Blog Post

RFF on the Issues

Jun 18, 2013 | RFF Staff

The Role of a Carbon Tax

In July the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), will discuss a carbon tax bill that would impose a fee on fossil fuel producers at the source, rather than on emissions from power plants. The bill, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), “would return 60 percent of those revenues to residents to help offset costlier energy.”

RFF’s Rob Williams, Richard Morgenstern, Jared Carbone, and Dallas Burtraw have developed a new model to examine the implications of such a bill, exploring how the economy, the environment, and consumers will be affected by a carbon tax under a variety of scenarios, such as providing consumer rebates from the revenue. On Wednesday, June 26, they will explain the results from the model, which is the only model of its kind to look at distributional impacts across current and future generations of people. Register here to attend in the seminar in person or watch online at

Flood Protection in NY

Last week New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a $20 billion plan to protect the city from future storms and floods. The proposal included using “green” infrastructure—such as dunes and wetlands along the beach—to reduce storm surge. Analysis by RFF researchers shows that investing in green infrastructure can “lower flood risk and provide an array of other environmental services.” Read more about RFF’s research on green infrastructure here.

Another aspect of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal is to provide funding to help homeowners pay for increased flood insurance. RFF’s Carolyn Kousky and Erwann Michel-Kerjan from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found that a lack of flood insurance in many areas of coastal New York and New Jersey was a significant issue as properties were inundated by Hurricane Sandy. An infographic in the new issue of Resources magazine shows the low insurance take-up rates in New York and New Jersey, as compared to Sandy storm surge estimates.