Part of the answer to a carbon tax being regressive is to increase the tax with amount of use. Your first gigaton is taxed at one rate, the second at another. Can also use the tax $$ to provide better access to and better public transportation.This is an interesting concept but it *might* end up as a regressive tax that unduly burdens the poor more than the middle or wealthy classes.
Low income people are often forced to use forms of energy and transportation that are the least efficient and in the worst operating condition. (think worn out appliances, air conditioning, worn out used automobiles, etc). Low income people do not have the $26k that I just dropped on residential solar panel installations. Many low income people do not have access to decent mass transportation and so drive low cost, but inefficient vehicles to work each day just to survive. Many low income people rent from landlords who are NOT interested in upgrading their rental properties to be energy efficient.
It's odd, but as my income has risen over the years, it has become easier for me to be environmentally responsible.
- I can afford to pay the higher food prices at local farmer's markets
- I was able to purchase a solar array that has totally negated my energy consumption from the power grid
- I can afford an electric vehicle and power it from my solar array
- I was able to afford to upgrade all of my appliances to newer, energy and water efficient versions.
Presumably, the easiest methods of taxing carbon would be to tie it to an individual's utility bills and adding a carbon tax at the fuel pump. God help 'em if the individual draws their electricity from a coal fired power plant, and is low income, drawing large amounts of electricity. Then, they pay more in tax at the fuel pump because their car is in bad tune and guzzles fuel.