Carbon tax could be coming to the U.S., congressman says

Despite President Donald Trump’s claims that climate change is a “hoax” (a statement he later retracted) and his assurances that the planet “will change back again,” one congressman says there’s a bi-partisan consensus growing in the House of Representatives that could lead to a price on carbon emissions.

Bipartisan House of Representatives caucus hopes to push Washington to put a price on carbon

President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018. Midterm elections on Tuesday will shake up Congress. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A price on carbon could be on the to-do list for the incoming U.S. Congress.

Despite President Donald Trump's claim that climate change is a "hoax" (a claim he later retracted) and his assurances that the planet "will change back again," one congressman tells CBC News there's a consensus growing in the House of Representatives that could lead to a price on carbon emissions.

"I think we'll be able to have a bipartisan piece of legislation that puts a price on carbon," said Florida Democrat Ted Deutch, who co-chairs the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House.

The 90 Republican and Democrat members of that caucus have been consulting with businesses, energy officials and politicians around the world on a plan to put a price on carbon.

Deutch told CBC Radio's The House this week that the caucus will have to reassess the composition of Congress after Tuesday's midterms but he "fully expects" that every option will be considered to move forward on fighting climate change.

The Democrats are in position to win most of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and the Republicans most likely will retain control of the U.S. Senate.

There's already bipartisan support for a price on carbon, but there's no legislation yet, Deutch added.

In July, Republican lawmaker Carlos Curbelo introduced a bill in the House of Representatives calling for a carbon tax. He said his hope was that the legislation would renew the debate on climate change in Washington.

Trump's announcement that he intends to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord did not sit well globally, and even drew criticism from former president Obama. 2:15

How Trump's own views could factor into the feasibility of a carbon tax plan remains unclear. His opposition to any such environmental strategy predates his presidency; he tweeted in early 2016 that he "will not support or endorse a carbon tax!"

The president also pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord in 2017.

In 2014, the U.S. produced 16.49 tonnes of carbon emissions per capita, while Canada produced 15.12 tonnes, according to the World Bank.

The fight continues in Canada

Canada's carbon tax plan remains the subject of profound political conflict. The plan proposed by the Trudeau Liberals has encountered challenge after challenge from provinces who are less than thrilled with Ottawa's imposition of a carbon tax that will increase incrementally to $50 per tonne by 2022.

Provinces were given until September to table plans for Ottawa's approval, and were warned a carbon price would be imposed if they failed to follow through.

Ontario and Saskatchewan have joined together to launch a formal legal challenge of the federal tax.

As the backlash grew more intense, the Liberals released more details. They plan to send annual rebates to Canadian families to offset most of the added costs of this climate-change fighting initiative. Right now, only residents in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan qualify for the rebate.

Corrections

  • This story has been edited from a previous that stated the U.S. produced 16.49 metric tonnes of carbon emissions, while Canada produced 15.12 tonnes. In fact, those numbers reflect tonnes per capita.
    Nov 03, 2018 9:23 AM ET