GOP aide writing anonymously: Party should ‘reclaim’ climate debate

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“Republicans can admit that 97 percent of scientists just might be right without having to embrace Democratic ideas that would grow government,” states the essay by Bradenson, who claims to work for an unnamed GOP member.

It extols the merits of a revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions that would be offset with reductions in other taxes, while phasing out subsidies for all energy sources.

This is precisely the idea that former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) has been barnstorming the country to promote, and indeed the essay won second place in a contest sponsored by Inglis’s Energy and Enterprise Initiative.

Bradenson alleges that the left, in contrast to conservative proposals and principles, wants to use a carbon tax “as a cash cow for the federal government, using the revenue to pay for legislators’ pet projects or to keep subsidies flowing to the preferred energy source du jour.”

Here’s the concluding two paragraphs:

Republicans in Congress could quickly reclaim this debate, but I recognize this won’t happen until a critical mass of conservatives in the general public buy in. That’s why conservatives outside of Congress – the ones “with nothing to lose” like Bob Inglis, George Shultz, Art Laffer and Kevin Hassett – are paving the way for Republicans to take the small government, pro-growth conservative stand on climate change. While I hesitate to extrapolate anecdotes to broader trends, I know from my experiences that there are a handful of Republican Members and a larger number of Republican staffers who recognize the problem – for the country, for the party – but don’t know how to solve it.

Ironically, traditional Republican opposition to climate change proposals actually improves the chances that a clean, revenue-neutral carbon tax could be signed into law without all the big government add-ons that would otherwise be thrown in by Democrats. If we just come to the table, Republicans can lead on climate change and the American people will be with us.