AT CONSERVATIVE HOOVER INSTITUTE (STANFORD U.) REPUBLICAN SUPPORT FOR CARBON TAX

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27 march 2018


The Daily 202: How a conservative think tank is trying to tackle climate change


George Shultz, who was secretary of state under Ronald Reagan, now supports a carbon tax to address climate change.

By James Hohmann, With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, The Washington Post, March 27

THE BIG IDEA:

PALO ALTO, Calif. — While President Trump is systematically rolling back his predecessor’s efforts to combat climate change, the conservative Hoover Institution is trying to address the reality of rising temperatures, higher sea levels and more extreme weather.

The center-right think tank, which is affiliated with Stanford University and home to GOP grandees like Condoleezza Rice, is pursuing a host of initiatives that treat climate change as a pressing national security challenge and a market failure that requires government intervention.

It’s a striking contrast to Washington, where the Paris accord has been abandoned, skeptics of established science hold some of the most important jobs in government and congressional Republicans long ago eschewed promises to seriously confront environmental disruption.

But here, the spirit of innovation that defines Silicon Valley trumps the ideological rigidity that reigns in the capital.

George Shultz, who served as Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, embraces the idea of a carbon tax. He says this would free up private firms to find the most efficient ways to cut emissions. The 97-year-old chairs an energy policy task force at Hoover that, among other solutions, advocates for expanding nuclear power. “Let’s take out an insurance policy to protect against the risk of climate change,” Shultz said.

Gary Roughead, the former chief of naval operations, studies the consequences of global warming in the Arctic. This is causing polar ice caps to melt and, for all intents and purposes, opening a new ocean. That means trade routes will soon exist that are now blocked by ice. The retired admiral, one of only two people to ever command both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, believes the U.S. must prepare for and capitalize on this. That will require checking Russia’s expansionary push in the northern sea lanes.

James Mattis, who spent almost four years at Hoover between retiring from the Marines and leaving to becoming secretary of defense, has also described climate change as a national security threat, citing the rising sea levels and desertification. Lake Chad, for example, has shrunk by about 90 percent since 1990, causing the instability that fueled the rise of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

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