This post, written by Seth Jaffe, a Partner in Foley Hoag’s Environmental practice, was originally posted on the firm’s Law and the Environment blog.
In February, I posted about the formation of the Climate Leadership Council and its push for what it calls its “Carbon Dividend” plan. In essence, it’s a gradually increasing carbon tax. The plan would be revenue neutral, with the proceeds being returned to taxpayers. Thus, the name. I loved the idea and I still love it. I particularly love that the tax starts at $40/ton – that’s a serious number.
However, as I noted in February, the founders of the CLC are a who’s who of the old-line GOP establishment – precisely those whom President Trump would generally refer to as “losers”, unless he could spare the time to come up with something more derogatory.
The CLC has now brought on a number of corporate heavyweights, including GM and four of the world’s largest oil and gas companies (BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total), among others. They published their support in a Wall Street Journal ad. In a cheerful bit of optimism, the program is now called “The Consensus Climate Solution.” The ad describes the plan as “Pro-Environment, Pro-Growth, Pro-Jobs, Pro-Competitiveness, Pro-Business and Pro-National Security.” Who could be against it? Here’s a hint. I think that the tag line would work better if phrased as follows:
Pro-Environment, Pro-Trump, Pro-Growth, Pro-Trump, Pro-Jobs, Pro-Trump, Pro-Competitiveness, Pro-Trump, Pro-Business, Pro-Trump, and Pro-National Security (and Pro-Trump)
Seriously, this is no time for cynicism. This is a great plan. A tax starting at $40/ton would have real impact. (The most recent RGGI auction price? $2.53/ton.) As I noted earlier this week, we need smart people of good will and of all political stripes advocating solutions if we’re going to get anywhere.
Trump may call you losers, but, men and woman of the CLC, I salute you!