Council of American Ambassadors: An Opportunity for President Trump to Lead

By William C. Eacho, The Ambassadors REVIEW Spring 2018 Issue

Every day, in countries around the planet, government employees are working on plans that will reduce greenhouse emissions, as each nation promised to do at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Here in Washington? No one has such an assignment.

Global leadership used to be an American staple. In fact, we were in the vanguard a couple of years ago when 195 nations assembled in Paris to finalize the climate change accord. In a 180-degree reversal, President Donald Trump opted to withdraw from this pact. But since the rules do not allow that withdrawal to become official until November 4, 2020, there is time for our government to regain its leadership role as the world struggles to meet this fundamental challenge. And the President can do so in a way that strengthens the global competitiveness of the U.S. economy.

How? Ask almost any economist what is the quickest, most efficient and least expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and he or she will say, “a carbon tax.” Carbon has benefited from a subsidy from day one. Yes, fossil fuels have played a critical role in U.S. prosperity, but they also have driven up the rates and severity of lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and other ailments. In addition, they are the leading cause of climate change, which scientists have concluded is running up the frequency and intensity of wildfires, superstorms and other natural disasters. Yet the price we pay for carbon does not cover any of these costs; all of us pick up that tab.

Bill Eacho's Briefing on Climate Policy at Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business

"Bill Eacho, Former U.S. Ambassador and CEO, and Founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth, discusses the state of climate policy and its business implications. Part of ClimateCAP: The Global MBA Summit on Climate, Capital, & Business. Hosted in 2018 at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in partnership with 16 leading business schools."

Making the price of carbon more honest

By George T. Frampton Jr., Co-founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth.

A Pigouvian tax. That’s the common-sense response to Fred Hiatt’s plea in his Feb. 12 op-ed, “Don’t celebrate the budget deal. It imperils America,” that Congress “fund” the nation’s priorities. Such a levy, named for British economist Arthur Pigou, is intended to correct an inefficient market outcome.

We subsidize the burning of carbon. We all pay later for lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and the lost productivity resulting from these diseases. Its price does not include the costs of more frequent and more intense hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters that climate change is exacerbating.

By honestly pricing carbon, we could accelerate the inevitable transition to clean energy and reduce carbon’s increasingly high costs to society. Doing so would provide a second benefit: A $49-per-metric-ton fee, increasing by 2 percent a year over inflation, would generate $2.1 trillion over 10 years. Even after rebating a portion of that to lower- and middle-income households to compensate them for slightly higher energy costs, there would still be more than $1 trillion left to reduce the fast-rising national debt and address our infrastructure needs.

Bangor (Maine) Daily News: Maine is not as vulnerable as Florida, but the toll of climate change still will be high

By William C. Eacho, co-founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth

We may not be as vulnerable as our friends in Florida, but Mainers are likely to pay a heavy toll as the climate continues to change. A recent climate assessment by federal scientists concluded that the largest increase in intensity and frequency of heavy precipitation will be in the Northeast.

Sea levels already have risen 7 to 8 inches globally since 1900, with 3 inches of that probably since 1993. That is a rate not seen in any century for at least 2,800 years. The Northeast has and will experience sea level rise greater than the global average, scientists say.

Bloomberg politics: There's One Unspeakable Fix That Would Help Pay for the GOP's Tax Cuts

By Eric Roston

Paying for tax reform is easy—as long as the White House and Congress don’t mind fixing climate change at the same time.

That’s the counterintuitive pitch of Robert Litterman, a financial economist who became famous on Wall Street in the 1990s for co-inventing a method (PDF) for allocating assets within a portfolio. He went on to become Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s top risk manager and then led its quantitative asset management investments until he left in early 2010. Today, he’s the chairman of the Risk Committee at Kepos Capital.

TRAVERSE CITY (MICHIGAN) RECORD-EAGLE: CLIMATE CHANGE

Letter to the Editor

Wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, heat wave. It’s time to take action on climate change, and residents of Michigan’s largest congressional district should be pleased that their representative in Congress, Jack Bergman, has just joined the House Climate Solutions Caucus. He is the first member from Michigan.

Many people think that all Republicans are climate change skeptics. In fact, half of the 60 members of this caucus are Republicans.

Their interest in this challenge reflects growing concern in the party. For example, 62 percent of Trump voters support taxing and/or regulating the pollution that causes global warming, according to a Yale survey, and that was before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.

If we are to make significant progress on climate change, this caucus will have to provide some of the leadership.

We hope that Congressman Bergman can help persuade his colleagues to engage in the art of compromise that legislators are paid to perform. Here’s one idea for this fall: To pay for tax cuts, enact a carbon fee to accelerate the shift to clean energy.

George T. Frampton, Jr.

Co-founder, Partnership for Responsible Growth