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U.S. Carbon Taxes Are Facing New Troubles On The Left

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Axios

Carbon taxes are facing new troubles on the left even as the idea is beginning to slowly inch from the political wilderness on the right.

Why it matters: The posture of ascendant progressives is another reason why it’s unclear if carbon taxes will ever emerge as a central federal climate policy. It’s a stark contrast from a decade ago, when Democrats put a different pricing method — a cap-and-trade plan — at the center of the climate bill that passed the House but collapsed in the Senate.

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Where it stands: For economists who believe pricing should play a major role in stemming emissions, it’s a game of whack-a-mole. Consider…

  • Americans for Carbon Dividends — a group aligned with GOP elder statesmen and backed by major oil companies — is lobbying for a carbon tax that would nix key emissions regulations in return.
  • And, a very small bipartisan group of House members has formed around a CO2 tax proposal as well and plans to revive it this year.

Yes, but: On the left, activists working with House progressives led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have signaled that while they see a role for pricing in a sweeping Green New Deal (GND), it’s far from the tip of their spear. Data for Progress’ Greg Carlock tells Axios…

A carbon price should not be the centerpiece of legislation, it should be about spending and regulations to get the economy on an ambitious decarbonization pathway. … Carbon prices and tax may have a role, but more to change market incentives and break up concentrations of wealth and income.”

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