Bill Weld on climate change: Let the market decide

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldMassachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection Youngkin should blaze a post-Trump trail for the GOP The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE (R), who is challenging President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth 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 CoonsChris Andrew CoonsHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  MORE (D-Del.), Rep. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyGOP leader taking proxy voting fight to Supreme Court Pricing carbon can help solve the infrastructure funding dilemma Allies of GOP leader vow to oust Liz Cheney 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 SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE, New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerMaternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown Harris's office undergoes difficult reset The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron MORE are among the highest-profile Democratic names to appear in the two-day event.

Presidential frontrunners former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection 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