WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of elder Republican statesmen, including three former Cabinet members, said they will meet with White House officials on Wednesday to propose a $40 per ton tax on carbon emissions to fend off global climate change.
The proposal echoes past attempts by parts of the Republican Party to address climate change but could be a non-starter.
Republican President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the existence of climate change and vowed during his campaign for the presidency to pull the United States out of a global pact to fight it.
“Mounting evidence of climate change is growing too strong to ignore,” the group said in an opinion piece published by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal late on Tuesday.
“Now that the Republican Party controls the White House, both chambers of Congress and a majority of state legislatures, it has the opportunity and responsibility to promote a climate plan that showcases the full power of enduring conservative convictions,” they said.
An overwhelming majority of scientists believe that burning fossil fuels is driving global climate change, triggering sea level rise and more frequent powerful storms.
The carbon tax proposal was co-authored by James Baker, secretary of state during the administration of George H. W. Bush; Henry Paulson, Treasury secretary under George W. Bush; George Shultz, secretary of state under Ronald Reagan; and several others.
The group said in a press release they would meet with “senior White House officials in two separate meetings” on Wednesday to present their proposal.
Their plan calls for a $40 per ton carbon tax that rises over time, in which all of the revenues are returned to Americans in the form of quarterly dividends administered by the Social Security Administration.
The plan would also call for “significant regulatory rollback” of former Democratic President Barack Obama’s climate initiatives, including the repeal of his Clean Power Plan aimed at curbing carbon output from states.
A White House official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The full plan is at www.clcouncil.org/
Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Frances Kerry