Project Report:
R Street Climate Change Project
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates the effect of the global financial system and/or the monetary system in fostering a sustainable economy.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


R Street wants to convince conservatives that climate change is an important issue worthy of public policy action. To do this, we want to pursue two interlocking strategies: (1) An outreach campaign intended to convince Republicans and conservatives that good public policy related to climate change is not only consistent with conservative philosophy but will help to advance it. (2) A research program intended to develop a stronger evidentiary basis for conservative, market-oriented ways of confronting climate change. We are asking you, the Walker Foundation, for partial funding of both of these priorities.

Carbon Tax Debate 01
Carbon Tax Debate


In our proposal about a year ago, we suggested a program of outreach and research oriented towards changing conservative minds on climate change and advancing the idea of a revenue neutral carbon tax. Today, we're proud to say that we did what we said we would. Here are some highlights of what we've done.


-On June 13, thanks in large part of Walker Foundation support. we hosted a debate among friends on the question “Are there any circumstances under which conservatives should support a tax on carbon emissions?” pitting a revenue-neutral carbon tax against its detractors. Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan, along with former Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., defended the idea, while James Taylor from the Heartland Institute and David Kreutzer from the Heritage Foundation argued against it. science correspondent Ron Bailey moderated.

Almost 200 individuals from across Washington attended the debate, and in a post-event poll, the audience clearly favored leaving open the potential for a carbon tax, with about 60 percent favoring the R Stret position. While the event was open to the public, the audience skewed conservative and libertarian, making it a strong victory toward our goal of broadening conservative conversations on climate. Feedback after the debate was overwhelmingly positive. We received numerous emails lauding the debate and Moylan’s performance, including praise for the “well thought out arguments” and performing well on a “very tough assignment.” At least ten outlets wrote a review of the debate, including conservative-leaning and the Washington Examiner. The debate was also taped for a forthcoming Showtime documentary about climate change denial.

-We met with over 50 hill staff to discuss issues related to the carbon tax and made some progress (although slow progress) on the Republican side. A list is attached.

-We moved forward in the media publishing articles in conservative outlets like The Weekly Standard.

-Our state-based activities added to the roster of right-of-center organizations that take climate change seriously.

Our research efforts have also gone forward:

-We published or have completed for publication (and have been shared with Walker Foundation staff) all three papers promised. In particular, we have completed papers on road congestion pricing, a carbon tax, and how nuclear power can work without subsidies. All three papers have been shared with you and benefited from your input and the nuclear power and carbon pricing papers will be published shortly. We will also be hosting the first in a series of briefings on nuclear-power and closely related issues on April 25, 2014.


Our project will meet all four of the purposes listed above.
• It will investigate economic imbalances, in relation to the ways government subsidies both to coastal development and agricultural production flow primarily to wealthy farms, developers and property owners.
• It will illustrate how an often overlooked segment of the global financial system – the system of property insurance, including the global reinsurance market – may be used to foster a more sustainable economy by parsing, mitigating and controlling risk, including environmental and climate risks.
• It will illustrate that environmental degradation and poorly conceived public policies could damage the free market system
• It will explore and develop market-based solutions to climate change, including the pricing of carbon emissions.


This project is focused on federal-level activists and federal policy makers in the United States. To a lesser extent, we will also engage policy makers and leaders at the state level in the United States.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$54,000.00 on 4/29/2013 (Check sent: 5/16/2013)

Carbon Tax Debate 02

Carbon Tax Debate 01
Carbon Tax Debate 02
Washington Examiner Debate Coverage (PDF)
Guardian Debate Coverage (PDF)
Reason Debate Coverage (PDF)
Cincinnati Debate Coverage (PDF)
SNL Debate Coverage (PDF)
Paper on Congestion Pricing (PDF)
Nuclear Power Paper (Galley) (Doc)
Weekly Standard Article on Carbon Tax

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Eli Lehrer
President, R Street Institute

Posted 1/5/2013 5:10 PM
Updated   4/8/2014 4:27 PM

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