- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Former Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry says President Joseph R. Biden should consider “bold” carbon taxes for the U.S. economy and a “great deal more than that” to combat climate change.

Mr. Biden’s special envoy for climate change told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that job losses for those who work in the fossil fuels industry are all part of a “very exciting economic transition.”

Mr. Kerry‘s comments come in the wake of his assertion that coal workers should embrace the White House’s green policies and learn to “make the solar panels.”

“In order to [adequately address climate change], you know, even to send a signal to the world, most experts believe the important thing is that the United States get its house in order,” Mr. Zakaria said Sunday. “And to really tackle the climate crisis and to really take on the, you know, because carbon is produced in so many different ways — and cement and steel and plastics. It’s much more than just the burning of fuel for transport. You need a carbon tax. Do you think that the United States could do that? That is the simplest price signal that will change, slowly but surely, change the economy. Can we do it?”

Mr. Kerry was optimistic while throwing support behind “bold” carbon taxes.

“Well, we could do it I think,” he replied. “I mean, theoretically, yes. It is one option of many things we’re gonna have to consider and may wind up doing. There are many people who make the point, and I personally accept it, that that is one of the most significant, bold steps you can take to actually have an impact in a rapid way. And I believe there are ways to do that and make it very progressive, to protect people who have to drive long distances to get to work. Do things like that. There are ways to cushion any negative impacts on it.”

He then added a caveat.

“But,” he said. “Here’s the but: We really need to do a great deal more than that. General Motors just announced that they are going to be moving to pure electric cars. Nothing but electric in 15 years. A lot of European automotive manufacturers have made a similar kind of announcement, and I think that is the trend.” 

Mr. Kerry previously said that Americans who made careers in oil, coal, and natural gas should realize the “better choice” Democrats are offering them.

“You look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest-growing job in the United States before COVID, was solar power technician,” he said Jan. 27. “The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice. They can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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