A carbon tax is what it sounds like. The government charges emitters of carbon pollution for every metric ton they release into the atmosphere. Carbon taxes are gaining popularity as a way to massively cut the amount of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere, while creating jobs, raising incomes, and cutting deficits in countries where they’re implemented. British Columbia, Canada has had a carbon tax since 2008 and has seen success cutting energy use and carbon emissions, and giving revenue from the tax back to low-income families to offset higher energy prices.
Chile currently produces little power inside the country, importing 70 percent. On the other hand, the Atacama Desert gets the highest levels of direct solar radiation in the world, and Chile has huge potential for hydraulic, wind, and geothermal power as well.
The carbon tax appears to be a bid to encourage energy independence through renewables, as well as a move against climate change. Chile plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, from 2007 levels.