There’s a new climate change prevention plan in town, and unbelievably, it’s coming from some rather senior Republicans, the de facto party of science denial.
Two former Secretaries of State – James Baker III and George Shultz – along with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., met with Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council this week in Washington D.C.
During the meeting, they proposed a carbon tax, describing it as a “conservative climate solution” grounded in free-market ideology.
In a transcript of the meeting sent to IFLScience, the three explain that, instead of going along with the beleaguered Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas emission caps and focus on renewable energy, they favor a “gradually rising carbon tax,” where “100 percent of the proceeds would be given back to the American people in the form of dividends.”
“America could meet the commitments that it made in Paris without any other policies. That is how effective the power of a marketplace solution can be.
“223 million Americans stand to benefit financially from solving climate change,” they add.
Rather remarkably, Baker himself is a “moderate” denier of climate change. Although he accepts it is happening, he is entirely unconvinced of the overwhelming scientific evidence that links human activity to the phenomenon – and yet, he strongly supports a carbon tax.
It is, however, difficult to verify the efficacy of their plan and the reliability of the associated numbers that come along with it.
The point worth noting is that they are pitching the plan to combat climate change as an economic incentive. This is in fact something scientists and companies have already tried to do – they’ve repeatedly pitched increasingly cheap, job-creating renewable energy to Trump, framing it (accurately) as an economic boon.