A carbon tax surfaces in the US

The Obama administration would be open to a carbon tax, but the Republicans would have to support it, a senior Treasury official told the Hill.

“The administration has not proposed a carbon tax nor is it planning to, but if there is, as part of fiscal reform discussions, there are a lot of pieces on the table, and if Republicans see this as a viable piece, then it could be part of the mix,” said Gilbert E. Metcalf, the Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for environment and energy, in a meeting with reporters.

The Obama administration previously stated that it didn't support a carbon tax, responding to some analyst reports suggesting that such a tax might be one way to fight the deficit.

Lawmakers are trying to come up with a deal on taxes and revenue cuts as the fiscal cliff looms. The Republican lawmakers have resisted raising taxes. Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist has warned Republicans to not even countenance the idea of a carbon tax.

Australia's version of the carbon tax, which  levies A$23 per tonne of green house gases emitted by major industrial businesses, officially kicked in in July after much resistance from the large miners.

British Columbia has its own carbon tax, which was implemented under Gordon Campbell. The New York Times called it "the best climate policy in world".  The BC NDP said they will probably keep the tax if elected, but instead of handing the money back to residents as a credit, they will divert the money to transit.

Correction: The previous article mixed up Australia's Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) and the carbon tax, both implemented on July 1, 2012. The post has been corrected. MINING.com regrets the error.

Image of LA smog by Robert S. Donovan from Flickr Creative Commons