In this week’s segment of Showtime’s miniseries Years of Living Dangerously, Republican former congressman Bob Inglis attempts to convince fellow Republicans to support laws addressing global warming. Importantly, although this did not make it into the current segment, Inglis has acknowledged several iron-clad preconditions must be met before Congress should consider implementing his preferred tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
Last June, Inglis and I discussed his carbon tax proposal during a debate sponsored by the R Street Institute. Video of the entire debate is available here, and I wrote a summary of our main points of agreement in a Forbes.com article available here.
Among the prerequisites for a carbon tax agreed to by Inglis, EPA and other federal agencies must scrap all existing and planned restrictions and discouragements on carbon dioxide emissions, government must eliminate all subsidies for renewable power, carbon tax revenues must be offset by across-the-board tax reductions rather than “targeted” tax cuts to benefit special interests or political agendas, and a similar environmental tax must be placed on non-carbon energy sources to account for wind-turbine bird kills, habitat disruption from large wind and solar farms, etc.
For various reasons that I describe in the debate and in my Forbes.com article, these necessary preconditions agreed to by Inglis simply will never happen. The renewable power lobby and liberal legislators would never agree to even one of these preconditions, let alone all of them. This is a crucial point. Without all of these preconditions, Inglis acknowledges he can no longer support a carbon tax.
Maybe Republicans/conservatives are in agreement after all.
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