We Thought We Would Hit Your Sweet Spot

The Wall Street Journal
March 9, 2017
By George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III

It’s hard to believe that the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal would oppose a conservative, free-market, revenue-neutral, limited-government, internationally competitive approach to the potential threat of climate change that would eliminate the heavy hand of government regulation by the EPA—and is supported by many of America’s major oil- and gas-producing companies. But that’s exactly what the board did in its Feb. 25 editorial “The Carbon Tax Chimera.”


Days before the Journal editorial was published, ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods lauded a revenue-neutral carbon tax, saying it “would promote greater energy efficiency and the use of today’s lower-carbon options, avoid further burdening the economy, and also provide incentives for markets to develop additional low-carbon energy solutions for the future.” The man Mr. Woods replaced as Exxon’s head, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, voiced support for a carbon levy during his recent Senate confirmation hearing.

If energy producers support this notion, then why doesn’t the Journal?

The newspaper’s biggest concern seems to be that once enacted, revenues from the carbon tax will be diverted to other government programs and not returned to Americans in the form of a dividend. That won’t happen if the enabling legislation provides criminal penalties for any bureaucrat who tried to do that.


We would have thought that a conservative, free-market, revenue-neutral, limited-government, internationally competitive, carbon-control proposal would be right in The Wall Street Journal’s sweet spot unless of course, the Journal does not agree that there is a potential threat of climate change.