Climate Week En Review, June 7, 2019
Happy Friday, EcoRight! We are already looking forward to next week, when several of our own from across the country will be in DC. Can you say EcoRight Family Reunion? In the meantime, this week's news...
This week's must listen: Bob Inglis was in Idaho this week, speaking at Boys State and appearing on local radio, KIDO's Kevin Miller in the Morning. "We can lead the world to solutions," he says in this segment, where he explains how conservatives can solve climate change.
And the Medal of Freedom goes to...: Economist and ardent carbon tax advocate Art Laffer will receive the the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award a citizen can get, President Donald Trump announced last week. "If you're going to handle global warming, you can do it in such a way that actually does not hurt the economy," Laffer, once a member of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board, says in Change What We Tax, which also happens to feature our own Bob Inglis. "A carbon tax would be less damaging dollar for dollar than a progressive income tax."
Our favorite anecdote that Bob likes to share: "Art Laffer, Reagan's economics adviser, is a neighbor of Al Gore in Nashville, Tennessee. I know that Art went over to Al's house and they talked it through and came to the conclusion that a revenue-neutral, border-adjustable carbon tax works for both of them. For very different reasons! Art because he desperately wants to untax income — and put a tax on anything else. "CO2 will do," he says. And Al, because he desperately wants to reduce emissions. I tell many conservative audiences that Al Gore and Art Laffer agree! Isn't it possible, therefore, that we could bring America together and lead the world to a solution? Because it really does work for both progressives and conservatives, as long as we're focused on solving the problem."
Sounds right to us! The EcoRight offers congratulations to Art Laffer!
Not a two-way street (climate jester): It's been ages since we've had a climate jester, so this week's is a doozy. "I believe that there's a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways," President Donald Trump said in an interview on "Good Morning Britain" that aired on Wednesday. "Don't forget it used to be called global warming. That wasn't working. Then it was called climate change. Now it's actually called extreme weather, because with extreme weather, you can't miss." In a meeting with Prince Charles, he called America's climate "clean." #smh
Downward spiral: In 2013, Rep. Steve Scalise from Louisiana introduced an anti-carbon tax resolution that earned 155 co-sponsors. While the measure did not get a vote, in 2016 the resolution passed 237-163, but with only 82 cosponsors. Because resolutions are non-binding and only last the duration of a Congressional session (two years), in 2018, Scalise went for it again. The 2018 version passed 229-180, but the number of co-sponsors was down to 48. Cue 2019 and the resolution (unlikely to see a vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber) is down to 22 co-sponsors.
"Many Republicans have turned the corner and are dropping closed-minded attitudes in the face of serious environmental challenges," explains former Florida
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who supports a carbon tax. "Republicans are now focused on market-based solutions and smart investments that will stop saddling future generations with an unsustainable environmental debt. This resolution is a thing of the past." The trend line would seem to indicate Curbelo is right. 🙌
Top global threat: On Wednesday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence convened a hearing to examine the national security implications of climate change.
"Climate change effects could undermine important international systems on which the U.S. is critically dependent, such as trade routes, food and energy supplies, the global economy, and domestic stability abroad," Rod Schoonover, a State Department intelligence officer, told members of the House Intelligence Committee. "Most countries, if not all, are already unable to fully respond to the risks posed by climate-linked hazards under present conditions. "I'd be hard pressed to say that [climate change] is not in the top two or three [global threats]," he added.
"Scientists tell us that the Arctic is warming at rates more than twice as fast as the rest of the earth,"
Peter Kiemel, Counselor for the National Intelligence Council said, noting that "these conditions would drastically shorten" maritime routes. "As a result...the Arctic is emerging as a new domain of strategic competition." In written testimony, he outlined the risk and conditions climate change is likely to exacerbate, including the potential for political and economic unrest in some countries; social and political tensions in both partner nations and elsewhere; risks to human and animal health; and disruptive human migration.
Interested in more? Watch this clip from the hearing.
Field trip to the Arctic Circle
"Climate change is real, the impacts are happening, and we're looking at ways to address it," according to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chair and staunch coal advocate Sen. John Barrasso, who recently returned from an Arctic field trip planned by his counterpart on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Alaska's Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The bipartisan group of five senators also included Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, Joe Manchin from West Virginia, and Maria Cantwell from Washington.
"I've been trying to grow the awareness of Arctic issues for years," Murkowski told reporters. "So it's one of those things that when you've got a recess, this is an opportunity to really show what's going on with the opportunities, what the challenges are." The trip was originally planned for January, but was delayed. "It's beautiful there in the winter," she noted.
Too good to be true? Listen, we aren't much for the rumor mill and we're pretty sure that since we don't get nice things, this tweet from E&E Reporter Nick Sobczyk is too good to be true.
. @SenatorRomney says he's considering cosponsoring a carbon tax bill with @ChrisCoons:
"Taxes have never been my intent, but we'll see what he has to say. I would very much like to see us reduce our carbon emissions globally, and we'll see if this might help."
— Nick Sobczyk (@nick_sobczyk) June 5, 2019
A follow up tweet suggests meetings are happening.
Also, @mkmatthews and I saw Romney walking into a meeting with Coons and some corporate reps pushing a carbon tax last month https://t.co/H57vvAhJ5r
— Nick Sobczyk (@nick_sobczyk) June 5, 2019
That's it from us! Wishing you a joy-filled weekend. And for our wildest EcoRight dreams to come true.