Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham endorsed a carbon tax on Tuesday during a Yale University climate change conference hosted by former Secretary of State John Kerry.
"I'm a Republican. I believe that the greenhouse effect is real, that CO2 emissions generated by man is creating our greenhouse gas effect that traps heat, and the planet is warming," said the South Carolina senator in a transcript of his pre-recorded message to the conference. "A price on carbon — that's the way to go in my view."
The statement comes as many expect President Trump and the Republican leadership to begin as soon as next week to push a tax reform package. Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing harder to do something on climate change in the wake of devastating storms in the Gulf Coast.
The carbon tax would attach a per-ton price to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, which supporters hope would create an incentive to use cleaner sources of energy and reduce greenhouse gases.
Many scientists blame the manmade emissions for warming the Earth's average temperature. Scientists also blame the resulting increased temperatures for increasing the intensity of storms, although the storms themselves are not the result of global warming.
Much of Yale's two-day climate conference was webcasted except for Graham's remarks and those of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., which were delivered in pre-recorded statements. Yale said it would wait before it posted the recordings. Time Magazine obtained the transcript before Yale released the recording Tuesday night, although McCain's remarks were not part of it.
Graham added that he is working with Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island on a carbon tax bill.