Episode 5: The Conservative Case for Carbon Pricing

Is carbon pricing a fundamentally conservative idea? What's the future of climate action from the Republican Party?

Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

In today’s episode, Casey, Maria, and Naomi speak with conservative climate activists about why they support carbon pricing policy.

We talk to former Congressman Bob Inglis (RepublicEN), Kiera O'Brien (Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends), former Congressman Carlos Curbelo, and Jerry Taylor (Niskanen Center).

Notable quotes:

On why carbon pricing is a fundamentally conservative idea:

Bob Inglis:  I think that the reason that it's so conservative to price the harm from carbon pollution, from burning fossil fuels is all about accountability. Because conservatives, particularly conservatives of faith, understand that it's really important to have accountability -- that blessings flow from accountability. Havoc results from the lack of accountability, climate change is that havoc…

Dr. Milton Friedman would be proud to say if he were still alive, just tax it, just tax the negative effects of carbon pollution, build it into the prices of products and then watch the free enterprise system deliver innovation faster than government regulations or mandates or federal tax incentives could ever imagine.

Kiera O’Brien: As a conservative, I never really had a policy that I felt I could support that was consistent with both my principles and my care for the environment.

But then learning about carbon pricing, it became very clear that this was the policy for me.

Could carbon pricing harm the U.S. economy?

Bob Inglis: I think we're going to be uniquely competitive because America is less energy intensive than say China. We got an ACE in the hole here. So we're actually going to be favored in a priced environment.

Carlos Curbelo: If you have a dividend component, which almost every carbon pricing bill I've seen has a dividend component, you can actually deliver relief for those families. Power bills will go up in a lot of parts of the country, but the dividend that you can deliver to those families is going to more than make up for that difference and they will be better off, and we can show that in black and white, on paper.

Will both sides ever come to an agreement on climate action?

Jerry Taylor: I think sometimes the vocabulary and the framing is different, but there's not a, there's no conservative case for saving the planet or a liberal case for saving the planet from potential destruction. There's simply a case for saving the planet from, from destruction, and nobody gains from watching the planet burn to a crisp.

Further reading on today’s episode: