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Recently some Republican political and business leaders in the United States seem to have had a change of heart in regard to climate change. They have formed the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), a conservative international policy institute, to advocate for what they refer to as a Carbon Dividend (Carbon Tax & Dividend) in the United States to reduce global CO2 emissions. In their publication, “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends," they give a justification for their plan, provide an overview of how it would work, and its benefits.
In brief, the CLC acknowledges in their document that climate change is real and represents a threat to “global stability,” which I take to be corporate-speak for human existential threat. This a major step in the right direction for the corporate members of the organization, many of which are oil companies, including Exxon (now ExxonMobile) that knew about climate change almost forty years ago and refused to acknowledge this fact publicly and actively promoted climate misinformation. Well, those days are over. “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends” is an admission of defeat and an attempt to control the message and co-opt climate change policy.
The world has long since acknowledged the reality of climate change and is working toward solutions, one of which is a carbon tax. If the Republican leadership doesn’t get on board their party will be left behind, or leave them behind. Many nations in Europe and worldwide have already implemented a carbon tax in one form or another, and the United States is one of the few large industrialized nations that has not. Also, the majority of rank and file Republicans understand that climate change is real, and like their Democratic counterparts, want something done about it. The corporate attempt to create a pollution market via cap and trade has proven to be a miserable failure, if not an outright scam to continue business as usual a little longer. People want real and effective solutions to the problem. This means making polluters pay, plain and simple.