GOP group claims its carbon tax is better for the economy than climate mandates

Washington Examiner
December 18, 2020
By Josh Siegel, Energy and Environment Reporter

A Republican-backed group pushing for Congress to pass a carbon tax is out with a new study Friday showing it would achieve the same level of emissions reductions as a regulatory approach while producing better economic outcomes.

The group, the Climate Leadership Council, is seeking to shore up support for its carbon tax and dividend proposal as policymakers have gravitated toward other ideas.

Democrats, including President-elect Joe Biden, are instead embracing regulations and mandates for combating climate change, while Republicans oppose new taxes or regulations and are offering more limited policies. The council, led by former Republican Secretaries of State James Baker III and George Shultz, is seeking to counter that.

“The intent of this study was not to criticize any particular regulation, however, if our objective is to find a global solution to climate change and rapidly decarbonize in a way that promotes the economy and where U.S. families come out ahead, it’s clear our solution is the best approach,” Greg Bertelsen, CEO of the Climate Leadership Council, told the Washington Examiner.


Carbon taxes have routinely been rejected by voters in states, while more than half of states have been able to enact some form of clean electricity standard or mandate.

“I really worry that the ONLY carbon tax/dividend scenario that is examined is an idealized system and there is no evidence that such a system could exist in the real world,” David Victor, a professor at University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, told the Washington Examiner in an email.

Joseph Majkut, director of climate policy at the Niskanen Center, said that “regulations might have more immediate traction” but “a carbon tax offers efficiency and well-understood designs to help households.”

Noah Kaufman, an economist at Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, said the council’s study adds to a “mountain of evidence showing that some form of carbon pricing is going to be part of a cost-effective decarbonization strategy.”

But Kaufman told the Washington Examiner that a carbon tax would be more effective if it were implemented alongside a portfolio of other climate policies, including regulations and standards.