Carbon tax profile for New York State (Nina Nguyen; previous version bySarah Terry)

New York State
% 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 New York State in 2007 were much lower than the U.S. average, which was 22.4 short tons per capita.[4] This made New York one of the ten cleanest states in the United States.[5] This was largely because of the extensive use of hydroelectric power in New York State; New York produces more hydroelectric power than any other State east of the Rocky Mountains. Another major factor is the heavy use of mass transit systems in New York's cities.[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 $5.3 billion in 2007 (about $274 per person), assuming a 20% reduction in emissions. And a 10% reduction would have raised about $6 billion (about $309 per person).

For comparison purposes, in 2007 state income taxes generated about $36.6 billion, state corporation and business taxes generated about $7.2 billion, and state sales, excise and users taxes generated about $12.5 billion. $10.2 billion of this came from sales tax alone. There is no state-level property tax in New York, but property transfer taxes generated $2.1 billion in state revenues [7] . So a carbon tax of $30 per short ton of CO2 could (assuming a 20% reduction in emissions) have replaced 14% of state income taxes or could have replaced 74% state business and corporation taxes or could have replaced 52% of the state sales tax or could have replaced the state property transfer tax (with $3.2 billion left over).

New York's tax burden is high relative to many other states. The latest Tax Foundation estimate[8] shows the combined federal, state and local tax bite on New York residents and firms this year will come to 37.1 percent of their personal income. By this measure, New York's burden is exceeded only by neighboring Connecticut's, where taxes average 38.3 percent of income. The national average is 32.7 percent.

Individual consumers in New York may also be more responsive than average to taxes on carbon emissions. At the time of the 2000 Census, New York City, which houses 42% of the state's population, has the lowest rate of car ownership (44.3% of households owned cars) and the lowest rate of car commuting (only 34.3% commuted by car) of any large city in the U.S [9] The city also has country's highest per capita rate of public transit use, at 195.4 trips per person annually [10]

New York State is already involved in several climate protection initiatives. Some of these are summarized below:
  • New York is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cooperative of northeast and mid-Atlantic states that aims to establish a regional cap-and-trade program covering CO2 emissions from regional power plants. One quarter of New York's CO2 emissions come from power plants [11] .
  • In 1995, New York, with the assistance of the EPA, conducted a statewide air quality inventory; a regional inventory was conducted in 2004.
  • In 2002, the New York State Energy Plan set target for greenhouse gas emissions: 5% below 1990 levels by 2010, and 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • In 2005, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation adopted the California greenhouse gas automobile emissions standards. [12]

carbon footprints

carbon calculator
  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 as of July 1, 2007 1990 population from U.S. Census Bureau as of April 1, 1990,
  4. ^ U.S. population of 301,621,157 in 2007 from U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. carbon emissions of 6.12 billion metric tons (6.746 billion short tons) of CO2 in 2007 from EPA's 2010 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
  5. ^ Weiss, Daniel "The Clean and Clear Winners". Center for American Progress.
  6. ^ EIA New York State's Profile
  7. ^ New York State's Department of Taxation and Finance. Fiscal Year Tax Collection: 2007-2008
  8. ^ Tax Foundation. New York's State and Local Tax Burden, 1977-2008.
  9. ^ See the Carfree Census Database , linked from .
  10. ^ U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transit Ridership in Selected Urbanized Areas: 2005, linked from the Statistical Abstract of the United States,
  11. ^ NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative , linked from
  12. ^ NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative , linked from