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February 02, 2011

Inside Montgomery County's Historic Carbon Tax

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Without so much as a blueprint, the small community of Montgomery County, MD, instituted a daring plan for reducing emissions by levying the nation's first local carbon tax.

Our webinar, "Inside the Nation's First Local Carbon Tax Legislation in Montgomery County, MD," held Jan. 21, 2011, explored how Montgomery County enacted its historic tax law and the obstacles it encountered along the way. The panelists, Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner and Chesapeake Climate Action Network Director Mike Tidwell, offered valuable insights on ways to create tax law legislation in your own community.

If you missed the webinar, view the slideshow [pdf] or listen to the presentation it in its entirety.

Faced with a looming budget deficit and a mandated 80 percent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050, Montgomery County needed a solution that would reduce emissions without increasing the deficit. Sound familiar? Officials calculated that by charging $5 for every ton of CO2 emitted by a major emitter, they could generate revenue to slash the deficit, and reduce carbon emissions.

A carbon tax is one of the market-based policies that use the price signal to spur greenhouse gas emissions reduction. With the absence of an effective national climate policy, local governments, as always, are moving forward with innovative local solutions.

-- Rena Ragimova, ICLEI USA Local Action blog

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