A group of prominent Republicans and business leaders pitched a tax on carbon dioxide to top White House aides Wednesday, selling the plan as an economic win that could drive job growth and yield environmental dividends too.
Former Secretary of State James Baker and other members of the new “Climate Leadership Council” pressed the case in a 45-minute meeting in the Roosevelt Room that included President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior aide Kellyanne Conway.
“The signs were very encouraging,” Ted Halstead, who founded the council, said after the meeting. “Two weeks into this new administration, we have positioned our solution as the most promising climate solution — if they want to go there.”
Baker also met briefly with Vice President Mike Pence, as the old-guard Republicans try to persuade the Trump administration that a carbon tax imposed in exchange for abolishing a slew of environmental regulations is an insurance policy against the risks of climate change.
“We know we have an uphill slog to get Republicans interested in this,” Baker said before the White House meeting. But “a conservative, free-market approach is a very Republican way of approaching the problem.”
White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to comment on the idea.