That discussing a Climate Change Tax will be more fruitful than discussing emissions reductions directly may sound counterintuitive. Why not discuss what matters – the reductions?
The problem with emissions reductions is that it is very hard to know how much they will cost. Will a 20% of European emissions by 2020 destroy the economy, or cost almost nothing? Impossible to say, and consequently impossible to agree.
If the discussion focuses on a tax instead, then the discussion will focus on costs. Cost of petrol, cost of electricity or the cost of a steak. All of these can easily be estimated: If nobody finds ways of producing the goods with fewer emissions then the new price will be the current price plus the new tax. Is the new price acceptable, or not? This will be a considerably easier discussion than debating reductions by itself. And it’s not as if EU’s 20-20-20 targets for reductions were chosen due to decades of research showing that exactly these are the numbers that will save the planet!