Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search

The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

The Republican Shift on Climate Change

A carbon tax is not impossible

Author: Reilly Capps/Monday, March 4, 2013/Categories: environment

By Reilly Capps

I hang with a lot of Republicans. I like them. They don’t make me eat kale. But there was a time when it was tough to hang out with Republicans because my views on climate change made them think I was an idiot.

“You believe in global warming?” they used to ask, in the same tone they'd use to ask, “You eat boogers?”

Then came Hurricane Sandy; then the election; then the destruction of heat records; then growing public acceptance of the bare facts. And the Republican attitude changes. Republican friends still think I’m an idiot, but for different reasons.

“The awkwardness of going against the party orthodoxy is over now,” said Alex Bozmoski, a Republican. The change in tone has opened up a space for novel approaches to fix the situation, and Bozmoski is at the forefront of one of them. He advocates for conservative solutions to global warming with the Energy and Enterprise Institute near Washington.

Bozmoski works with my favorite Republican on climate change, Bob Inglis, who lost his seat in congress in large part because he dared say he believed in climate change. (Fascinating to watch videos of him getting grilled by South Carolina Tea Partiers until he is literally pulling on his collar like a sinner in church.)


After he lost his election, Inglis gave us this classic House moment, where he insists that deniers of climate change say so clearly on the record, so their grandchildren will know where they stood:

Inglis then founded the EEI.

The main platform of the EEI, which is affiliated with a free market-leaning university, is to tax different things from what we’re currently taxing. Basically:

Tax carbon more. Tax income less.

See if this man isn’t the most reasonable Republican you’ve seen in a long time:

Bozmoski and Inglis spend their weeks racking up frequent flier miles speaking to business groups, young Republican organizations, and anyone else who will listen to his idea for a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Bozmoski says, “I think we will start to see changes, an acceleration of conservatives coming to the table.”

More and more Republicans now see the light – or feel the heat – on climate change, and admitting that something ought to be done. Christine Todd Whitman, George W. Bush’s secretary of the EPA, is on board. So is Art Laffer, the father of supply-side economics and one of President Reagan’s top economic advisers. (I talked to him here.) And young people especially, even conservative young people, are facing the truth.

“Young people are not with (the Republicans) on climate change,” Bozmoski told me.

So there may be changes coming. The Republicans are in the middle of a shift, embracing immigrants, for example.

Still, Bozmoski puts the chances at any kind of carbon tax passing as “small.” Even if it’s a revenue-neutral tax, where everyone’s income taxes go down. 

There may be too much money on the side of oil, construction, travel, and other companies who make money being able to pollute for free. Even today, most Republicans barely acknowledge that the world is getting warmer, and Americans, overall, say the global warming threat is exaggerated, and the economy is more important than the environment. Many will see a carbon tax as a threat to their livelihood, even though it’s probably the opposite.

A carbon tax would signify a shift in the way we think about the world, and our place in it, the end of the days of polluting without recognizing the consequences. It will be the beginning of the days when we recognize that we have to pay to pollute, one way or another.

Print

Number of views (2761)/Comments (0)

Please login or register to post comments.

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x
Think Green Saturday, December 2, 20170

Think Green

It's important to Think Green during this white time of year.

Solarizing South Australia Friday, December 1, 20170

Solarizing South Australia

Renewable electricity power generation took a big leap today.

Volcano May Explode, a timeline update Thursday, November 30, 20170

Volcano May Explode, a timeline update

Bali's Mount Agung could erupt any time.

Your Kids Will Live on Mars Wednesday, November 29, 20170

Your Kids Will Live on Mars

Futurists have always looked to Mars.

Tuesday for Giving Tuesday, November 28, 20170

Tuesday for Giving

3 Suggestions for Giving Tuesday

Rewilding Monday, November 27, 20170

Rewilding

or how a 'silent spring' could turn into a 'wild summer' 
Cancun's Underwater Museum Friday, November 24, 20170

Cancun's Underwater Museum

The sculptor Jason DeCaires Taylor created a unique museum combining art and science in an undersea display.
My Life As A Turkey Thursday, November 23, 20170

My Life As A Turkey

If you thought turkeys were just big butterballs in the Thanksgiving oven, think again.
How the Military Fights Climate Change Monday, November 20, 20170

How the Military Fights Climate Change

The military are proactive on climate change.

Stories to Change 'Apocalypse Fatigue' into Action Saturday, November 18, 20170

Stories to Change 'Apocalypse Fatigue' into Action

Moving away from cliamte fatigue into action.

Trees Before Rain Friday, November 17, 20170

Trees Before Rain

Which came first: trees or rain?

A 'Medicane' Forms Wednesday, November 15, 20170

A 'Medicane' Forms

A medicane heads toward Italy and Greece.

Elon Musk on Solving the Climate Crisis Tuesday, November 14, 20170

Elon Musk on Solving the Climate Crisis

Incentives to solve climate change.

India's 'gas chamber' smog Monday, November 13, 20170

India's 'gas chamber' smog

Toxic smog covers north India.

Why Wildfires Are Now Bigger Saturday, November 11, 20170

Why Wildfires Are Now Bigger

Ecology, forests, and megafires.

Curing Blindness Friday, November 10, 20170

Curing Blindness

Can blindness anywhere be eliminated?

Conserving, the Mother Load Wednesday, November 8, 20170

Conserving, the Mother Load

Trying to avoid another Dust Bowl.

Restoration by Crowdfunding Tuesday, November 7, 20170

Restoration by Crowdfunding

A rare fish is restored and the ecological recovery is a good lesson.