Why Cap and Invest is Better Than a Carbon Tax

Policy Brief
January 30, 2009

While there is widespread support for the goal of reducing our emission of global warming pollution by 80 percent by 2050, there is a vigorous debate about the best means for reaching that goal. Advocates for a carbon tax suggest that it would be simpler and more transparent than a cap and invest system, but such arguments often compare a “real-world” cap and invest design with an idealized carbon tax. When factoring in the pressure for special accommodations in the legislative process that will undoubtedly face either system, a cap and invest program is preferable to implementing a carbon tax. The following list offers five reasons, including greater certainty where it counts and more flexibility where it is needed, why a cap and invest system will best help us meet the urgent goal of reducing global warming pollution.