A new report from the Climate Leadership Council says the carbon tax proposal developed by former Republican Secretaries of State James Baker III and the late George Shultz would slash U.S. carbon emissions by 51% on its own.
When paired with other climate policies such as efficiency standards and nature-based investments, the carbon fee could help cut emissions in half or more even earlier, by 2030, according to the report. The emissions analysis was conducted by Resources for the Future and Yale University.
Implementing a carbon tax would also prompt reductions of at least 20% in other air pollutants, such as nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds, by 2035, the report finds.
What about the politics? The report comes on the heels of a lobbying push from oil companies and other business leaders this week, organized by the Climate Leadership Council, urging senators in both parties to back a carbon tax.
Most Republicans, however, are unlikely to back a carbon tax. So far, despite growing public support from business groups for the policy, Sen. Mitt Romney has expressed the most interest in a carbon tax, but it’s possible a few other Republican senators could join him in flirting with the policy.
In remarks during a Senate Budget Committee hearing yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he met this week with the Climate Leadership Council and has spoken
frequently with Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse about a price on carbon.
“What you do with the money is really important. If you rebate it to the consumer it lessens some of the fears that people have about increased cost at the gas tank, increased heating cost, running your business,” Graham said. He added he’d like to “start a discussion” with Whitehouse and business groups that back a carbon price to “find out what kind of rebate is fair that would get you the most political support.”