Poll finds support for business-backed carbon tax plan

The Hill
September 10, 2018
By Timothy Cama

A carbon tax backed by some big businesses and former Republican officials has the support of most voters, a survey commissioned by the group backing it found.

The Climate Leadership Council’s survey found that its proposal for taxing carbon dioxide emissions — a plan it calls “carbon dividends” — has the support of 56 percent of voters surveyed, including 55 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats.

Twenty-six percent of respondents oppose the plan, the group said.

Poll-takers didn’t tell respondents the amount of the tax the group is proposing, which would be $43 per metric ton starting in 2021.

But nonetheless, the coalition launched by GOP elder statesmen including former secretaries of State James Baker and George Schultz is touting the survey to demonstrate support for its plan.

“This shows that the Baker-Schultz carbon dividend plan is the most popular, ambitious and — most of all — politically viable plan to solve climate change,” said Ted Halstead, the council’s CEO.

Halstead chalked up the support to the fact that taxpayers would get the money collected back, likely through regular payments.

“This not your old carbon tax. This is carbon dividends, and the vast majority of American families would win.”

The group’s goal is to present a climate plan that Republicans can get behind, even if it can’t be enacted in the immediate future. It faces significant headwinds, including that the GOP has consistently rejected policies that directly target greenhouse gas emissions, and the House voted this summer to denounce carbon taxes.

As part of the plan, federal agencies would be mostly blocked from writing greenhouse gas regulations, a provision that is designed to help attract GOP support.

In addition to the support from former GOP statesmen, a broad array of businesses like BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Pepsi Co., Unilever and General Motors support it.

The council is making a major push for its climate plan this week to coincide with the Global Climate Action Summit in California.

In addition to the poll, the group is releasing an internal analysis showing that their plan would reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2025.

That would exceed the U.S. pledge in the Paris agreement, which President Trump has committed to pulling out of. It would also exceed the reductions that would have been accomplished if all of former President Obama’s climate policies would have been implemented, like the Clean Power Plan and methane regulations.