The generation that has grown up with the constant drumbeat of manmade climate change is now shaping public policy, including some young conservatives who have launched a nationwide campaign in support of a carbon tax.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation reported on the campaign, which runs counter to the stance of the Republican Party and President Donald Trump that the issue is more about globalization than saving the planet:
Drawn from Republican groups on more than two dozen university campuses, the Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends called for laws to tax oil, natural gas and coal producers of planet-warming greenhouse gases.
The taxation plan would make fossil fuels more costly while the resulting revenues would go to taxpayers.
“We claim to be the party that cares about the future that our children will inherit, and we need climate policy that reflects that,” said Kiera O’Brien, 21, a senior at Harvard University who co-founded the group.
“We are offering up what we see as the common sense solution and the way forward for the party,” O’Brien said in the Reuters article.
The article pointed out that Trump has rejected the climate doomsday scenario and has instead acted to help the U.S. energy sector by slashing regulations and withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, both policies aimed at helping American workers and the economy.
The college Republicans behind the carbon tax campaign said the Party should have, ahead of the 2020 election, a climate change plan in place. Their plan includes an initial $40-a-ton tax on carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – at mines, wells, and ports where products are produced. That tax rate would increase over time, according to Reuters.
O’Brien said the plan includes a family of four receiving $2,000 a year from the carbon tax revenues to help with higher energy costs.
The plan “harnesses the power of the free market to solve climate change through innovation,” O’Brien said. “Our plan would provide incentives for companies and individuals to lower emissions in ways they think are best.”
The campaign will connect young conservatives with Republican lawmakers around the country to talk about climate policy.
At least one older Republican backs the idea.
“The key here is the dividend – back to the people,” former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), who supports the young group, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“It’s not sustainable for Republicans, through the leadership, to say ‘We just don’t want to talk about this,'” Lott said.
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