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Carbon Tax? Elon Musk Could Have Suggested Idea to Trump, Officials Say

Feb 10, 2017 12:54 PM EST
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Carbon Tax? Elon Musk Appears to Have Suggested Idea to Trump, Officials Say
Tesla founder Elon Musk appears to be pressing the Trump administration to adopt a tax on carbon emissions and appears to have raised the issue directly with President Donald Trump himself and other leaders at a White House meeting.
(Photo : Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A carbon tax in the United States appears to be growing nearer in implementation. Tesla founder Elon Musk, one of the members of US President Donald Trump's "tech commitee," took it to the president himself to adopt a tax on carbon emissions.

According to Bloomberg, the issue was raised at a White House meeting on manufacturing and was backed by secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson.

Musk, CEO of SpaceX, showed public support for Tillerson, who was also Exxon's chief executive. Tillerson argued that the changing climate can be best addressed with a carbon tax, as this includes the potential effect of using carbon in the environment. The tax will hopefully represent a fraction of the cost of economic decisions that oil companies and consumers have.

Carbon Tax Takes Off Burden for the Poor

Exxon Mobil wanted to do this tax in the form of a revenue-neutral carbon tax. This can also potentially raise the cost of fossil fuels if ever there are new environmental regulations in place. Carbontax.org said the choice to make it "revenue-neutral" is apparently burden-free for the poor. The point is to put a "fee" for the damages companies cause to the environment while using carbon. 

However, Bloomberg elaborated that the carbon tax can also be placed directly on gas, oil and coal companies themselves. An alternative would also be placing them on the bills of consumers as well. Regardless, the money raised by the taxes can be returned as dividends to people who use less carbon.

A Great Divide on the Controversial Tax

The issue of a carbon tax has split the industry, especially since other large companies are considering the idea of supporting a carbon tax. Meanwhile, other independent producers have also shown restraint and opposition because of their lack of operations.

Regardless, the nudge by Musk can hopefully put the idea of a carbon tax in the limelight. This is because the idea was often disregarded by many conservative advocates in the past, and even now as they are guiding the current Administration's policies. Other economists have favored the idea of getting a carbon tax, but no direct means to its implementation have been established.

Just recently, senior republicans have been lobbying for the replacement of all of the Obama administration's policis on climate in exchange for said carbon tax. According Washington Post, these are courtesy of the Climate Leadership Council, which includes James Baker, George Shultz, Marty Feldestein, Greg Mankiw and Henry Paulson.

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