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  • I have a two-year-old daughter named Naya

  • who is under the mistaken impression

  • that this conference is named in honor of her father.

  • (Laughter)

  • Who am I to contradict my baby girl?

  • As many of you know, there's something about becoming a parent

  • that concentrates the mind on long-term problems like climate change.

  • It was the birth of my daughter that inspired me

  • to launch this climate organization,

  • in order to counteract the excessive polarization of this issue

  • in the United States,

  • and to find a conservative pathway forward.

  • Yes, folks, a Republican climate solution is possible,

  • and you know what?

  • It may even be better.

  • (Laughter)

  • Let me try to prove that to you.

  • What we really need is a killer app to climate policy.

  • In the technology world, a killer app is an application so transformative

  • that it creates its own market,

  • like Uber.

  • In the climate world,

  • a killer app is a new solution so promising

  • that it can break through the seemingly insurmountable

  • barriers to progress.

  • These include the psychological barrier.

  • Climate advocates have long been encouraging their fellow citizens

  • to make short-term sacrifices now

  • for benefits that accrue to other people

  • in other countries 30 or 40 years in the future.

  • It just doesn't fly because it runs contrary to basic human nature.

  • Next is the geopolitical barrier.

  • Under the current rules of global trade,

  • countries have a strong incentive to free ride off the emissions reductions

  • of other nations,

  • instead of strengthening their own programs.

  • This has been the curse

  • of every international climate negotiations, including Paris.

  • Finally, we have the partisan barrier.

  • Even the most committed countries --

  • Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada --

  • are nowhere near reducing emissions at the required scale and speed.

  • Not even close.

  • And the partisan climate divide is far more acute

  • here in the United States.

  • We are fundamentally stuck,

  • and that is why we need a killer app of climate policy

  • to break through each of these barriers.

  • I'm convinced that the road to climate progress in the United States

  • runs through the Republican Party

  • and the business community.

  • So in launching the Climate Leadership Council,

  • I started by reaching out to a who's who of Republican elder statesmen

  • and business leaders,

  • including James Baker and George Schultz,

  • the two most respected Republican elder statesmen in America;

  • Martin Feldstein and Greg Mankiw,

  • the two most respected conservative economists in the country;

  • and Henry Paulson and Rob Walton,

  • two of the most successful and admired business leaders.

  • Together, we co-authored

  • "The Conservative Case For Carbon Dividends."

  • This represents the first time

  • that Republican leaders put forth

  • a concrete market-based climate solution.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • We presented our plan at the White House

  • two weeks after President Trump moved in.

  • Almost every leading editorial board in the country

  • has since endorsed our plan,

  • and Fortune 100 companies from a wide range of industries

  • are now getting behind it.

  • So by now you're probably wondering,

  • what exactly is this plan?

  • Well, our carbon dividends solution is based on four pillars.

  • The first is a gradually rising carbon tax.

  • Although capitalism is a wonderful system,

  • like many operating systems, it's prone to bugs,

  • which, in this case, are called "market failures."

  • By far the largest is that market prices fail to take

  • social and environmental costs into account.

  • That means every market transaction is based on incorrect information.

  • This fundamental bug of capitalism, more than any other single factor,

  • is to blame for our climate predicament.

  • Now in theory, this should be an easy problem to fix.

  • Economists agree

  • that the best solution is to put a price on the carbon content of fossil fuels,

  • otherwise known as a carbon tax.

  • This would discourage carbon emissions

  • in every single economic transaction,

  • every day of the year.

  • However, a carbon tax by itself has proven to be unpopular

  • and a political dead end.

  • The answer is to return all the money raised

  • directly to citizens,

  • in the form of equal monthly dividends.

  • This would transform an unpopular carbon tax

  • into a popular and populist solution,

  • and it would also solve

  • the underlying psychological barrier that we discussed,

  • by giving everyone a concrete benefit in the here and now.

  • And these benefits would be significant.

  • Assuming a carbon tax rate that starts at 40 dollars per ton,

  • a family of four would receive 2,000 dollars per year

  • from the get-go.

  • According to the US Treasury Department,

  • the bottom 70 percent of Americans would receive more in dividends

  • than they would pay in increased energy prices.

  • That means 223 million Americans would win economically

  • from solving climate change.

  • And that --

  • (Applause)

  • is revolutionary,

  • and could fundamentally alter climate politics.

  • But there's another revolutionary element here.

  • The amount of the dividend would grow

  • as the carbon tax rate increases.

  • The more we protect our climate,

  • the more our citizens benefit.

  • This creates a positive feedback loop,

  • which is crucial,

  • because the only way we will reach our long-term emission-reduction goals

  • is if the carbon tax rate goes up every year.

  • The third pillar of our program is eliminating regulations

  • that are no longer needed

  • once a carbon dividends plan is enacted.

  • This is a key selling point to Republicans and business leaders.

  • So why should we trade

  • climate regulations for a price on carbon?

  • Well, let me show you.

  • Our plan would achieve nearly twice the emissions reductions

  • of all Obama-era climate regulations combined,

  • and nearly three times the new baseline

  • after President Trump repeals all of those regulations.

  • That assumes a carbon tax starting at 40 dollars per ton,

  • which translates into roughly an extra 36 cents per gallon of gas.

  • Our plan by itself

  • would meet the high end of America's commitment

  • under the Paris Climate Agreement,

  • and as you can see,

  • the emissions reductions would continue over time.

  • This illustrates the power of a conservative climate solution

  • based on free markets and limited government.

  • We would end up with less regulation

  • and far less pollution at the same time,

  • while helping working-class Americans get ahead.

  • Doesn't that sound like something we could all support?

  • (Applause)

  • The fourth and final pillar of our program is a new climate domino effect,

  • based on border carbon adjustments.

  • Now that may sound complicated,

  • but it, too, is revolutionary,

  • because it provides us a whole new strategy

  • to reach a global price on carbon,

  • which is ultimately what we need.

  • Let me show you an example.

  • Suppose Country A adopts a carbon dividends plan,

  • and Country B does not.

  • Well, to level the playing field

  • and protect the competitiveness of its industries,

  • Country A would tax imports from Country B

  • based on their carbon content.

  • Fair enough.

  • But here's where it gets really interesting,

  • because the money raised at the border would increase the dividends

  • going to the citizens of Country A.

  • Well, how long do you think it would take the public in Country B to realize

  • that that money should be going to them,

  • and to push for a carbon dividends plan in their own land?

  • Add a few more countries,

  • and we get a new climate domino effect.

  • Once one major country or region adopts carbon dividends

  • with border carbon adjustments,

  • other countries are compelled to follow suit.

  • One by one the dominoes fall.

  • And this domino effect could start anywhere.

  • My preference, strongly, is the United States,

  • but it could also start in the United Kingdom,

  • in Germany or another European country,

  • or even in China.

  • Let's take China as an example.

  • China is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,

  • but what its leaders care even more about

  • is transitioning their economy to consumer-led economic development.

  • Well, nothing could do more to hasten that transition

  • than giving every Chinese citizen a monthly dividend.

  • In fact, this is the only policy solution

  • that would enable China to meet its environmental and economic goals

  • at the same time.

  • That's why this is the killer app of climate policy,

  • because it would enable us to overcome

  • each of the barriers we discussed earlier:

  • the psychological barrier, the partisan barrier,

  • and, as we've just seen, the geopolitical barrier.

  • All we need is a country to lead the way.

  • And one method of finding what you're looking for

  • is to take out an ad.

  • So let's read this one together.

  • Wanted: country to pioneer carbon dividends plan.

  • Cost to country: zero.

  • Starting date: as soon as possible.

  • Advantages: most effective climate solution,

  • popular and populist,

  • pro-growth and pro-business,

  • shrinks government and helps the working class.

  • Additional compensation: gratitude of current and future generations,

  • including my daughter.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • Chris Anderson: Just one question for you, Ted.

  • I'm actually not sure

  • I've seen a conservative get a standing O at TED before that.

  • That's pretty cool.

  • The logic seems really powerful,

  • but some people you talk to in politics

  • say it's hard to imagine this still getting through Congress.

  • How are you feeling about momentum behind this?

  • Ted Halstead: So I understand that many are very pessimistic

  • about what's happening in the United States with President Trump.

  • I'm less pessimistic; here's why.

  • The actions of this White House, the early actions on climate,

  • are just the first move in a complex game of climate chess.

  • So far it's been a repeal-only strategy;

  • the pressure is going to mount for a replacement program,

  • which is where we come in.

  • And there are three reasons why, which I'll go through real quickly.

  • One, the business community is fundamentally parting ways

  • with the White House on climate change.

  • In fact, we're finding

  • a number of Fortune 100 companies supporting our program.

  • Within two months, we're going to be announcing

  • some really surprising names coming out in favor of this program.

  • Two, there is no issue in American politics

  • where there's a more fundamental gap between the Republican base

  • and the Republican leadership than climate change.

  • And three, thinking of this analogy of chess,

  • the big decision up ahead is: Does the administration stay in Paris?

  • Well, let's pan it out both ways.

  • If it stays in Paris, as many are pushing for in the administration,

  • well then that begs a question: What's the plan?

  • We have the plan.

  • But if they don't stay in Paris,

  • the international pressure will be overwhelming.

  • Our Secretary of State will be asking other countries for NATO contributions,

  • and they'll be saying, "No, give us our Paris commitment.

  • Come through on your commitments, we'll come through on ours."

  • So, international, business and even the Republican base

  • will all be calling for a Republican replacement plan.

  • And, hopefully, we've provided one.

  • CA: Thank you so much, Ted.

  • TH: Thank you, Chris.

  • (Applause)

I have a two-year-old daughter named Naya

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