Writing Contest: Third Place - Essay (Tie)

Greenhouse Gas Taxation Regulations

Matthew J. Neiding Jr., North Ridgeville High School, North Ridgeville, OH, (Teacher: Lucky Varouh)

Regulations clarify, implement, and enforce laws. They contain specific requirements about what is legal and what is not to make laws practical. Congress has created regulatory agencies with the power to write such regulations. There are many regulations that are already written, and they cover just about everything you could possibly think of. However, this topic is one that can never have too many regulations.

Our environment is a very fragile one. It is very sensitive to changes, natural or unnatural; in this case, it is unnatural. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap the sun's heat inside the atmosphere. There is a natural accumulation of these gases regardless of what mankind does, but mankind adds a significant amount to the atmosphere.

Actions such as driving, mowing the lawn, or anything else that consumes fossil fuels will release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Industries also add them by emitting their wastes through smokestacks. There are already a few regulations set up in an attempt at controlling the amount released per industry, but there needs to be something more strict so we do not contribute to these gases more than what cannot be prevented. This is where the air tax comes in. The air tax would charge industries for every cubic foot of greenhouse gases produced as wastes. This tax would be like a sin tax for big industries that produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. It would require the exhaust fumes to go through a series of chemical reactions so it is reduced to nothing more than a harmless product of water, oxygen, or any other product that could not harm the environment.

There are plenty of benefits from this regulation, the most obvious being that the rate that greenhouse gases are growing in our atmosphere would decrease significantly. However, there will be costs to this regulation as well. Industries would have to purchase the chemicals that would react with the gases. This causes extra expenses on the industry and it may have to lower salaries, hours, or the number of employees. Many jobs could be lost due to this regulation. Also, the tax must be higher than the cost of the chemicals; otherwise, the industries would simply pay the tax and the regulation would be pointless.

The secondary consequences would be the loss of jobs for workers in the industries if the cost of the chemicals is too high. Also, some businesses may shut down and get rid of employees if they cannot afford to purchase the chemicals.

Our environment may not be able to handle the immense amount of greenhouse gases emitted from so many major industries. These gases cause what is known as global warming; the rise in the average temperature of the planet's different climate areas. This is a very important topic and hurts many areas of the planet. Something must be done about this, and it all starts with the greenhouse gases.