Carbon tax profile for Alaska (Liz Hines, previous version byAnne Michelle Avolio)

Alaska
1990
2007
% change 1990-2007
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of metric tonnes[1]
34.2
43.2
+26.3%
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of short tons[2]
37.7
47.6
+ 26.3%
Population thousands[3]
550
682
+ 24.0%
Per capita CO2 emissions, in short tons
68.5
70.3
+ 2.6%


The state of Alaska has many alternative energy sources at it's dispense, such as hydroelectric, solar, wind and even geothermal power. Because of Alaska’s location it has been found to be a challenge to transmit theses energy sources via interconnected grids through transmission and distribution lines.[4] The fore, Alaska Rural communities rely primarily on diesel electric generators for power. Alaska's main source of energy is petroleum which is conveniently found in extensive amounts throughout the state. With this overwhelming amount of crude oil Alaska is the second-ranked oil-producing State after Texas, when output from the Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is excluded from the State totals. Nearly all of Alaska’s oil production takes place on the North Slope.[5]

Per capita CO2 emissions in Alaska State in 2007 were 70.3 short tons. Although Alaska has a low absolute energy demand compared to the U.S. average, oil and gas production activities drive State energy consumption with 14 of the 100 largest oil fields and five of the 100 largest natural gas fields in the United States located in the Alaska North Slope (ANS).[6]

On the other hand Alaska future is to look towards renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. Nuclear power is one of these sources being considered. The Nuclear project is the Toshiba 4S (Super Safe, Small and Simple) nuclear power system it would be able to supply about 10 MW of electrical power for 30 years without any new fuel. Compared to the alternatives, the small nuclear plant would almost disappear into the background and would have little effect on the environment.

Depending on a variety of assumptions, the cost for power could range as low as 6 cents per kilowatt hour. Unfortunately, there are scenarios where the cost per kilowatt hour could approach infinity.

If all goes well, the Toshiba 4S could be providing Galena with abundant power by about 2012. Not only would it supply all of the electricity that the village needs, but there would be enough low cost energy capacity left over to produce hydrogen from water and district heat from the waste heat released from the plant. The only time will tell with this controversial alternative.

A carbon tax of $30 per short ton of CO2 (about $0.30 per gallon of gasoline, or about $0.03 per kWh of coal-fired power) would have raised about $1.3billion in 2007 (about $1,926 per person), assuming a 10% reduction in emissions (42.9 short tons).

For comparison purposes, in 2005 the total of all state taxes generated (not including the oil and gas industry tax) was $240 million.[7] A carbon tax of $30 per short ton of CO2 could (assuming a 20% reduction in emissions) have replaced 100% of all state generated taxes with $960 million left over.

Alternatively, a carbon tax of $10 per short ton of CO2 would have raised about $429 million in 2007 (about $642 per person) and could (assuming a 10% reduction in emissions or 42.94 short tons) have replaced a large percent of state taxes (excluding those generated by oil and gas) generated in 2007.

When taking a look at the tax situation in Alaska one can see that changing Alaska's dependency would be a monumental problem, because Alaska's revenue is mostly made by the taxing of oil and petroleum products.
carbon emissions

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  1. ^ From EPA, “State CO2 Emissions from fossil fuel combustion, 1990-2007”, linked from here.
  2. ^ 1 metric tonne equals 1.1023 short tons.
  3. ^ 2007 population from the U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html. 1990 population from U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/ST-99-02.txt.
  4. ^ http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=AK#Datum
  5. ^ http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=AK#Datum
  6. ^ U.S. population of 295.6 million in 2005 from U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html. U.S. carbon emissions of 6.317 billion tons of CO2 from EPA, http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usgginventory.html.
  7. ^ Alaska State tax information pulled from Alaska State's 2005 Annual Report of Division Operations, www.tax.state.ak.us. See also Revenue Source Book, "Alaska department of Revenue" - tax division http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/documentviewer/viewer.aspx?255