Renewed debate in Washington over controversial carbon tax

07/26/2018 04:18 PM

Reporting by: Eva McKend

The debate over a proposed carbon tax renewed this week after a Florida lawmaker introduced legislation on the issue, going against the party line.

Some view it as a thoughtful solution to climate change. Others say it’s a burdensome tax that will crush coal communities and low-income Americans.

“Fossil fuels and other sources of greenhouse gasses will have a charge associated with emissions that will come from those fuels,” said Adele Morris, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow. “Economists wildly recommend this policy to get market forces to steer the economy in a low carbon direction at the least possible cost.”

Most Republicans have real concerns about how it would impact coal country. That’s why last week they overwhelmingly voted for a resolution in opposition to this tax.

“The left’s solution to every problem in the world is to raise taxes and have more power over more people’s lives,” said Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform.

A republican strategy to address climate change remains unclear.

“I think that most people are concerned about the environment,” said U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky. “I think sometimes environmentalists and a lot of these college professors have gone to great extremes to mischaracterize certain types of energy, particularly coal. What we need to do in America from an energy standpoint is provide the lowest-cost energy. If that’s wind, that’s fine. If that’s solar, that’s fine. But if it’s coal and it currently is coal, burning coal is the way to go.”

While the carbon tax isn’t gaining momentum right now, it’s an idea that could pick up more steam after the midterms when there isn’t as much political capital to burn.

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