‘Sobering’ New UN Report Challenges Republican Climate Hawks’ Free-Market Dogma

A landmark new United Nations report warning of catastrophic global warming doesn’t seem to have shaken many Republican climate hawks’ faith that market tweaks alone can deliver the unprecedented emissions cuts needed to avert disaster.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. consortium of researchers from 40 countries, said Sunday the reductions needed to avoid average global warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

“The only force that I know of on the planet that can deliver innovation as quickly as we need it is the free enterprise system,” said former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), now the executive director of RepublicEn, a group urging Republicans to support a carbon tax.

Regulations, he said, would “just be clunky.”

“A market-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax is perfectly capable of achieving rapid decarbonization as is called for in the new IPCC report,” said Josiah Neeley, a senior fellow at R Street Institute, a conservative climate policy think tank. “It’s all a matter of getting the price right.” 

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