In many countries around the world, the current 'solution' to climate change is being touted as either an emissions trading scheme
(hereafter I will refer to as ETS) or a carbon tax
(tax on carbon dioxide).
Here in Australia the Rudd government recently (probably fortunately) failed to pass a pretty poor implementation of an emissions trading scheme, and we are almost certainly on track to utterly miss our pathetic target of a 5% emissions reduction by 2020 (of note that we need to do something like a 50% reduction by 2050 to actually approach what we need to do, and we are the worst per-capita emitter of carbon dioxide in the world).
Why am I happy about this? I'm really not - just Rudd is kind of an inept politician it seems - he likes big plans over phased implementations or sanity, but the opposition is not much better. But in a sense, I do not like emissions trading schemes - they're a conservative delusion that if you make everything a "market" then clearly all problems can be solved. They're also widely open to manipulation, require enormous oversight and careful management in order to actually function - as well as behaving in unexpected ways.
A better solution, and the one which is now preferred by many commentators is the carbon tax. Ideas on implementation vary, but the basic notion is that emission of carbon dioxide by any industry would incur some charge per ton of CO2 emitted. Some prefer flat-tax, others prefer a progressive tax. This is the option I prefer, because it has political expediency.
When the ETS debate in Australia was going on, the essential cry of the opposition became that it would levy "a great big tax" on Australian families. This is probably accurate - also an indightment of its stupidity - since its supposed to work the other way - we the consumers get the money and it offsets rising costs. Behold the power of the coal lobby.
With a carbon tax, this can, in part, be avoided: pass the tax, and slash corporations tax by the expected immediate yield of the carbon tax, thus making it effectively revenue neutral and not raising taxes on businesses overall. But! You would create a strong incentive for companies to reduce their footprint, since they would effectively pay less tax, and you would create a strong incentive for high-tech industry - since we would now have very low corporate tax rates (Australia's are currently 20% I believe).
Most importantly - it becomes far more difficult for anyone to oppose when you can talk about how taxes don't rise.
tl;dr I think revenue-neutral carbon tax, achieved by slashing corporations tax, is the politically-expendient option to doing something about climate change that actually leads to action. What do you think?