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Carbon Tax: Is It the Right Time?

carbon tax

"Carbon Tax: Is It the Right Time?"

The second topic in UH Energy’s symposium series was “Carbon Tax: Is it the Right Time?” The debate featured Aparna Mathur, resident scholar in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute; Kyle Danish, partner at Van Ness Feldman L.L.P.; Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Company and Upstream Americas director, and H. Leighton Steward, geologist, environmentalist, author, and retired energy industry executive. Dave Fehling, energy and environment reporter for Houston Public Media moderated the debate.

Most speakers focused on the economic and public policy aspects of carbon pricing. Panelists discussed the pros and cons of a carbon tax versus cap-and-trade on carbon emissions. A carbon tax would place a blanket tax on carbon emissions, from the industry level to the consumer level. Cap-and-trade would limit emissions at the industrial level.

Odum supported a carbon price and stated that he was in favor of either a cap-and-trade system or a blanket tax, as long as it is a well-designed plan.

Steward disagreed with a carbon tax of any kind, stating that climate change is not a problem and carbon emissions are beneficial to plant life.

Danish said the Obama administration, in the absence of a climate policy, has been using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but that it is a “rather imperfect instrument” since regulation must be done on a sector by sector basis.

Mathur argued in favor of broad tax reform, and rejected the cap-and-trade system. She stated that there are more options to help underprivileged families under a general carbon tax.

The next symposium will be held in February, followed by the final symposium of the series in March.

Visit for more information on the series and view interactive presentations for past events.

danish mathur fehling odum steward

         Kyle Danish          Aparna Mathur           Dave Fehling           Marvin Odum           H. Leighton Steward

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