A cadre of Republican former officials are breaking with their Capitol Hill colleagues to push for action on climate change.
Henry Paulson, who was President George W. Bush’s Treasury secretary, is the latest, writing in a The New York Times opinion piece Sunday to warn of a looming “climate bubble” that poses “enormous risks.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government, and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage,” he writes.
Paulson had a front-row seat for the bursting of the credit bubble that wreaked havoc on the economy in 2008, noting, “It’s fair to say that I know a little bit about risk.” This time he has a proposal to lessen the danger of the “climate bubble”: A carbon tax.
Expect to hear more from Paulson on Tuesday when he, ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer — who have a joint initiative called Risky Business — release a report on the economic perils of climate change.
Paulson is part of a boomlet of GOP former officials breaking publicly with Capitol Hill Republicans on climate change.
Last week, four former EPA chiefs who served under Republican presidents testified before a Senate committee on the need to address climate change. Democrats, who called the the four as witnesses, are trying to politically isolate congressional Republicans who are skeptical of climate science and oppose regulation or market-based proposals such as cap-and-trade or taxes.
And for the past couple of years, GOP former Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina has been barnstorming the campus and newspaper editorial board circuit. He’s selling a “revenue neutral” carbon tax, which means he wants to pair fees on carbon emissions with equivalent cuts in personal tax rates.
But among Capitol Hill Republicans, nobody is buying.
Opposition to carbon regulations or carbon pricing is, if anything, more powerful than it was a few years ago, when Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham negotiated a climate proposal with then-Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman (although Graham ultimately abandoned the talks). Republican Sen. John McCain coauthored cap-and-trade bills several times during the 2000s, but he’s no longer pushing the idea.
It’s too early to say whether more GOP ex-officials will speak up, or whether they could have any sway on Capitol Hill. Lately, Republicans are indeed becoming more engaged on climate change, but not in the way that activists might hope. Instead, they’re launching fresh efforts to scuttle newly proposed EPA regulations, alleging that the rules would hurt the economy. It’s not the kind of opposition that Senate hearings or New York Times op-eds will undo anytime soon.
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Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.