10 Questions for Senator Cassidy and Senator Graham

Today, Senators Cassidy and Graham introduced a carbon tax on imports from high-greenhouse gas emitting countries. We have some questions for the Senators:

  1. Why do you support a carbon tax? Or do you only support a carbon tax on China, but not on U.S. producers?
  2. When did following European-style energy policy help the United States?
  3. Europe’s manufacturing sector is contracting. Why do you want to follow Europe’s energy policy which has led to higher energy prices in Europe and a loss of manufacturing?
  4. Should the Europeans impose a higher carbon tax on LNG imported from the United States or the Middle East?
  5. The United States has had a very successful climate policy before the IIJA and IRA—without carbon taxes and without the massive subsidies in the IIJA and IRA. From 2000 to 2021, per capita CO2 emissions fell over 30 percent in the U.S. versus 25 percent in Europe. Absolute carbon emissions over the same time frame fell by 275 million metric tons in the U.S. compared to 221 million metric tons in Europe. (For more information, see the Institute for Energy Research’s The Challenges and Costs of Net-Zero and the Future of Energy.)  If our previous climate policy worked so well, why are you proposing a new climate policy?  
  6. At what level do carbon dioxide emissions become “pollution”? For example, is firing steel furnaces with natural gas okay, but using coal is not? 
  7. The United States has lost heavy manufacturing not because of U.S. regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, but other pollution controls such as regulations on criteria pollutants and air toxics.  So why are you focused on carbon dioxide emissions instead of the pollution that caused the United States to lose heavy industry?   
  8. If we wanted to focus on natural security and the heavy industry needed for national security, should the United States use more coal? The United States has the largest coal reserves in the world. Would this bill help produce the massive amounts of energy required to rebuild heavy industry in the United States?
  9.  What is the right amount for the carbon tax? Which calculation of the social cost of carbon is the most correct—the Obama, Trump, or Biden administration’s figure?
  10. Politico states, “‘There is a possibility here for a big bargain,’ Cassidy said, arguing a pollution fee would fit with bipartisan efforts in Congress to ease permitting rules for building energy products domestically.” What does a carbon tax on imports have anything to do with permitting rules?   

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