfairness of one party getting an advantage over another. Applying a tax to a population, to Nozick, is unjust because taxes are considered a requirement of the government to pay and non-voluntary. For Rawls in order for the tax to be just, all parties involved would have to be at an equal playing field where no member is at a disadvantage or advantage over another member. Depending on if the tax has a flat or bracket rate for the population would make the tax just or unjust.

If the tax applied had a flat rate, then the tax would be justified because then the population has to pay a portion of their earnings or amount of pollution they contribute. On the other hand, if the tax has different tax brackets based on variables such as income, then the bigger companies that are making more money, but contributing to a higher value of pollution, would be at an advantage to the smaller companies. Due to the carbon tax starting at a flat 25 dollars and increasing per year, the proposed plan would be considered just for Rawls, but not just for Nozick. The impact of carbon emission on human health and the environment are arguably horrific.

Global warming is a continuous debate at today’s discussions. Scientists approximate that the Earth has increased in temperature by 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years. Diseases such as skin cancer from the depletion of the O-zone are a problem, due to the UV rays of the sun able to get more concentrated rays into the atmosphere. The longer that carbon emissions are able to be produced in large quantities as they are, the harder the problem will become to solve. Some resolutions that would occur from the tax would be that companies have more incentive to become greener in their emissions and develop healthier technology. Green technology is becoming more and more of a relevant method of creating healthier energy. Methods of green energy include hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and possibly other ways.

It is projected that with a carbon tax in place, the United States would be producing about one fifth of the amount of carbon emissions and harmful pollution into the air that it currently does. All these different ways of renewable energy are at first an investment, but to the years to come, they can potentially pay for themselves with the amount of energy they produce and the cost. With an economic incentive for big pollution causing companies, they would be more inclined to investing in these sorts of technology for the better cost. Would a tax on carbon emissions be do a good enough of a job to help the Earth?

In my opinion it is too late to completely wipe out carbon emissions that have already been produced by humans. As a piece of the world’s community, we are able to start making it a better place for the generations to come, at least reducing the amounts we are creating by a marginal amount. Based on Nozick’s idea of justice, the carbon tax would not be just to the population, because of the non-voluntary act of transition of holdings. References Chang, Kenneth. A Road Test of Alternative Fuel. Los Angeles: The New York Times Company, 2014. Article. Porter, Eduardo. A Carbon Tax Could Bolster Green. New York: The New York Times Company, 2014. Article. Research, National Center for Atmospheric.


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Imposing Tax on Pollution Alone Can't Help Save the Environment. (2021, Nov 23). Retrieved December 1, 2021 , from

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