Who’s Getting it Right on Climate Change?

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Sweden

One of Europe's tallest wooden buildings, an apartment complex in Vaxjo, Sweden, is seen under construction on August 20, 2007. (AP Photo/John McConnico)

One of Europe's tallest wooden buildings, an apartment complex in Vaxjo, Sweden, is seen under construction on August 20, 2007. (AP Photo/John McConnico)

Sweden has one of the strongest carbon taxes in the world. Instituted in 1991, the tax has enabled the Swedes to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent more than what regulations alone might have achieved, the Swedish Ministry of the Environment estimates. At the same time, the Swedish economy grew by 44 percent. As a result, Sweden was able to achieve its 2012 target under the Kyoto protocol, performing best out of all EU nations. The tax also encouraged sustainable methods of heating buildings, and heating oil use has declined dramatically.

Though the US has considered a national carbon tax, it is nearly impossible that it would pass Congress — even though it’s estimated that a “cap and trade” tax could raise $1 trillion over the course of a decade. California and the Northeastern US do have working “cap and trade” programs in place.

 

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