A lengthy and far-reaching study being bankrolled by the U.S. Department of Treasury will deliver environmentalists and other liberal groups ammunition for their rigorous campaign to curb so-called “global warming,” possibly including a new carbon levy weaved into the U.S. tax code. In short, it’s an analysis determined to advocate a “green” tax code for American businesses and individual taxpayers.
The $1.5 million study, “Effects of Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” is being administered under the guidance of the National Academy of Science (NAS). Originally projected to take two years, the project targets mechanisms of the U.S. tax code in terms of its impact of its most critical provisions on carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases — a massive and complex campaign in environmental and economic modeling. In the course of the project,
The committee will first determine the most appropriate analytical framework and methodology to use in examining the effects of the tax code on greenhouse gas emissions. It will consider both provisions that may increase emission rates as well as those having the effect of lowering them over specific periods, and both direct (e.g., fuel-related provisions) and indirect measures (e.g., the home mortgage deduction and the investment tax credit). Studying the tax code’s impact on GHG emissions the panel will necessarily focus heavily on energy, both the life cycles of different energy sources and their uses in different sectors such as electricity generation, transportation, industrial processes, and consumer uses (including in households). The study may extend to areas beyond energy, such as agriculture, forestry, urban development, and other land uses which can have significant effects on GHG emissions.
The project, allegedly, will not advocate specific new taxes or incentives, nor changes in current provisions of the tax code, but will “outline principles and criteria for formulating climate-sensitive tax policy in the future,” according to the NAS website. Originally slated to publish in September, its official release has been delayed until the first quarter of 2013.