Reports about the debate inside the White House over a carbon tax — apparently inspired by the meeting that James A. Baker III, Martin Feldstein, Gregory Mankiw and I held with Gary Cohn last month — get the terms wrong. Our plan, "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends," isn't a stand-alone carbon tax, but rather a revenue-neutral, carbon dividends program.

To describe our plan as a carbon tax is akin to describing Social Security as a payroll tax. Focusing exclusively on the funding mechanism ignores that which makes both Social Security and our proposal popular and populist. As James Baker emphasized at our press conference after our White House meeting: "This is a proposal for carbon dividends to the American people. And that's going to be the beauty of it in terms of building public support."

Here are the details:

  1. A gradually increasing, revenue-neutral carbon tax;
  2. Whose proceeds are rebated to the American people via monthly dividends;
  3. Border carbon adjustments to protect American competitiveness;
  4. A roll-back of regulations that are no longer necessary once a meaningful carbon tax is in place.

Why Republicans should embrace it: Sooner or later, the GOP will face a climate replay of the healthcare debacle now engulfing it. The only successful path to repealing a major program is by replacing it with something better. For now, the Trump administration is pursuing a repeal-only climate strategy. We are offering the GOP a replacement program that is an insurance policy for our climate, that would be considerably more effective than the Obama-era climate regulations it would replace, and is an economic support program for America's struggling working class. Embracing carbon dividends could be a strategic bonanza for the GOP.

Ted Halstead is founder, President and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council. The opinions expressed are his own

Go deeper

35 mins ago - World

China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 13,048,249 — Total deaths: 571,685 — Total recoveries — 7,215,865Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,353,348— Total deaths: 135,524 — Total recoveries: 1,031,856 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Houston mayor calls for two-week shutdownCalifornia orders sweeping rollback of open businesses — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Education: Los Angeles schools' move to online learning could be a nationwide tipping point.

House Judiciary Committee releases transcript of Geoffrey Berman testimony

Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its closed-door interview with Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was forced out by Attorney General Bill Barr last month.

Why it matters: House Democrats have seized on Berman's testimony, in which he claimed the attorney general sought to "entice" him into resigning so that he could be replaced by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, to bolster allegations that the Justice Department has been politicized under Barr.