Though some have tried to make a conservative case for a carbon support, there is little evidence many conservatives or Republicans actually support the idea.
In early August, members of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council overwhelmingly shot down an attempt by a representative from the R Street Institute to push a carbon tax, sources told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The R Street bills itself as an organization that supports “limited, effective government, and responsible environmental stewardship.” The group supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax under some conditions.
This vote against a carbon tax in an ALEC meeting in Chicago about two weeks ago comes after Republicans in both the House and the Senate voted unanimously against a carbon tax earlier this year.
“President Obama’s plan to impose a tax on carbon would cause household electricity rates to skyrocket while destroying millions of American jobs,” said Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise. “The Obama Administration has used every trick in the book to implement its radical agenda through back door regulations.”
The R Street representative proposed an amendment to an ALEC “model resolution” opposing a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, sources said, which would have changed the wording of the bill to say that the group was not opposed to a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax — meaning ALEC would not oppose carbon taxes that don’t change the revenues raised by the government.
R Street’s representative in attendance was the only person in favor of it, but could not get anyone else to support the amendment, losing by more than 100 votes. According to sources, the anti-carbon tax resolution would have been defeated if the R Street amendment was adopted.
ALEC represents more than 2000 Republican and Democratic state legislators and a number of businesses and nonprofits. ALEC’s anti-carbon tax amendment passed out of the necessary committees and is awaiting approval from the group’s board. If it is approved, ALEC will be opposed to a carbon tax on the federal and state level.
There have been reports of growing interest in a carbon tax among Republican lawmakers. The New York Times recently ran an op-ed by former Republican Environmental Protection Agency administrators in favor of a carbon tax.
“A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington,” write the administrators, who argue that political gridlock makes the idea politically untenable.