UK Carbon Tax has been Incredibly Successful in Decreasing the Use of Coal & Reducing CO2 Emissions
A new Cambridge University study has determined that the United Kingdom's tax on carbon, instituted in 2013, has led to a 93% reduction in coal-fired electricity, and resulted in a surge in the use of natural gas and renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Moreover, the tax has led to greater energy conservation as proponents had hoped.
Coal now generates less than 1% of the country's electricity, and is expected to be totally phased out by 2025. And, in 2019, renewable sources outpaced hydrocarbons for the first time since the UK's first electricity generating power plant opened in 1882.
The use of coal in the UK has been decreasing for years, but the carbon tax was its death knell. After just 4 years, in 2017, the times of London celebrated the policy initiative:
The Times of London: "Without much fanfare and four years ahead of schedule, Britain has achieved an ambitious policy goal that should have significant public health benefits and serve as a case study for other large economies. The UK has cut its carbon dioxide emissions to a level last seen during the General Strike of 1926. Apart from that exceptional year, when most coal mines were closed, the last time emissions were this low was in 1894, when Karl Benz produced the world's first car."
The new Cambridge study also undermines arguments that replacing coal is prohibitively expensive, finding that the tax only added about £39 [$50] to British electric bills. The United Kingdom used part of the money generated by the tax to subsidize cleaner fuels to ease the transition away from coal.
Carbon taxes aren't popular in the United States and fossil fuel companies have lobbied hard against their implementation, but many economists believe it's the most efficient way to increase the use of renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This new Cambridge study supports that view.
Phys.org: "Professor Michael Grubb (Bartlett Institute for Sustainable Resources, UCL) said: "Great Britain's electricity transition is a monumental achievement of global interest, and has also demonstrated the power of an effective carbon price in lowering dependence on electricity generated from coal."
As of 2019, about 27% of America's electricity still results from the burning of coal. In some states, like West Virginia and Kentucky, almost all electricity still comes from coal.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content