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Bill Weld on climate change: Let the market decide

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R), who is challenging President Trump 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 Coons (D-Del.), Rep. Francis Rooney (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 Sanders, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are among the highest-profile Democratic names to appear in the two-day event.

Presidential frontrunners former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (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