Bill Weld on climate change: Let the market decide

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldGOP governor endorses Weld in Vermont primary Trump wins New Hampshire Republican primary The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden leaving New Hampshire early as voting underway MORE (R), who is challenging President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants 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 CoonsDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Graham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE (D-Del.), Rep. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyOvernight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides 2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution 'because it merely restated existing law' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week 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 SandersBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Biden will go after Bloomberg, Sanders at Las Vegas debate, aides say MORE, New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe CNN signs Andrew Yang as contributor Bloomberg qualifies for South Carolina primary debate MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll 2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day What to watch in the debate tonight MORE are among the highest-profile Democratic names to appear in the two-day event.

Presidential frontrunners former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Biden will go after Bloomberg, Sanders at Las Vegas debate, aides say MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll 2020 Democratic candidates support Las Vegas casino workers on debate day Sanders takes lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll 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