CFC reduction: a success story

Also via Tim Haab at Environmental Economics:
CFC reductions are often hailed as an environmental policy success story. The reason CFC reduction policies have been so successful is Congress taxed the bejesus out of CFCs.
The Clean Air Act (Title VI) established caps on most CFC's as agreed upon under the Montreal Protocol, with a complete phase out occurring around the year 2000. The tax on CFC's was $1.37 a pound in 1990 and 1991, about twice the then current product price. Recycled CFC's were exempted from the tax.

The tax was raised in 1990 and again in 1992. The tax raised to $3.10 per pound in 1995 and to $4.90 per pound in 1996, raising the price six fold.
The lesson: economic incentives change behavior.
I find the subsequent news item about taxing overgrown lawns in Jupiter, Florida entertaining, but not very relevant. And unfortunately the "tax the bejesus" strategy isn't as viable for massive emittants (is that a word) like CO2, NOx and methane.


  1. If we raise taxes sufficiently to make it uneconomical for people to live a lot of our environmental problems would be solved.

    And fat poor people would be a thing of the past.

    Let us all work towards that better day.

  2. I suppose, but in the real world, who is the "we" who will raise those taxes? It's hard to see a democratic electorate voting for that in the U.S., and even if we did it is even more far-fetched to imagine in the developing world.