I am a young conservative who is concerned about climate change, and I am not alone. At BYU, where I major in pre-med, climate change is a subject of intense discussion among students. Scarcely anyone doubts that human activity is driving it, and all of us want our leaders to solve it.
Young conservatives believe just as much as our parents and grandparents in the principles of free markets, limited government and personal responsibility. We reject the climate “solutions” floated by Democrats, which would threaten our freedom and prosperity. But the climate still needs fixing, and we’re waiting for Republicans to get off the sidelines and offer an effective and conservative solution.
Students across the country believe it’s time to put an honest price on carbon pollution. Right now, power plants and factories don’t pay anything when they emit carbon into the air. This situation gives higher emitting fuels and technologies an advantage over cleaner ones. In Utah, the consequences are plain to see: shorter winters, more drought and wildfire, and some of the worst air quality in the country.
Economists are nearly unanimous on putting a price on carbon pollution, through a carbon fee, and returning all the money to the American people is the fastest and fairest way to reduce carbon pollution. It would set the right incentives so that the entire economy moves in a clean direction.
As an aspiring doctor, I know Utah would gain from a carbon fee. Our vulnerable populations — the elderly, pregnant women and the very young — would be able to go outside any day of the year and breathe the air without harming their health. Protecting people’s health so they can live a full life and pursue their dreams is as conservative an idea as any I know.