Carbon tax profile for Montana (Cary Griffin; previous version byChris LaRoche)

Montana
1990
2007
% change 1990-2007
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of metric tonnes[1]
28.2
37.7
+25%
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of short tons[2]
31.1
41.6
+25%
Population, in thousands[3]
799
974
+18%
Per capita CO2 emissions, in short tons
39.0
42.6
+8.5%

Per capita emissions for Montana in 2007 were more than double the U.S. average, 19.1 short tons per capita, at 42.6 short tons per capita. Ranked 6th in the nation, Montana's emissions are high due to the many fossil fuel resources this region has available, particularly in the mining industry. [4]

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 $1.15 billion in 2007 (about $1180 per capita), assuming a 10% reduction in emissions. As a comparison, the tax revenue from a carbon tax accounts for just under half of the entire state's Market Value of Agricultural Products Sold. [5]

Montana is one of 4 states that do not have a sales tax, but is one of the 37 states that collect property taxes at both the state and local levels. Localities within the state collected $918.36 per capita in property taxes in fiscal year 2006, which is the latest year the Census Bureau published state-by-state property tax collections. Montana collects a property tax revenue of $206.48 per capita during FY 2006. That brings its combined state and local property tax collections to $1,124.85 per capita, ranking 22nd nationally.[6] The combined local and state property tax revenue is almost equivalent, approximately $55 in difference, to the revenue that can be created with a carbon tax. Property taxes and carbon taxes are closely related in monetary value because of the large fossil fuel industry.

Other factors to consider regarding taxing Montana's CO2 emissions:

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, per capita personal income is $34,004, ranking Montana 38th in the nation and was 87 percent of the national average, $39,138.[7]


Montana’s estimated poverty rate was 14.1% in 2007, which was above the national estimated poverty rate of 13.3%. Montana had the 16th highest poverty rate in the U.S. in 2007, though the rate on Montana's seven reservations is considerably higher.[8]

The unemployment rate in Montana, 3.9%, is lower than the national of 5.1% in 2005. In 2008, those figures are 4.5% for Montana and 5.8% nation-wide.[9]

The effects of global climate change are very apparent in Montana in the loss of glaciers and snowpack, especially in Glacier National Park. Shown in the image below, the massive glacier of 1910 has melted before 1997 due to global warming which could be powered by the large fossil fuel industry within the state. Furthermore, the state is marked by severe forest fires in the summer, a condition that global climate change will only make worse.[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. ^ U.S. population of 301.6 million in 2007 from U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html. 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.
  4. ^ EIA state profile
  5. ^ http://revenue.mt.gov/default.mcpx
  6. ^ http://revenue.mt.gov/default.mcpx
  7. ^ http://www.bea.gov/
  8. ^ http://www.montana.edu/extensionecon/countydata/statewide.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.montana.edu/extensionecon/countydata/statewide.pdf
  10. ^ "Global Warming and Montana"