This week started off with a bang in eco-right climate change circles. The founding members of the Conservative Leadership Council, including major oil companies, corporations, thought leaders, and policy makers, ran a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal calling for consensus climate policy based on free enterprise mechanisms. Concurrently, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers co-wrote a piece published in the Washington Post, This is the One Climate Solution That’s Best for the Environmentand for Business.
The ad calls for a carbon dividend based on four pillars: a gradually increasing, revenue neutral carbon tax; a dividend payment to all Americans; rollback of the existing regulator structure; and border carbon adjustments to ensure American competitiveness. This plan would, in the words of Shultz and Summers, “strengthen the U.S. economy in ways highly valued by both the left and right and simultaneously spur global efforts to address climate change. Adopting a carbon dividend approach would pay huge dividends for the global climate, the U.S. economy and U.S. leadership in the world.” The CLC was founded by Ted Halstead earlier this year. Ad signers include: BP, ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson, GM and Shell.
In other news:
Support grows: Rep. Leonard Lance of New Jersey became the 20th co-sponsor of the so-called Stefanik Resolution (after lead co-sponsor Rep. Elise Stefanik) on climate change. The resolution urges the House “to commit to working constructively, using our tradition of American ingenuity, innovation and exceptionalism” to address climate change in ways that “do not constrain the United States economy, especially in regards to global competitiveness.”
Words matter: In a recent survey conducted by Cornell University, 74.4 percent of self-identified Republicans said they believe climate change is really happening, whereas only 65.5 percent of the same respondents said global warming is happening.
Reaction to conservative push for carbon dividend: After yesterday’s Conservative Leadership Council founder’s ad signed by major oil companies and other corporate interests appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said “the federal government would certainly welcome voluntary contributions from BP, ExxonMobil and others if they are willing to send their money, but I don’t know if that proposal is one I could support, and I’m generally not in favor of carbon taxes.” Senate Energy and Natural Resources chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski hedged. “I think it makes the conversation about this as a policy initiative more interesting, and so how that then moves forward I think remains to be seen,” she said.
This week’s climate jester is Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry who in an interview on Monday indicated that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity is not a primary driver of climate change. Asked whether human activity was the primary knob for climate change, Perry said, “most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in…The fact is this shouldn’t be a debate about, ‘Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?’ Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that? There’s this idea that science is absolutely settled and if you don’t believe it’s settled, you’re somehow or another a neanderthal… that is so inappropriate… I think if you’re going to be a wise, intellectually engaged issue, being a skeptic about some of these issues is quite alright.”
That’s it for ClimateEye this week. Your fearless editor is on the west coast to celebrate Grandma June’s 100th birthday. Have a great weekend.