Yes, a carbon tax would work.

See British Columbia’s experiences as a case in point.

That Plumer piece also links to a semi-old Ezra post, which explains perfectly why conservatives should leap at the opportunity to back this. It’s an obvious double-win:

Martin Feldstein, who was the top economist in Ronald Reagan’s administration, proposed a carbon tax in the Wall Street Journal back in 1992. When the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, had to submit a deficit-reduction plan as part of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2011 Fiscal Summit Solutions Initiative, the four scholars in charge of the project included a $26-per-ton carbon tax in order “to address environmental concerns in a more market‐friendly manner.” Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard economist who advises Mitt Romney’s campaign team, has written that there is “broad consensus” among wonks for a global carbon tax.

Bob Inglis, a South Carolina Republican who lost a 2010 primary challenge, is crisscrossing the country trying to build support for the idea. “From a conservative perspective,” he told me, “this is a fabulous opportunity to reduce taxes on something you want more of, which is income, and to put a tax on something you want less of, which is harmful emissions.”

But Ezra called Norquist at the end, and he clarified that the GOP opposes it. Because a carbon tax would be a new tax, and all taxes are intrinsically unconservative and bad.


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