Carbon tax profile for Rhode Island (Ariana Johnson; previous version by Nicolle Piper Bladow)


1990
2007
% change 1990-2007
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of metric tonnes[1]
8.9
11.1
+24.6%
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of short tons[2]
9.8
12.2
+24.5%
Population, in millions[3]
1.0
1.1
+5.1%
Per capita CO2 emissions, in short tons
9.8
11.1
+13.3%

Per capita emissions in Rhode Island State in 2007 were almost half that of the U.S. average, which was 21.0 short tons per capita.[4] Rhode Island has the lowest per capita energy consumption in the United States. Additionally, Rhode Island requires that the use of reformulated motor gasoline be blended with ethanol. A study from 2007 determined that 15% of the states energy could be obtained from offshore wind energy, thus decreasing their reliance on foreign means of energy.[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 $330 million in 2007 (about $300 per person), assuming a 10% reduction in emissions. The graph below shows the breakdown of fossil fuel emissions broken into categories. [6]


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The total tax revenue for the state of Rhode Island in 2007 was about $2.8 billion. Property taxes only account for $1.5 million, general sales tax contributes $876 million and selective sales taxes (motor fuel, alcohol, tobacco and others) added up to $480 million. [7]

Any plan to implement a carbon tax would need to consider the effects of attracting businesses. Currently, Rhode Island is considering changing its tax structure; this includes eliminating the 9% corporate income tax over a four year period. They are planning to offset some of the lost revenue by increasing the cigarette tax from 1$ to $3.46 per pack. [8] Carbon tax could also be used to as a tool to enable more business attracting measures, since the commercial sector only contributes 9% of Rhode Island's carbon release.

Carbon reduction scheme

Carbon emission credits
  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. ^ 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.
  5. ^ EIA state profile
  6. ^ From EPA, “State CO2 Emissions from fossil fuel combustion, 1990-2007”, linked from here.
  7. ^ "State and Local Government Finance: Historical Data: 2007." U. S. Census Bureau. 14 July 2010. U. S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, Web. 28 July 2010. http://www.census.gov/govs/estimate/historical_data_2007.html
  8. ^ "Rhode Island’s “Business-Friendliness” Ranking Would Improve Dramatically Under Governor’s Plan." Tax Foundation. 27 Mar 2009. Tax Foundation, Web. 3 Dec 2009. http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/24516.html.