Republican ‘elder statesmen’ officially call for a carbon tax

This is exceedingly good news! Yes these elder statesmen Republicans aren’t elected members of the government, and yes it will be difficult to convince elected Republicans of the importance of climate change, but this is what a first step looks like.

In fact once you get past the knee jerk reactions, a revenue-neutral carbon tax is a very small government/free market solution, and could be a responsible way to dismantle the Obama-era climate regulations while at the same time making real progress on climate mitigation. In fact a proper carbon tax is in many ways superior to the regulatory approach taken by the Obama administration (though Republicans at the time ensured that this was the only option available to Obama).

A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.

The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles…

The Baker proposal would substitute the carbon tax for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a complex set of rules to regulate emissions which President Trump has pledged to repeal and which is tied up in court challenges, as well as other climate regulations. At an initial price of $40 per ton of carbon dioxide produced, the tax would raise an estimated $200 billion to $300 billion a year, with the rate scheduled to rise over time.

The tax would be collected where the fossil fuels enter the economy, such as the mine, well or port; the money raised would be returned to consumers in what the group calls a “carbon dividend” amounting to an estimated $2,000 a year for the average family of four.

Now is the time to support all Republicans who decide to support this plan, regardless of what their position on climate policy might have been under the Obama administration.

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