U.S. Rep. John Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced a plan to control global warming emissions by raising taxes on carbon-based fuels, such as gasoline. The proposal calls for a $.50 cents per gallon tax hike for gasoline, a tax of $50 on every ton of carbon released from coal and petroleum sources, and a phase-out of the mortgage tax deduction for homes bigger than 3,000 square feet. "A carbon tax is going to carry with it a lot of pain," Dingell said. "Something's got to be done [about global warming], and the only way it can be done is by conservation, forcing a change in people's attitudes and a change in the way the business of the nation is done. ... Changing the economic and personal incentives are the way you do that."
There are no immediate plans for a vote on the legislation. Chairman Dingell is seeking to spur a national debate about controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) with carbon taxes along with a "cap and trade" system for emissions credits. He has also urged lawmakers to focus attention on reducing CO2 emissions rather than mandating arbitrary Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) hikes since the two issues are directly linked—CO2 is emitted when fossil fuels are burned, thus reduced CO2 tailpipe emissions means better fuel mileage. Conversely, Chairman Dingell does not believe government mandates, such as a significant CAFE hike, will succeed since they lack market forces used to change consumer behavior. For additional information about the carbon tax legislation, visit www.house.gov/dingell/carbonTaxSummary.shtml.
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