Obama Spokesman: “We Would Never Propose a Carbon Tax”

The State Journal
15 November 2012
By Taylor Kuykendall, Reporter

Directly taxing emission of carbon dioxide to thwart its effect on climate has been much talked about post-election, but an spokesman for the president said it's off the table.

By implementing a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, many believed significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved absent the complicated system of cap-and-trade that failed Congressional muster in 2010.

The coal industry likely stands to suffer the most from any sort of tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

At a press conference Wednesday, President Barack Obama emphasized a need to address climate change, but White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that something would not be a "carbon tax."

"We would never propose a carbon tax and have no intention of proposing one," Carney said in a press briefing. "The point the president was making is that our focus right now is the same as the American people's focus, which is on the need to extend economic growth, expand job creation."

The president, Carney said, is focused on first and foremost the American economy and avoiding the approaching "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts that will happen without bipartisan cooperation.

"Everyone rightly is worried about the fiscal cliff and the effect that going over the cliff would have on the economy," Carney said. "And as the president said yesterday, well, let's do something that we all agree on that would mitigate over half of the potential damage caused by the fiscal cliff -- that would be caused by the fiscal cliff."

Carney said he would not lay out more details about Obama's plan, but he pointed to an increase in renewable energy production, investment in research and a doubling of fuel efficiency standards.

Wednesday, Obama called for a national conversation about climate change and emphasized the need for jobs and economic growth to be a part of that discussion.

"If the message is somehow we're going to ignore jobs and growth to address climate change, I don't think anyone is going to go for it," Obama said Wednesday. "I'm not going to go for it."