Bill Weld on climate change: Let the market decide

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldAnalysis: Warren and Booker most cyber-aware 2020 candidates Trump campaign takes steps to ensure critics are not represented at 2020 convention Ex-GOP lawmaker sues South Carolina Republican Party for canceling 2020 primary MORE (R), who is challenging President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE for the GOP presidential nomination, said Friday that lawmakers should let the market decide when it comes to regulation on climate change.

Though Weld didn’t mention anyone by name, he criticized climate change proposals put forth by 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, arguing that a carbon tax is a much more feasible and economic alternative to address the the crisis.

He told Hill.TV that his proposal would not tell people what to do, which was an advantage to the other proposals. “They make their own decisions,” he said.

“That’s letting the market decide about carbon — that’s a much more powerful engine than just saying I’m going to spend $10 trillion dollars to promote clean energy,” he added. “You don’t know if you’re going to get there.”

A number of Republicans and Democrats in Congress have supported putting a tax on carbon.

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMeet the dog and 'sea turtle' who launched campaigns for office Senators demand briefing on Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria 2020 Democrats push for gun control action at forum MORE (D-Del.), Rep. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyMomentum is growing to fight climate change by pricing carbon Bill Weld on climate change: Let the market decide Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe MORE (R-Fla.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) all introduced carbon tax bills in July.

Weld’s comments come as he prepares to take part in a climate change forum hosted by MSNBC on Friday along with several other Democratic White House hopefuls.

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs trillion over 10 years MORE, New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Warren leads in speaking time during debate Democrats wrangle over whether to break up Big Tech in debate first MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs trillion over 10 years MORE are among the highest-profile Democratic names to appear in the two-day event.

Presidential frontrunners former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs trillion over 10 years MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs trillion over 10 years MORE (D-Mass.) did not commit to being part of the forum.

Leading up to the event, Weld described his support for action on climate change as a “gamble” among Republican voters.

“The gamble is that Republican voters will agree with me that climate and environment are an important issue,” he told Hill.TV. “If they don’t then that’s bad news for me.”

Weld's challenge against Trump is a decided long shot. A new survey from the Economist and YouGov found Weld with 5 percent support among Republican voters, while Trump maintained his lead at 86 percent.

—Tess Bonn