Carbon tax profile for Pennsylvania (Michael Lam; previous version byKarina Derksen-Schrock)
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Pennsylvania
1990
2007
% change 1990-2007
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of metric tonnes[1]
72.0
82.6
+15%
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of short tons[2]
79.4
91.0
+15%
Population, in millions[3]
4.87
6.46
+23%
Per capita CO2 emissions, in short tons
16.3
14.1
-13.5%


A carbon tax on metric tons of CO2 would beneficially impact the residents of Pennsylvania which is noticeably home to big industrial companies i.e. Coca Cola Co. and Hershey Co which are bounded to emit carbon emissions from these goods producing factories that ship their products world-wide.

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 $7.3 billion in 2005 (about $591 per person), assuming a 20% reduction in emissions (244.5 million short tons). Also assuming a 20% reduction, a carbon tax of only $10 per short ton of CO2 would have raised $2.4 billion, or about $197 per person.

Concurrently "Un-mineable coal land has the potential for storing carbon dioxide, but the report said only about 1.1 billion of the 97.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide that the state could capture would go into coal fields." which for the residents of Pennsylvania means there's going to be an increase in carbon emissions because with the mining of coal the state didn't have enough in their budget to capture all the pollutants that have been unleashed into the atmosphere. These coal reserves are going to leak through the ground and onto the cities. The worst part is that the carbon pollutants are sticking around and hovering over the cities. According to government tests, "Pennsylvania emits 1 percent of the world’s global warming gases and makes half its electricity from burning coal, which generates carbon dioxide" this definitely isn't good.[4]

For comparison purposes, in 2007 the state portion of the personal income tax generated about $8.6 billion (36% of general fund revenue) and the state sales tax generated about $8 billion (34% of general fund revenue).[5] So a carbon tax of $30 per short ton of CO2 could (assuming a 20% reduction in emissions) have replaced 85% of the state portion of the personal income tax or could have replaced 91% of the state sales tax. Similarly a tax of just $10 per short ton of CO2 could replace 28% of the personal income tax or 30% of the sales tax. The state "Gross Receipts Tax," the tax on cellular and interstate communications, was $1.2 billion in 2005 so a tax of $10 per short ton of CO2 could completely replace it, with $1.2 billion left over.

Per capita emissions in Pennsylvania in 2007 were slightly higher than the U.S. average, which was 21.4 short tons per capita.[6] This is not surprising considering that Pennsylvania is second in the country in nuclear power generating capacity. Furthermore, Pennsylvania is one of the main coal producing states in the United States and one of the primary petroleum refining states in the Northeast region. The largest refineries are located near Philadelphia, along the Delaware River.[7] The good news is that the growth in fossil fuel CO2 emissions closely matches the population growth, so per capita CO2 emissions are not greatly increasing.

In June 2009, Pennsylvania was projecting a $3.2 billion dollar deficit and Governor Rendell was recommending a 16.5% increase in personal income tax, which would generate about $1.5 billion per year.[8] Assuming 20% reduction in emissions, a carbon tax of $6 per short ton of CO2 would raise about $1.5 billion, or the equivalent to Rendell's proposed tax hike. Similarly, a carbon tax of $13 per short ton of CO2 would raise the full value of the deficit, $3.2 billion, potentially pulling Pennsylvania out of its current budget crisis.

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, 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. ^ Land to be tested for CO2 : http://www.carbonoffsetsdaily.com/news-channels/usa/land-to-be-tested-for-co2-storage-8559.htm
  5. ^ The PA Office of the Budget: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/office_of_the_budget_home/4408.
  6. ^ U.S. population of 295.6 million in 2007 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. ^ See state profiles from the EIA, http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/index.cfm.
  8. ^ The Philadelphia Inquirer : http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_top_stories/20090617_Rendell_calls_for_state_income-tax_hike.html