Forbes: Business Leaders Explore A Path Toward A Carbon Tax

As the Republican-led Congress moves closer to revamping the U.S. tax code, it has sought sources of revenue to pay for proposed cuts. In mid-November, a group of business, philanthropic and environmental leaders met at a lunch in Manhattan convened by a former Goldman Sachs partner to discuss the possibility of making a carbon tax a reality.

A tax on carbon emissions, also known as carbon pricing, has long been thought to be an extremely hard sell, especially in the business community and among most Republican politicians. But the need to find revenue sources to offset proposed tax cuts has created an possible opening that leaders concerned about climate change are eager to exploit.

George T. Frampton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Clinton and co-founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth, which advocates for the use of a carbon tax to address climate, says the only way a carbon tax has a realistic chance of success is if the current tax proposal fails. Frampton, who has met with GOP senators to push for a carbon tax, notes that the funds provided by such a tax could be compelling to Republicans eager for a legislative win. “There’s a tremendous self-generated pressure here by Republican congressmen and senators who are saying publicly and privately, ‘If we can’t do this, our donors will tell us not to call again’ or ‘If we can’t do this, we can’t get elected dog catcher,’” says Frampton of the Congressional effort to pass a tax bill.

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.


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


Letter to the Editor

If Congress is intent on passing a tax-reform bill, leaders from both parties should insist that it not pump more steroids into the national debt [“Tax reform for cowards,” editorial, Sept. 29]. Publicly held national debt now tops $14 trillion. It’s already headed for almost $25 trillion over the next 10 years, pushing the ratio of debt-to-gross domestic product higher than ever, even the peak just after the end of World War II. President Trump’s proposal is pouring gasoline on the fire, endangering our capacity to fund a strong national defense and to take care of our aging population.

The best solution would be a creative, bipartisan compromise that gives our dealmaking president the lower rates he seeks without piling on more debt: a fee on carbon emissions to pay for the tax cuts. A $49-per-ton fee on emissions, increasing by 2 percent (plus inflation) a year, would generate $2.2 trillion over 10 years. Rebate half to cover the impact on low- and middle-income households and use $1.1 trillion to cover cutting rates. It would also enable our country to honor its Paris climate pledge. This is an efficient, free-market, nonregulatory idea that deserves bipartisan support.

Walt Minnick

Co-founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth

Washington Post: My company’s carbon footprint is the size of a small country. We need to act.

Global businesses are, quite rightly, under scrutiny for what they are doing to tackle challenges such as climate change and poverty. Last month, the United Nations asked business leaders the same questions we’ve heard countless times: What are businesses doing to help deliver on the Paris climate agreement? How can business and government work together to drive change at scale?

The Washington Times: Carbon tax may be on table for GOP reform effort

The reform plan released this week by President Trump and congressional leaders doesn’t mention the highly controversial idea of a carbon tax, but analysts believe there’s a real opportunity for Democrats to push for fees on emissions as part of a broader, once-in-a-generation compromise on taxes.