CNN: The blue-collar climate plan

February 9, 2017

Led by a group of former high-ranking GOP officials, a new proposal, outlined in a paper called "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends", calls for a national carbon tax.

CNN interviewed Climate Center Executive Director Vicki Arroyo to ask whether such a tax could curb carbon pollution, and whether this proposal advances the climate change discussion.

"A price signal is essential and it definitely will do the things the white paper says in terms of unleashing investment in cleaner energy and reducing dependence on foreign oil," said Arroyo. "That all is really critical."

Some climate policy experts would rather see the dividends from the tax be spent on infrastructure projects that go further toward reducing emissions. And the idea of repealing some climate regulations -- like energy efficiency standards, which help families save money -- makes little sense to Arroyo.

Of course, none of these details matter if neither the White House nor Congress takes up the idea.

"My crystal ball broke back in November and it keeps breaking every week now in terms of what might happen next," Arroyo told CNN. "But I would be quite surprised" if the Trump administration ran with this policy proposal, she said.

Still, CNN reports, this is a critical moment in climate change policy. Trump is threatening to send the US back into the fossil fuel era -- and that's happening at exactly the moment China and others are making massive investments in renewable energy. World leaders are trying to figure out how to meet the targets they set as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change -- and whether that agreement will continue to exist in the modern political climate.

"This kind of conservation is really essential at this particular moment," Arroyo said. "This is the major challenge of our time -- and at least they're putting forth a proposal."

Read the story here.