Public policy over the last 25 years has been dominated by neoliberal ideology which has driven solutions to emerging social, political and economic problems. Given this, it is not surprising that emissions trading schemes founded on the core tenets of neoliberalism have emerged as the prevailing response to climate change by developed countries. There have been mounting challenges to the marketization of climate policy and we join this to argue that carbon taxes are alternate policy instruments that are more likely to orient social and economic activity towards carbon pollution mitigation. A carbon tax does not require radical social or political transformation of the economy. However, it does place the state at the centre of regulating and governing solutions to climate change. This presents a challenge to the free market orientation of current neoliberal solutions to climate change.