Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said that his colleagues want to pass a carbon tax in order to fight global warming and provide extra revenue as lawmakers debate debt and spending issues.

“We’re looking for revenue sources that are positive that we could get bipartisan support [for] such as a carbon tax to help finance the next transportation bill,” Cardin said during a National Institutes of Health town hall meeting today. He was responding to an NIH

“A carbon tax would have several advantages,” he also said. “It, first of all, would tax pollution at its source by reducing financial incentives for carbon. You’d have positive incentives to reduce carbon.  It is a more predictable revenue source than a gasoline tax, therefore it could be a substitute as we deal with energy in this country for financing our roads, our bridges, our transit systems, etc.”

Cardin was responding to an NIH employing who suggested Congress “increase public health by eliminating carbon in our atmosphere and then also raise needed revenues to help stabilize the budget” in a question after during the town hall.

“I agree with your point,” he said. His office explained that the carbon tax “is connected to the public health impacts of climate change,” adding that “reducing carbon in the air would reduce the pollutants that are typically emitted at the same time, also reducing health costs.”

Australian officials praised the idea of a carbon tax last year, saying that “the health impacts of climate change, such as the spread of infectious diseases and illness, and fatalities related to severe weather events, are significant and pose a huge threat for the future.” Cardin made his remarks as an historically-bad snowstorm moved into New England.

The Heritage Foundation observes that “a carbon tax in the United States that reduces emissions domestically would have zero direct effect on foreign emissions if we acted alone. In fact, unilateral action by the U.S. would have very little effect on total global emissions.”

Heritage also argues that the carbon tax would weaken the fossil fuels industry. “Currently, 9,000,000 Americans work in the oil and natural gas industry,[1] and another 550,000 Americans work in coal mining,” the think-tank notes.

According to a Duke University poll, just “29 percent [of Americans] support increasing taxes on fossil fuels in order to encourage conservation and use of alternative energy,” The Hill reported.