Climate Town Hall: Several Democratic Candidates Embrace a Carbon Tax – The New York Times

The broad support for putting a price or tax on carbon dioxide is a remarkable change since the 2016 campaign, when Hillary Clinton steered clear of embracing a price on carbon pollution, for fear that it would be attacked as an energy tax.

“It’s a good policy to adopt if you want to lose an election,” said Myron Ebell, who heads the energy program at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an industry-funded research organization, and who led the Trump administration’s transition at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The town hall-style forum on CNN was a response to intense interest in climate change among many Democrats. The event followed a decision by the Democratic National Committee not to sanction a debate devoted to the subject, frustrating activists and some candidates.

And it came as the National Hurricane Center warned that Hurricane Dorian, which has caused widespread devastation in the Bahamas, could cause life-threatening storm surge along most of the southeast Atlantic coast. Scientific research has shown that climate change has contributed to the worsening of hurricane impacts, by causing stronger, slower-moving hurricanes with larger storm surges.

A prime-time discussion about climate change was “20 years overdue,” Mr. Inslee said in an interview on Wednesday, adding, “I think we should attack Donald Trump on his weakest point, which is the environment, and this will help us identify our strongest candidate.”

Jeff Nesbit, executive director of Climate Nexus, a group focused on communicating the climate threat, said the forum reflected pent-up demand by a portion of the Democratic base to see global warming discussed in depth. Voters want “more than a scant, few minutes from TV news stars moderating general debates who ask questions like ‘Can Miami be saved?’ or ‘So, what’s wrong with the Green New Deal?’” he said.

But the seven-hour-long format may have challenged viewers’ stamina and frustrated those seeking clear contrasts between the candidates.

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