Economists overwhelmingly recommend a price on carbon as a way to control the risk of climatic disruption. A fee on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions would shift the relative prices of different sources of energy and other goods by an amount that depends on how damaging they are to the earth’s climate. A well-designed, economy-wide approach could help the United States achieve its emissions targets under the Paris Accord, lower conventional air pollutants, supplant more costly and less effective regulation, incentivize investment and innovation, and obviate a proliferation of disparate state-level measures. It could also help pay for infrastructure investments, rebates to households, deficit reduction, and other priorities.
Lawmakers from both parties are increasingly proposing new legislation with a price on carbon at its center. This event showcased the policy ideas of two such climate thought leaders in Congress, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), to explore the potential for common ground on the polarized but critical issue of reducing the risk of dangerous climatic disruption. We discussed such questions as how best to use the revenue from a carbon price, how to protect emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries, and how to build enduring bipartisan support for climate action.