No Climate Change Regulation? Yes to Carbon Tax!

Posted by Neno Duplan

A group of prominent Republicans this week launched a bid for a carbon tax.In addition to James Baker, other council members are George Shultz, Henry Paulson, and other prominent Republicans. They say that enacting a carbon tax would free up private firms to find the most efficient ways to cut emissions. Former Secretary of State James Baker led a group of senior Republican statesmen in rolling out a plan for using a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The four-pillar proposal calls for a revenue-neutral carbon tax starting at $40 per ton. Dubbed the “Republican climate jailbreak strategy,” the plan calls for taxes to be collected at the source — on oil at the refinery, for instance — then built into the prices for products made from that material. Revenue would be returned to taxpayers, amounting to about $2,000 annually for a family of four.

In exchange for the tax, much of U.S. EPA’s regulatory authority over carbon dioxide emissions would be phased out, including the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The proposal would in reality amount to a regulatory swap deal, trading current regulations for taxation.
It is interesting that some see this proposal as a potential for bipartisan progress on climate change.

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a group that focuses on engaging Republicans on climate policy, welcomed the plan. CRES said it aligns with voter support for clean energy. If implemented, the proposed tax would likely reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2025, according to an analysis by two leading scholars on energy-related policy.

 

Whether it is called a regulation or tax, it looks carbon management is here to stay, and companies will need robust software tools to manage their carbon emissions.

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