As reported yesterday, elder Republican statesmen, economists and business leaders unveiled support for a conservative approach to climate change: a carbon dividend. The $40/ton tax on carbon emissions, which would ramp up over time, would generate a rebate of approximately $2000 per family of four on the outset. Former Secretaries of State James A. Baker and George Shultz, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Climate Leadership Council CEO Ted Halstead were joined by conservative economists Greg Mankiw and Martin Feldstein in making the announcement.
“Mounting evidence of climate change is growing too strong to ignore,” their proposal reads. “While the extent to which climate change is due to man-made causes can be questioned, the risks associated with future warming are too big and should be hedged. At least we need an insurance policy.”
Halstead elaborated that climate change has been, “mired in partisan politics…The simplistic view is that Democrats want to solve climate change and Republicans don’t. Well, as today’s statement, our statement, proves, that is not true.” In an interview with CNN, Baker noted that while “Republicans have not been at the table” their proposal is “a good plan” and deserves consideration.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer had no comment about the meeting held with President Donald Trump’s key advisors. North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, who advised Trump during the campaign, said never “in a million years” would Congress pass a carbon tax or the president support one. On the campaign, when Cramer hinted at support for a carbon tax, then-nominee Trump responded by twitter immediately to express opposition. Likewise, American Energy Alliance president Thomas Pyle, who advised the transition, said Trump “would be negotiating against himself if he embraces this proposal.”
In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said “I don’t know whether we’ll do [a carbon tax] or not. But it’s in the mix… it would be something to consider.”
The statesmen called their plan “pro-growth, pro-competitiveness and pro-working class.”