Climate policy needs Republican commitment. Conservation and stewardship of the natural environment are core Republican values, but for too long we’ve left these matters to others. We all care about clean air and clean water. We all care about leaving the earth better than we have found it. But most of the suggestions we hear from Washington are about spending, regulation, top-down mandates, and increasing government power. These are not the best ways to reduce emissions or protect our environment.
We haven’t heard enough about American innovation and leadership. We haven’t heard enough about pro-growth market-based policies. Republicans need to talk about solutions based on these principles. We need to do more than just oppose bad ideas. We must offer good, effective and consistent with our values. Policies will be better if they are based on conservative principles of accountability, transparency, free markets and limited government. Republican involvement can ensure that these principles are incorporated into legislation.
Emissions can be reduced either through regulations, incentives or price signals. Regulations are heavy and hamper growth. They weigh on the economy, cost Americans jobs and end up exporting our emissions to other countries. Incentives can work, but they let the government pick winners and losers, and too often end up becoming permanent rights. We believe that the best way to reduce emissions is to send a price signal to the private sector, which allows competition and innovation to find the solutions.
We support a carbon dividend approach that charges a fee on carbon emissions and returns all the money back to the American people in the form of dividend checks. This approach does not require severe government oversight. The royalty spurs markets to adopt cleaner technologies, while the dividend protects families from the effects of rising energy prices. Most families should be able to get by financially and they will be rewarded for the emission reductions as they wish. All will benefit from the cleaner air that will result from these policies.
It’s time to unload the US economy by removing regulations that will no longer be needed due to the price signal. We don’t need to tell people what kind of light bulbs to use or what kind of car to drive. They can make these decisions themselves once the cost of pollution is built into the price of the products. People will make better decisions than government ever could, and American companies will stay at the forefront of innovation while developing new technologies.
The carbon dividends will also put US manufacturers on an equal footing with the rest of the world by applying the carbon levy to products imported from countries that are not doing their part to reduce emissions. US manufacturing is some of the cleanest in the world, but at the moment it does not derive any competitive advantage from it, as our regulations force manufacturers to leave the country. A carbon adjustment at the border will reward environmental stewardship and position our manufacturers to grow and create jobs without giving other countries a free pass to pollute. We must continue to lead the world by creating better policies.
Environmental stewardship is a core value for young voters, including young Republicans. The carbon dividend plan has won support from Republicans at Utah College and young Republicans from Utah. Carbon pricing is supported by large trading groups such as the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the American Petroleum Institute.
They know that a predictable carbon charge is better than arbitrary regulations that come and go between administrations. The royalty and dividend plans also enjoy the support of many environmental groups, who see them as an effective way to reduce emissions.
The rapid fall in prices means that clean technologies are the future of energy – and the next decade will be a time of rapid progress. American innovation can lead the way by creating technologies that we can export around the world. If we keep putting bad policies in place, America can see other countries take the lead and gain market share. An economy-wide, technologically neutral carbon price is the most effective way to accelerate this innovation.
Utah has a long tradition of finding common ground and practical solutions to difficult problems, and making wise financial choices that protect our economy. We also value the stewardship of our natural resources for future generations. It’s time for us to rise to the challenge and deliver solutions that drive growth and reduce emissions without giving Washington more power.
Senator Jacob Anderegg (Lehi, SD13), Representative Kera Birkeland (Morgan, HD53), 2020 gubernatorial candidate Jeff Burningham (Provo), Senator Curt Bramble (Provo, SD16), Senator Kirk Cullimore (Sandy, SD9), Former Rep. Becky Edwards (North Salt Lake, HD20), Rep. Joel Ferry (Brigham City, HD1), Former Rep. Brian Greene (Pleasant Grove, HD57), Rep. Craig Hall (West Valley City, HD33) ), Rep. Steve Handy (Layton, HD16), Former Rep. Fred Hunsaker (Logan, HD4), Rep. Dan Johnson (Logan, HD4), Sen. John Johnson (Ogden, SD19), 2016 Governor Candidate Jonathan Johnson (Holladay ), representing Marsha Judkins (Provo, HD61), representing Robert Spendlove (Sandy, HD49), representing Jeff Stenquist (Draper, HD51), representing Jordan Teuscher (South Jordan, HD42), representing Steve Waldrip (Eden, HD8), representative. Ray Ward (Bountiful, HD19), representing Ryan Wilcox (Ogden, HD7), former Representative and Agriculture Commissioner Logan Wilde (Croydon, HD53), representing Mike Winder (West Valley City, HD30), Chris Wilson (Logan, SD25 ), representative Melissa G. Ballard (North Salt Lake, HD 20)