Letter: Carbon fee a winning economic, environmental strategy

There’s a climate strategy that can kill three birds with one stone: strengthen our manufacturers, counter bad actors like Russia and China and drive down emissions around the globe. It represents the kind of fresh thinking Utah needs on this important issue.

In America, we produce goods with far fewer emissions than almost anywhere else in the world. Yet we continue to hold our door open to cheap goods made with high emissions from places like China. This makes no sense for our economy–or the environment. And it plays straight into the hands of regimes that don’t share our values.

By adopting a nationwide carbon fee and applying the same fee to imports at the border, we can turn the tables on China and help the environment at the same time. As Sen. Romney recently noted, this policy would make our steelmakers–in Utah and across the country–instantly more competitive because they are so much cleaner than most overseas producers. It would also put market pressure on China to lower emissions.

Now, a new op-ed by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R., ND) takes this concept one step further. By aligning with our European allies on a common carbon border fee, we can help Europe cut its dependency on Russian gas, they argue. In one fell swoop, this would hobble Vladimir Putin and strengthen American energy producers. As the authors note, emissions from Russian natural gas supplied to Europe “are over 40 percent higher per unit of energy than U.S. shipments of liquefied natural gas.”

It’s time for a climate policy that puts our national interests first. A nationwide carbon fee and border adjustment fits the bill.

Ted Arnoldus