Senior Republicans Push for Climate Action
February 8, 2017
I wish them good luck, but if they’re serious, maybe they should be visiting Moscow.
A coalition of veteran GOP officials — including five who have either served as treasury secretary or as chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers — will meet Wednesday with top White House officials to discuss the prospect of imposing a national carbon tax, rather than using federal regulations, to address climate change.
The newly formed Climate Leadership Council — which includes James A. Baker, Henry Paulson, George P. Shultz, Marty Feldstein and Greg Mankiw — is proposing elimination of nearly all of the Obama administration’s climate policies in exchange for a rising carbon tax that starts at $40 per ton and is returned in the form of a quarterly check from the Social Security Administration to every American.
“Mounting evidence of climate change is growing too strong to ignore,” the proposal said. “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.”
Despite the group’s impeccable Republican credentials — Baker, Paulson and Schultz served as treasury secretaries and Feldstein and Mankiw as CEA chairs, under GOP presidents — the proposal faces long odds.
Many congressional Republicans are adamantly against a tax increase of any kind, and President Trump repeatedly emphasized he is far more interested in promoting the extraction of fossil fuels in United States than curbing the nation’s carbon emissions.
A proposed carbon tax also failed recently in a ballot initiative in Washington state, in part because it divided the environmental and social left — with many liberals wanting to use any revenue to invest in clean energy and other social causes rather than to return it to the public.
Neither President Trump’s nor Vice President Pence’s spokespeople immediately responded to requests seeking comment on the carbon tax proposal, and Pence’s public schedule did not list the meeting with the group.