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Republican hero Ronald Reagan likely would have embraced the cost benefit analyses proving mitigation is cheaper than adaptation in regards to climate change.Former Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC) advocates a revenue-neutral carbon tax, and even the American Enterprise Institute joined in agreement.  Senators Lindsay Graham (also a South Carolina Republican) and John McCain previously proposed cap and trade legislation.With a modest $20 per ton tax on carbon dioxide, the revenue could pay for as much as half of the deficit.  Legislators could convince oil companies absorb some of the modest twenty cent associated increase in the cost of gasoline, and tax cuts could stay on the table.Taxes on polluting energy types raise revenue, encourage efficiency, and provide closer-to-free-market solution to energy problems, but it has unfortunately never proven politically favorable.  Even Mitt Romney raised the Massachusetts gas tax, but later reversed his position.

81% of the installed wind energy capacity is installed in red states.  Much like Obamacare, Republican legislators are completely contradicting the best interests and requests of their constituents.  Red states take the lead in clean tech job growth.  HVAC efficiency, LED lighting in farms and faith-based stewardship are prevalent throughout the South.  Republican voters are more likely to green their homes.  My home state of Tennessee, predominately republican, experienced a boom in solar panel production with both multibillion dollar Sharp and Wacker polycrystalline silicon factories.  It’s also home to the Nissan Leaf battery plant and 10,000 new green jobs anticipated by 2014.  With every green project started in areas with Republican support, citizens share an equal distaste for federal energy policy, loan guarantees, and the like.  Instead of verbally attacking “environmental radicals,” Republican leaders should realize they are attacking the very people that voted for them.  The potential and support for bipartisan energy policy is strong, but lawmakers require a significant about-face to move to a clean energy future.

 

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