By Gregory Wrightstone
On Friday (7/20/18), a Congressional Resolution was introduced by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and West Virginia Rep. David McKinley condemning a carbon tax passed, mainly on a party line vote of 229 – 180. This Resolution was nearly identical to two previous versions in 2013 and 2016. One troubling difference is that the previous versions had unanimous backing from every GOP Congressman, while the recent one had seven Republican representatives who did not back resolution.
This vote came ahead of a planned introduction this week of the truly Orwellian-named “Market Choice Act” that would impose a tax on all carbon dioxide emission sources. Still more troubling is that this piece of legislation is being introduced by a Republican, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R.-Fla.), co-chair of the Climate Solutions Caucus.
The proposed bill would impose a $23 per ton CO2 tax at the emission source including at the coal mine, refinery and gas processing site. Additionally, a yearly increase of 2% above inflation will be assessed, with no limits into the future. The bill seeks to replace the federal gas tax with the income dedicated primarily to the Highway Trust Fund (70%), plus block grants for cities and states for low income households (10%) and climate impact mitigation efforts (5%).
Not satisfied with intentionally increasing the cost of every item in America by significantly increasing energy costs, the bill also establishes a new National Climate Commission. This Commission would set goals for emissions reductions in order to determine “what is needed to avoid serious human health and environmental consequences of a changing climate.”
So why the push now for a carbon tax by certain GOP legislators? In mid-2017, the Climate Leadership Council was formed to promote a very similar proposal of a steadily increasing carbon tax that they hailed as a “conservative” approach to deal with and try to prevent the looming climate catastrophes supposedly due to our CO2 emissions. This group is led by a veritable Who’s Who of prominent big government proponents, many of them hailing from the former Bush Administration, including James Baker and George Shultz.
Additional Republican support is coming from some Republicans on college campuses. This latest Trojan Horse within Republican college ranks is a group called Students for Carbon Dividends. They have embraced the Baker proposal and are busily recruiting college Republicans organizations to their cause across the county.
Backstopping these efforts for enactment of a carbon tax is a new group led by Democrat John Breaux and Republican Trent Lott, the Americans for Carbon Dividends. Unsurprisingly, among their funding sources are the nations largest non-carbon energy companies, including Exelon Corp (nuclear), First Solar Inc. and the American Wind Energy Association.
Last week’s Congressional resolution condemning a carbon tax concluded that such a tax scheme would necessarily increase not only energy costs but would increase costs on every good manufactured in the United States. They were correct on that count and also correct in pointing out that, if passed, a carbon tax would fall the hardest on the poor, the elderly and those on fixed incomes because they pay the largest percentage of their incomes for energy. In effect, this is a regressive tax that most harms the poorest among us.
Congress should promote pro-growth and free market solutions that will increase America’s global competitiveness rather than promote economically crippling taxation schemes such as a carbon tax.
That support for such a proposal is growing among some Republican “leaders” is disturbing. It shows just how successful the campaign of climate alarmism has been in convincing the population that carbon dioxide, a truly miracle molecule, is a deadly pollutant that will lead to planetary climate catastrophe.
Gregory Wrightstone, is author of the new book, Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You To Know. Wrightstone is a geologist with more than 35 years of experience researching and studying various aspects of the Earth’s processes. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America.