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Senior Republicans Call For Carbon Tax

A group of senior Republican Party figures is calling for President Donald Trump's administration to give its backing to a carbon tax.

The proposal was made in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal signed by former Secretary of State James Baker, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and former Secretary of State George Schultz, according to The Associated Press.

They wrote in the piece that "there is mounting evidence of problems with the atmosphere that are growing too compelling to ignore," the AP reported.

Baker was to meet Feb. 8 with White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, senior adviser to Trump Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump.

Baker told The New York Times that the tax plan was based on conservative principles and the idea of small government. He added that he believed former President Ronald Reagan would have endorsed it.

Baker declared that climate change denial was no longer an option.

"It's really important that we Republicans have a seat at the table when people start talking about climate change," he told The Times.

The proposal would prevent fossil fuel companies from being sued for any damage caused to the environment.

Baker is proposing that the tax replace the former President Barack Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

The group of Republicans suggested the tax "might begin at $40 a ton and increase steadily over time," the AP reported.

The $40 rate would raise an estimated $200 to $300 billion per year.

The plan would also include "border adjustments," which are charges on imports from countries where a similar tax system is not applied. This is aimed at preventing "free rider" countries whose products are not taxed from gaining a price advantage.

"This represents the first time Republicans put forth a concrete, market-based climate solution," Ted Halstead of the Climate Leadership Council told The Times.

Statistics indicate that a majority of registered voters want politicians to adopt a carbon tax to tackle climate change. A poll by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication revealed that 66 percent of registered voters backed such a tax on fossil fuel companies.

However, it remains unclear how the Trump administration will respond. The White House press office did not answer the AP's request for comment.

Sources: AP via Yahoo! Finance, The New York Times / Photo credit: UMHB LIFE

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