Carbon tax profile for New Jersey (Morgan Lindberg)


New Jersey
1990
2007
% change 1990-2007
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of metric tonnes[1]
115.4
134.3
+16.4%
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of short tons[2]
127.2
148.0
+16.4%
Population, in millions[3]
7.7
8.69
+12.8%
Per capita CO2 emissions, in short tons
16.5
17
+3%

Per capita emissions in New Jersey in 2007 (17 short tons) were lower than the U.S. average, which was 19.1 short tons per capita [4] . This was probably because nuclear power accounts for 50% of its consumed electricity [5] and its position as a densely populated commuter state. The average commute time for workers in New Jersey are among the highest in the nation - 53.7% of emissions were from the transportation sector [1] - as opposed to other CO2 emitting enterprises, such as coal-fired power plants which produce a much greater amount of CO2. Additionally, it is probable that emissions will decrease in the near future as the state turns to renewable alternatives, such as its most recent decision to develop a 350-megawatt offshore wind farm, and has set a goal to rely on 20% renewable energy by 2020 [6] .

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 $4 billion in 2007 (about $460 per person), assuming a 10% reduction in emissions.

For comparison purposes, in 2007 the state business tax generated about $3.08 billion, the state income tax generated about $11.7 billion, and the state sales tax generated about $8.6 billion [7] . So a carbon tax of $30 per short ton of CO2 (assuming a 10% reduction in emissions) could have replaced the state B&O tax or could have replaced 34% of the state income tax or could have replaced 47% of the state sales tax. Few of these changes is wholly alluring. (There's also a local property tax of $19.6 billion.)

Considering New Jersey's heavy reliance on property taxes (largest per capita property tax in the nation[8] ), the 2008 housing bubble burst, and recent talks about placing a cap on this revenue source, a carbon tax could be an appropriate buffer. Additionally, the state's heavy reliance on the transportation sector could possibly allow for a larger tax.

Another element to consider is that New Jersey is very well situated between Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C, five major cities that rely on their proximity. Travel between many of these cities has to pass through New Jersey, making it a prime location for emissions policies. However, keeping the state's major revenue in mind (property taxes), carbon taxes that heavily burden consumers, especially commuters, could potentially deter new residents and persuade current residents to move to another, equally as accessible locale, depriving the state of its much needed revenue.

Carbon emissions


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  1. ^ From EPA, “State CO2 Emissions from fossil fuel combustion, 1990-2007”, linked from www.epa.gov/climatechange/**emissions**/.../**CO2**FFC_2007.pdf
  2. ^ 1 metric tonne equals 1.1023 short tons.
  3. ^ 2007 population from the U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?-ds_name=PEP_2007_EST&-mt_name=PEP_2007_EST_GCTT1R_US9S&-format=US-9&-tree_id=806&-geo_id=&-CONTEXT=gctl. 1990 population from U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/ST-99-02.txt
  4. ^ [[#cite_ref-4|^]] 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 short tons) of CO2 from EPA's 2010 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
  5. ^ See state profiles from the EIA, http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/index.cfm
  6. ^ Fore more information read the NJ PE&G Offshore Energy Fact Sheet: http://www.gardenstatewind.com/pdf/factsheet.pdf
  7. ^ NJ Dept of Treasure, Division of Taxation 2007 Annual Report, http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/annual.shtml
  8. ^ Public Policy Institute's 2006 Report: http://www.ppinys.org/reports/jtf/propertytaxes.htm