Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why Won't Clinton Support a Carbon Tax? Trump.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton speaking at the 2009 Copenhagen, Denmark, climate change conference. Clinton has come out strong on climate change but has not committed to enacting a carbon tax or otherwise putting a price on carbon. (Photo Credit: AP Images) Click to Enlarge.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton isn't talking about one of the biggest policies on climate change, reinforcing what some say is a division among Democrats about how to achieve great cuts to carbon dioxide emissions in almost every facet of our powered life.

The policy is a carbon price.  The party's disagreements over promoting one or supporting executive orders to address rising temperatures could be illuminated as the Democratic platform is hammered out over the next five weeks, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's opponent for the nomination, promising to prioritize policies like a carbon tax.

Pricing carbon has been a cornerstone of the climate solution since at least 2003, when Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman, the now-retired independent from Connecticut, introduced a bill to cap national emissions.

The policy has been beaten legislatively at least three times.  But many climate advocates and economists say it's still the key to cutting enough emissions to avoid damaging warming around the globe.  It could be needed in 10 years or earlier, many say.

"I do think it's the indispensable tool," said Nat Keohane, a former climate adviser to President Obama who is now a vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund.

A carbon price is omnipresent in climate circles.  Early goals to cut carbon might be met without it, like Obama's pledge in the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.  But after that, many experts assume some kind of price on emissions will be used to eliminate all but the most difficult sources.  The effort would whittle down U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to just 20 percent of what they were in 2005 by 2050.

You won't find Clinton talking about that this year.  She withstood Sanders' criticisms about not supporting a carbon tax throughout the spring primary contests in part because promoting that policy could expose her to politically damaging attacks by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, observers say.  Clinton has supported carbon pricing in the past.

Read more at Why Won't Clinton Support a Carbon Tax?  Trump.

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