By Kayla Bartsch
Last week, the staff of 30 or so congressional offices, mostly Republican, gathered for a briefing. The executive director of the conservative Alliance for Market Solutions (AMS), Alex Flint, moderated a panel of speakers from the American Action Forum, the Tax Foundation, and the Niskanen Center — who discussed a policy that has the potential to hush the climate debate, unleash a wave of innovation, and make American energy markets more competitive.
There was one major catch. That policy was a tax, specifically a carbon tax.
In the past few years, several think tanks across the political spectrum have come out for a carbon tax, and several bills have been introduced in Congress outlining ways to implement one. With greenhouse-gas emissions on the rise and pressure mounting for a Green New Deal, several conservative leaders have pointed to a carbon tax as a market-friendly way to minimize emissions.
Why has carbon tax suddenly advanced in popularity? For one, climate issues are becoming more and more important to voters across the board. A survey administered by the Energy Policy Institute and the AP-NORC Center at the University of Chicago finds that 44 percent of Americans would support a carbon tax, 25 percent would neither support nor oppose, and 29 percent would oppose. (However, the surveyors interviewed a skewed base: 50 percent identified as Democrats, 36 percent as Republicans, and 14 percent identified as independents.)