Letter: Young Republicans glad to see Romney prioritize global emissions

For the past two years, one of the top priorities for Utah’s College Republicans has been supporting free-market environmental policy that can protect our economy, our outdoors, and our country from the more radical proposals coming from the left. As such, it was extremely exciting to hear Senator Romney talking about one of the most distinctive conservative climate policies on the table with the Milken Institute just recently.

For context, the United States is actually only responsible for a small portion of global emissions. In order to actually make an impact on climate change, there logically needs to be a way to hold other countries accountable for their own pollution — something especially critical when China’s own emissions exceed the rest of the world’s combined.

Senator Romney knows this, which is why he offered not just talking points, but a tool that would address those emissions: a border carbon adjustment. Simply put, this mechanism would add a fee onto imports equal to the amount of pollution used to make each product. This would drive foreign countries to reduce their carbon footprints, and start embracing the same innovations that US manufacturers made long ago.

This latter point deserves particular focus. American industries are currently operating at a competitive disadvantage because it is cheaper to manufacture goods abroad where rules are less stringent and pollution is incentivized. By finally leveling the playing field for our businesses, a border carbon adjustment would bring jobs back home, increase domestic profits, and revitalize American manufacturing.

Senator Romney is exactly right: technological innovation is the only way we can truly stop the rise of global temperatures. We should be rewarding our businesses for their strides in the clean energy space — not punishing them — and the single most impactful step would be a border carbon adjustment. I am grateful to know that our Senator is representing the views of Utah’s young conservatives in DC.

Seodam Kwak