WBEZ | cap and trade http://www.wbez.org/tags/cap-and-trade Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Do conservatives have the answer to climate change? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-01/do-conservatives-have-answer-climate-change-105206 <p><p><a href="http://isen.northwestern.edu/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bob-inglis-at-Northwestern-by-Jeff-Henderson.jpg" title="Former Congressman Bob Inglis addresses students at Northwestern University. (ISEN/Jeff Henderson)" /></a></p><div class="image-insert-image "><p>To hear former Republican&nbsp;Congressman Bob Inglis tell it, the Right Wing aversion to climate change policy may as well be a medical condition.</p><p>&ldquo;When you mention &lsquo;carbon,&rsquo; conservatives break out in hives,&rdquo; he jokes, &ldquo;and when you say &lsquo;tax,&rsquo; they go into anaphylactic shock.&rdquo;</p><p>He says this not mockingly, but by way of explanation. Despite losing his seat in South Carolina&rsquo;s deeply conservative 4<sup>th</sup> Congressional District in 2010, Inglis has continued <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/09/26/161824667/new-groups-argue-a-conservative-take-on-climate-change">his crusade to rally conservatives</a> around &ldquo;free-market&rdquo; solutions to climate change. His <a href="http://energyandenterprise.com/">Energy and Enterprise Initiative</a> at George Mason University promoted the message during a presidential campaign in which even the Democratic Party candidate tiptoed around the issue.</p><p>&ldquo;Conservatives have been running from this issue and failing the country,&rdquo; he said Tuesday at Northwestern University&#39;s Kellogg School of Management. &ldquo;But Republicans and conservatives have the answer to this.&rdquo;</p><p>His solution, first crystallized as the <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr2380">Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act of 2009</a>, is to wipe away all federal energy subsidies and hold energy companies accountable for all the hidden costs of their product. That means fossil fuel companies would pay for their carbon emissions, and coal plants would pay for the detrimental health effects of their pollution. Imported goods would pay a carbon tax equivalent to their American counterparts, unless the importing country could prove its carbon footprint was low.</p><p>What makes that politically palatable under Inglis&#39; plan is that the new revenue it generated by essentially taxing carbon would not go to pad deficits in other governmental programs. Instead the plan would cut taxes elsewhere &mdash; social security contributions, income taxes, or corporate tax rates, for example &mdash; in a revenue-neutral swap called <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/business/pigovian-taxes-may-offer-economic-hope.html?partner=rss&amp;emc=rss&amp;_r=2&amp;">a Pigouvian tax</a>.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what Inglis calls &ldquo;a muscular free enterprise solution,&rdquo; as opposed to the &ldquo;fickle tax incentives&rdquo; that typically pass for market-based policies. His idea has the support of former Reagan economic advisor Art Laffer.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not clear what effect his plan would have on the renewable energy industries. The markets for solar and wind power have exploded in recent years, fueled in part by the production and investment tax credits which have subsidized them since the early 1990s. The fight to renew these lifelines flares up periodically, <a href="http://cleantechnica.com/2013/01/02/wind-production-tax-credit-saved-for-one-year/">eliciting sighs of relief</a> when they are extended time and again. The impact of axing these subsidies, as Inglis&#39; plan calls for, might be offset by the comparative advantage clean technologies would enjoy over polluting fossil fuels. It depends on how the carbon price would be calculated. Electricity from renewable sources is cheaper than it has ever been, with wind nearly as cheap as natural gas in some markets.</p><p>Despite some high-profile endorsements, no one in Congress has picked up Inglis&#39; bill. Proponents of a tax on carbon emissions saw a window for action <a href="http://climatedesk.org/2013/01/climate-change-moves-to-forefront-in-obamas-second-inaugural-address/">after President Barack Obama&#39;s second inaugural address</a>, but the White House <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/23/white-house-rules-out-carbon-tax/">ruled out</a> that option. <a href="http://conservativesforacarbontax.com/">Murmurs of a shift</a> on the issue within the Republican party may give his plan some hope, but Inglis&#39; political career is a testament to the partisan nature of the issue.</p><p>After a six-year stint in Congress during the 1990s, Inglis went to the private sector before launching a failed bid for Senate. He returned to Congress in 2005 with a focus on energy, seeing economic opportunities for his district, which counts Michelin, Boeing and General Electric among its major employers.</p><p>Voters in Inglis&#39; conservative Greenville-Spartanburg area stuck with him through 2006 and even 2008 &mdash; South Carolina&rsquo;s primaries occurred before the financial collapse &mdash; but in 2010 he was trounced by Trey Gowdy, who accused him of betraying his conservative roots.</p><p>Inglis had broken with conservative orthodoxy in a few instances &mdash;&nbsp;he voted for the bailout and against the troop surge in Iraq &mdash; but urging action on climate change was &ldquo;the real heresy,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I crossed the tribal boundary, and that treachery was unforgivable.&rdquo;</p><p>Tea Party voters tossed him out of office, despite his near-perfect ratings from conservative voting groups like the American Conservative Union, the Christian Coalition of America, and the National Rifle Association.</p><p>Inglis contends, however, that tackling climate change is ultimately about preserving opportunities for future generations &mdash; a basic conservative tenet.</p><p>&ldquo;Orthodoxies seem like they never change, but they really do,&rdquo; he says. &quot;They&rsquo;re fluid.&rdquo;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-01/do-conservatives-have-answer-climate-change-105206 Kinzinger’s victory could spark new debate over cap and trade http://www.wbez.org/story/cap-and-trade/kinzinger%E2%80%99s-victory-could-spark-new-debate-over-cap-and-trade <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-03/Adam Kinzinger 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama pushed hard for legislation that would have provided economic incentives to companies to reduce global warming pollution. <br /><br />Many Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives backed the measure in the summer of 2009, including 11th Congressional District freshman Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, of Crete, Ill.<br /><br />The cap and trade bill ultimately died once it reached the U.S. Senate, but Halvorson&rsquo;s support for it may have played a role in her defeat for re-election Tuesday night.<br /><br />&ldquo;The cap and trade legislation is dead,&rdquo; the 32-year-old Kinzinger said during his victory speech at a banquet hall in south suburban Frankfort.<br /><br />Kinzinger&rsquo;s victory helped Republicans take back Congress.<br /><br />The 11th District runs from the south suburbs to Blooington-Normal, to just east of the Quad Cities. The district has voted historically with Republicans, but voted in Halvorson two years ago following a scandal that involved longtime Congressman Jerry Weller.<br /><br />The former Air Force pilot and Bloomington native, Kinzinger said he viewed cap and trade as a tax on business, which could stifle job creation.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s in the private sector where jobs are created,&rdquo; Kinzinger said.<br /><br />Kinzinger said he does support the President&rsquo;s effort regarding energy police.<br /><br />&ldquo;The President says he supports nuclear, I support nuclear. He says he supports a long-term energy plan. I support it,&rdquo; Kinzinger said. &ldquo;But cap and trade was not the answer to that. Areas where we can find to work together, we ought to, but I&rsquo;m not going to flex on areas of budgets, spending and job creation.&rdquo;</p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cap-and-trade/kinzinger%E2%80%99s-victory-could-spark-new-debate-over-cap-and-trade