Flaws in the Carbon-Pricing Plan

By: U.S. Senator John Barrasso

Jan 24, 2020

Washington Post


To the Editor:

Regarding the Jan. 17 Friday Opinion essay by George P. Shultz and Ted Halstead, “The winning GOP climate answer: carbon pricing”:

Conservative solutions to address carbon dioxide emissions do exist. However, new taxes and higher consumer energy costs are neither winning nor workable.

Americans routinely reject the idea that carbon taxes are the answer to lowering emissions. Most recently, voters in Washington state rejected a ballot measure to establish an emissions tax. There’s good reason. The cost of new carbon taxes will always be passed to consumers in the form of higher electricity bills and gas prices. Taxpayers can expect little in return on that investment. The idea that Americans would get dividend checks from an insatiable federal government for collected carbon taxes is far-fetched. A carbon tax won’t reduce costs, and it won’t reduce regulation.

There’s no liberal support in Congress to reduce any environmental standards. A new carbon tax would be established on top of existing regulations. These layered rules would hamstring the economy.

For those willing to look beyond taxes, bipartisan agreement can be found. Expanding clean-energy sources such as nuclear power, further developing carbon-capture-and-sequestration technologies and building smarter infrastructure hold the key to reducing carbon emissions in a meaningful way.

John Barrasso


The writer, a Wyoming Republican, is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.