US Climate Alliance

Could a Clean Tax Cut Succeed Where Carbon Taxes Have Failed?

 

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — To say that the Trump’s administration’s disconnect from reality when it comes to climate change has created tensions both at home and abroad would be a vast understatement. Even fellow Republicans are uncomfortable with the extreme position taken by the president, one that totally defies well-established science. A number have openly broken from Trump in response to his decision to withdraw from the historic Paris agreement, including the governors of Massachusetts and Vermont,  who have joined the US Climate Alliance. Twelve states plus Puerto Rico, representing over 100 million Americans and one-third of the US GDP, have now formally joined the alliance, with ten other states expressing support. Altogether, those states represent 40% of the total US greenhouse gas emissions and one-third of US GDP.

Supporters of the withdrawal, are not questioning the science—in fact, they are not even talking about it. They are focused entirely on what they say the costs of compliance will be, with no mention of the cost of non-compliance. So how do we move forward on the policy front, with a bottom line-first, nothing-else-matters approach that only looks at one side of the balance sheet? Most attention has been focused on efforts to circumvent the president’s position which, as noted above, is substantial. But can anything be done at the Federal policy level?

It’s well known that after Trump is finished attempting to dismantle the health care system, his next target will be tax reform. Could there be an opening there?

A new proposal, born of conservative roots, called “clean tax cuts,” (CTC) just might have a chance. The proposal is the brain child of the Grace Richardson Fund, which seeks, “to spearhead new free market policy solutions to critical issues stuck in partisan gridlock.”

The key points to the proposal, which are spelled out here, are essentially a return of Reagan-style, supply-side tax cuts, only applied selectively to “all clean solutions.” The rationale behind it being, “if you want something more, tax it less.” The plan, which is described as “all carrot, no stick,” could be seen as a carbon tax turned on its head. Instead of punishing carbon usage, it rewards movement away from carbon. They claim it unites the interests of left and right: “ecology + tax cuts = clean capitalism.”

G20 Groups Condemn Trump Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Yesterday, the chairs of the G20 climate and energy taskforces released a joint statement regarding the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The statement called the action “shortsighted and irresponsible.”

The letter was written in anticipation of the G20 summit which is scheduled to take place next month in Hamburg. There are already tensions rising between some of the other G20 members, over how confrontational they want to be with the US at that meeting. Some, like German chancellor Angela Merkel, want to feature climate as a central issue, while others like Canadian President Justin Trudeau, want to focus more on those things that can be agreed upon.

In the statement’s own words, “This decision not only ignores the reality of climate change and the opportunities of an international framework for the necessary transformation but also undermines the standing of the United States as a reliable partner in solving global problems. Ignoring the threat posed by climate change endangers a sustainable future for today’s youth and coming generations. Today’s challenges are global in nature and require coordinated solutions and international cooperation. We need globally agreed upon targets and frameworks – like the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to transform huge challenges into opportunities and to create a perspective for innovation, decent jobs, and a vivid civil society.”

The authors ask for the remaining 19 members of the G20, to remain committed. The document was signed by the B20 Energy, Climate and Resource Efficiency (ECRE) Taskforce leaders; the C20 Sustainability (Energy and Climate) Working Group leaders; the leaders of the L20, which represents the interests of workers; the T20 Climate Policy and Finance Task Force leaders; the leaders of the W20, which  is the official G20 dialogue focusing on women’s economic empowerment; leaders of the Y20, the official Youth Dialogue of the G20; and the leaders of the F20, the new G20 platform of foundations.

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