>> Tax hikes and climate action. Toxic notions for Republicans, but now up for discussion in President Trump's White House. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where Republican elder statesmen are meeting at the White House to pitch what they call a conservative plan to tackle climate change, an idea their party has shunned for years.
It's not clear whether they'll convince Trump to take action. After all, he has called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. But they could maybe convince other Republicans to at least take another look at the idea.>> Senior officials in three past Republican administrations, James Baker who was Ronald Reagan's chief of staff and George HW Bush's secretary of state, George Shultz who ran Reagan's state department.
And Henry Paulson George W Bush's Treasury secretary were among those meeting with Trump officials to pitch a plan that would tax carbon emissions and cut regulations. A grab bag of ideas that could potentially appeal to politicians of all stripes. The plan would tax emissions at an initial rate of $40 per ton, rising over time to pressure businesses and consumes to reduce their carbon footprints.
The proceeds would go to the US citizens, rather than the government, to boost incomes in an era of stagnant wage growth. They would tax imports from polluting countries and eliminate existing regulations like President Obama's Clean Power Plan, that they say would no longer be needed. Economists on the left and the right have long championed a carbon tax and some fossil fuel giants also supporting it.
But the idea has been seen as a political nonstarter, as Republicans question the scientific consensus that human activity is pushing global temperatures higher. Trump dismissed global warming as a hoax on the campaign trail, but most recently he said there is some connectivity between human activity and climate change.
His secretary of state Rex Tillerson, a longtime carbon tax supporter as head of Exxon-Mobil But his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruit, is one of the country's most prominent global warming skeptics. We don't know yet whether these gray beards will convince their party to address the problem, but it might be in their long-term interest to do so.
Opinion polls show that global warming is a top concern among the young voters who make up a growing slice of the electric. If Republicans don't do anything to address climate change, their inaction could haunt them for years.