How Republicans Could Get Behind Climate Change

Jeremy Deaton, writing in Think Progress, examines whether political convergence on climate change is possible.

“’A lot of the narrative [put forward by environmentalists] plays out as one of costs, punishment and constraints,’ said Lynn Scarlett, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior under George W. Bush … ‘When you get to solutions that sort of transcend what has become kind of a symbolic umbrella, you start to see common ground.’”

“The social science largely supports this. If conservatives and liberals differ on climate change, it’s because they disagree about the role of government in the market.”

“There are, however, a limited number of policies that find support on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives may balk at what they see as federally-imposed limits on industry, like the Clean Power Plan, but they believe in the promise of American innovation. So even while climate change remains contentious, clean energy does not.”

“Scarlett believes lawmakers should prioritize renewable energy. Invest in research and development. Modernize the electric grid.”

“If there is hope for a grand climate bargain, Scarlett believes it will be found in tax reform. Republicans have long aimed to lower the corporate income tax. Scarlett says conservatives and libertarians may welcome a revenue-neutral carbon tax if the proceeds are used to offset a reduction in the corporate tax rate.”

The impact of a carbon fee.


  1. Considering that Texas overtook California in 2006 as the wind energy capital of the US, I think Republicans often understand quite well that renewable energy can be very profitable. Just don’t feed them any of that “clean” stuff at the same time.

    After all, these same Republicans are busily insisting that the “Liberal War on Coal” is what has caused its recent market declines, despite the fact that it has been that free market they are always so fond of touting which has done the most to displace coal in favor of the much cheaper, far more efficient (and only incidentally!) cleaner natural gas.

    Sigh. I’m so goddamn tired of having to pussyfoot around an entire party that is always talking out of both sides of their mouths.

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