Miami Herald: Carbon Fee Would Help Solve Climate Challenge

By Walt Minnick

Too many presidential candidates still avoid the issue of climate change, so it was refreshing to see Miami Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo join nine fellow House Republicans to introduce a resolution on Sept. 17 recognizing the need for action. The 11 representatives call for innovative solutions. Here’s one that could end the Congressional logjam:

(1) Rely on the free market instead of more EPA regulation. If Congress approves a fee on carbon emissions, business will become more energy-efficient, and consumers will buy less carbon-based fuel.

(2) Use half of the revenue generated to reduce our corporate tax rate, the highest in the industrialized world, to 25 percent and return the balance to low- and low-middle-income families to offset their slightly higher energy costs;

(3) Impose a border adjustment that incentivizes other countries to impose a similar fee to avoid their exporters paying it to us at our border.

More than 40 nations have adopted some form of carbon pricing, covering 22 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

British Columbia adopted a carbon fee in 2008 that has reduced fossil fuel emissions by 16 percent, while emissions in the rest of that country have risen 3 percent. Meantime, B.C.’s growth outperforms Canada’s.

Our nonprofit has briefed more than 175 senators and members of Congress, or their aides, and found great interest in this kind of bipartisan solution.

With leadership from Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo, our next president, Democrat or Republican, could sign a law pricing carbon that would lead the world in solving the climate challenge.

Walt Minnick is co-founder of Partnership for Responsible Growth.

This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Miami Herald on September 20, 2015.