The White House is not considering a tax on carbon dioxide to fight global warming, according to an administration official.
“The Trump Administration is not considering a carbon tax,” said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters, according to Axios, shortly after Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave an ambiguous answer on the subject when asked by reporters at Tuesday’s press briefing.
“Part of the [National Economic Council’s] responsibility in coordinating economic policy for the President is to listen to a range of viewpoints on various issues,” the official told Axios.
Spicer dodged a similar question in February after reports came out that White House officials met with former Republican officials who pitched replacing federal regulations with a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
A small band of Republicans are pressuring lawmakers to publicly back a carbon tax to fight global warming. The Climate Leadership Council met with White House officials in February to pitch a carbon tax.
The Council’s Republicans include former Secretary of State James Baker, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and former cabinet official George Shultz. Their plan argues a revenue-neutral carbon tax shrinks “the overall size of government and streamlining the regulatory state.”
There’s just one problem for carbon tax backers: President Donald Trump promised during the campaign to not back a carbon tax.
Trump also promised to eliminate 75 percent of federal regulations and undo President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan.” So, there’s no grand bargain to be made by swapping regulations for a carbon tax.
Most Republicans don’t support a carbon tax. The party’s 2016 platform rejects global warming taxes, arguing they would “increase energy prices across the board, hitting hardest at the families who are already struggling to pay their bill in the Democrats’ no-growth economy.”
Only a handful of Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have come out in favor of measures to reduce global warming. Thirteen House Republicans joined the Climate Solutions Caucus that was created to find ways to curb global warming.
Those Republicans recently made public overtures to their party and Trump to put forward solutions to global warming.
“We can’t deal in alternative facts, or alternative realities,” said South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford. “We have to deal with whatever there’s consensus about as a starting point in legitimate debates that do exist.”
Trump isn’t listening. The president is expected to issue an executive order in the coming days or weeks to roll back Obama’s signature regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
That order is also expected to undo the Department of the Interior’s moratorium on new coal mining leases and Obama administration guidances on under-girding global warming regulations.
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