SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney has joined a bipartisan Senate group that aims to find answers to climate change.

The Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, led by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., consists of an equal number or Republicans and Democrats.

Romney said it would serve as a starting point for discussion about potential solutions for dealing with climate change. 

Addressing climate change will take significant private sector investments and a major global breakthrough in innovation and technology, he said. Congress, he said, should explore ways to incentivize the research, development and deployment of clean technologies.

Lawmakers also need to consider solutions that will sustain communities that may be impacted by changes in energy technology, Romney said, adding he would continue to meet with rural and coal mining communities in Utah to hear their perspectives.

In a speech at the conservative Sutherland Institute in August, Romney said that while he doesn’t subscribe to the Green New Deal, calling it “silliness,” he is one of the few Republicans who he said believes in climate change and global warming, and that human activity is a significant contributor.

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Much of the growth in emissions is coming from developing countries such as China, India and Brazil rather than the U.S, he said.

“You going out and buying a Prius might be well and good, but it’s not going to change global emissions,” Romney said. “What we’re doing here is the proverbial drop in the bucket.”

The U.S. should provide incentives for entrepreneurs to develop new ways to provide power while also helping people who work in industries that could be left behind, such as coal mining, Romney said.

One idea that has merit, he said, is a carbon tax — a fee based on each ton of carbon dioxide emissions that some major oil companies have adopted. A portion of the tax revenue could go to workers in rural communities who would suffer financially from the move to cleaner energy sources, Romney said.

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