Carbon tax profile for Massachusetts (Bridgette Burkholder; previous version byRachael Katz)

% change 1990-2007
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of metric tonnes[1]
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of short tons[2]
Population, in millions[3]
Per capita CO2 emissions, in short tons

Per capita emissions in Massachusetts in 2007 were considerably lower than the U.S. average, which was 21.0 short tons per capita.[4] This was probably because cleaner-burning natural gas accounts for over half of Massachusetts' power production, as well as because of lower residential electricity consumption.[5]

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 $2.7 billion in 2007 (about $ 410 per person), assuming a 10% reduction in emissions.

For comparison purposes, in 2007 the state personal income tax raised $11.4 billion, the sales tax (not including gasoline, cigarettes and alcohol) collected $5.2 billion, and the corporate (business) income tax raised $1.6 billion. [6] So a carbon tax of $30 per short ton of CO2 could (assuming a 10% reduction in emissions) have replaced the corporate business tax and 25% of the state sales tax, or could have replaced 50% of the state sales tax or could have replaced 23% of the state personal income tax. Or, they could have replaced one-third of the sales tax and used the extra $1.14 billion to support investment in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy infrastructure, such as the potential Nantucket sound wind farm.

Due to the economic recession that began in 2008, Massachusetts is now facing a potential $5 billion budget gap for fiscal year 2010.[7] At this point, a carbon tax may be used to help maintain a variety of basic state social services. However, this could be politically infeasible, given the state's recent decision to pass on an increase in the gas tax despite significant support among the public.[8]

Massachusetts has taken a number of steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It is a member state of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative [9] and in August, 2008 passed the Global Warming Solutions Act. This Act mandates emission reductions across the state economy of up to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.[10]

Carbon emissions
  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, 1990 population from U.S. Census Bureau,
  4. ^ U.S. population of 301.6 million in 2007 from U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. carbon emissions of 5.757 billion tonnes (or 6.346 billion short tons) of CO2 from EPA's, 2010 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.
  5. ^ See Massachusetts state profile from the EIA,
  6. ^ Massachusetts Department of Revenue FY07 Annual Report,
  7. ^ Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center,
  8. ^ The Patriot Ledger,
  9. ^ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
  10. ^ Text of the Law [[; Union of Concerned Scientists background:]].