Thursday, 8 September 2011

On Jon Huntsman

Last night, during the Republican presidential candidates debate, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman said this:
"When you make comments that fly in the face of 98 out of 100 climate scientists, to call into question the science of evolution, all I am saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. By making comments that basically don't reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off."
I have been asked what it would take for carbon taxes to become a reality. What it will take is for a legion of sensible Republicans to say what Jon Huntsman has said. Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bob Inglis, and Lamar Alexander are all Republicans that have at some point acknowledged climate change. Some versions of Mitt Romney have also done so, although other versions of Romney are more equivocal. I am not going to call Jon Huntsman's statement "courageous," because that should be reserved for statements that are less popular than Huntsman's position. If just a small number of distinguished Republicans are willing to lead the party and play ball on climate change, then carbon taxes will be seen as the most palatable policy option. This will especially be true in the foreseeable future, in which government balance sheets will be under scrutiny, and not just from Standard and Poor's.

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