Senior GOP Voices Lift Campaign for a Fee on Carbon

Statement by the Partnership for Responsible Growth

For Immediate Release:

This is a big moment for the political debate on climate change. Seven of the nation’s most respected conservative Republicans have added their voices to the growing chorus saying that climate change is real and that a carbon tax is the smartest and most efficient solution.

The seven are James A. Baker III, Treasury secretary for President Reagan and secretary of state for President George H. W. Bush; Henry M. Paulson Jr., Treasury secretary for President George W. Bush; George P. Shultz, Treasury secretary for President Nixon and secretary of state for Mr. Reagan; Thomas Stephenson, a partner at Sequoia Capital, a venture-capital firm; Rob Walton, who recently completed 23 years as chairman of Walmart, and former Council of Economic Advisers Chairmen Martin Feldstein and Greg Mankiw. They were joined by Ted Halstead, the founder, president and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council and a member of our Advisory Board.

This is the latest sign of growing Republican concern about our climate and of our responsibility to provide future generations with a healthy economy and planet. Ten House Republicans have joined the new bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus, reflecting polls showing an increase in GOP voters’ support for government action.

The Baker-Shultz team proposes a $40 carbon tax with all proceeds returned to taxpayers as the “Republican free market” approach.  We think it more likely that this Congress will want to use the bulk of the funds to offset the costs of cutting taxes and that the debate over tax reform offers the best opportunity to price carbon. Our meetings with members of Congress also tell us that most Republicans also want tax reform paid for.

The size of the fee and the allocation of the proceeds can be hammered out by Congress. What matters far more is to put a price on carbon, as the long-time GOP leaders urge, and let the free market help us reduce carbon emissions. And the sooner Congress acts, the better our chances of hitting the science-based targets.

The business community has been moving toward action on climate change, and we hope more business leaders will join this campaign in the wake of yesterday’s proposal. If enough of them voice support, Congress will act.

Contact: Jesse Vogel, Managing Director, (614) 572-6046