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May 17, 2019

By Peter Schlosser, vice president and vice provost for Global Futures and the University Global Futures Professor with joint appointments in the School of Sustainability, School of Earth and Space Exploration, and School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

Kudos to Bob Litterman for his continuing work on a possible carbon tax or carbon price and the role it would play in getting the world to take responsibility for the planet’s environment. Litterman, a founding partner and chairman of the Risk Committee at Kepos Capital and a member of the board for GIOS, was recently cited by Bloomberg Business for his work in proposing that a carbon tax be established. He has also said it should be pushed by the Republicans in the U.S. as a way to curb future carbon emissions.

Litterman recently noted that such a carbon price is not part of the Green New Deal, the major climate policy proposed by some Democrats, and that is good for Republicans, who should now take up that mantle and push for it in Congress.

Litterman serves on the board of the Climate Leadership Council, which has a plan that would set a carbon fee of $40 per ton of carbon dioxide, increasing over time, with the proceeds going back to the public as dividends. Such a carbon price has support of some energy companies – Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP, for example – and other major corporations like Microsoft and Unilever. Some economists believe it is the most direct way to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

Litterman’s comments come at a time when some Republican lawmakers have recently shifted their rhetoric on climate change, now saying they are open to working on bipartisan solutions, citing opportunities to increase federal support of technologies like nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage.

“We are very close to getting Republicans,” Litterman said in a piece in Progressive Farmer. “They know the future is to have good policy on climate. They understand that.”