Here’s what we learned in 2021 about tackling climate change: A partisan approach will never work.
Democrats have tried and failed to advance their climate agenda without broad support. While they may eventually revive and pass the ‘Build Better’ legislation this year, it does not offer enough free market solutions and will not be able to sufficiently reduce emissions without costly and damaging government regulation.
This lack of a united vision and broad political support almost guarantees a future path to more regulation as Democrats attempt to achieve their climate ambitions through other means. Regulation will only complicate the business environment and engender more mistrust between the parties around this issue. And all because the Democrats have decided to go it alone.
It is now clearer than ever that we must move beyond partisanship to advance an effective national solution. Utah’s economy and way of life depend on it. Between worsening winter inversions and summers plagued by triple-digit heat and smoke from forest fires, our future as a great place to live, work and recharge is in danger.
The good news is that we have a market-based solution: an economy-wide carbon charge. A carbon levy would reduce emissions faster than any other policy under consideration without adding a dime to the federal deficit. At the same time, it provides a stable environment for companies while sending them a constant signal to innovate. The people of Utah – and all Americans – can certainly support a policy that encourages breakthroughs by giving the fuels and technologies of the future a fair market value.
We don’t need to wait for this policy just because inflation is on the rise. Places with a price or charge for carbon, like Canada and the UK, have not experienced inflation as a result, recent research shows. In fact, a carbon levy has been found to have a slight deflationary effect, as consumers and businesses have replaced high carbon products with low carbon products.
Given our economic challenges, an economy-wide carbon levy might be exactly what the doctor ordered. America’s industries are some of the cleanest in the world, but we’re keeping the door wide open for imports from polluting markets like China. This is tantamount to punishing American manufacturers for all the investments they have made to reduce emissions.
We can turn the situation around by applying a similar carbon price to imports at the border. This would allow us to develop our industries and reduce imports from highly polluting markets like China. It would also force other major economies to do their part to tackle the problem of climate change. As Utah Senator Mitt Romney recently said, “We can negotiate with the Chinese, or we can just have a border adjustment tax that recognizes they pollute the air a lot more. “
Thanks to all these advantages, the dynamics of carbon pricing are strengthening like never before. All we need is a leader – or a group of leaders – who are ready to seize the opportunity, cross party lines, and unite America behind this common sense solution. .
It may seem like a difficult task, but it is absolutely within our grasp, and sooner than you might think. Our county has already accomplished the impossible when leaders put politics aside to do what is right for the country. This is what the clean air climate challenge demands today, and it is what we can achieve when we think about it.
In many ways, Utah is leading the way. Rep. John Curtis deserves a lot of credit for helping to steer his GOP colleagues towards meaningful solutions. Meanwhile, few have spoken with as much credibility as Romney about the power of a carbon levy and border carbon adjustment to spur breakthroughs and put pressure on china to reduce emissions.
As we turn the page on a disappointing climate year, let’s work for a cleaner future. We now clearly know that the parties must work together for an effective national solution – and we have the solution. All we need is someone to pick it up and run with it.
Bill Rappleye is President and CEO of the Draper Region Chamber of Commerce