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Carbon Tax, Climate, Trade, Education Policy Concerns Arise with Trump’s Sec of State Tillerson

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President-elect Donald Trump may have demonstrated another instance of veering from his core campaign policy platforms with a major cabinet selection in his likely Secretary of State pick, ExxonMobil CEO and chairman Rex Tillerson.


Tillerson has a history of supporting policies opposite to many of the themes the president-elect highlighted during his campaign, including on Common Core education standards, using sanctions to enact foreign policy objectives, carbon tax, climate change, and on global trade and energy policy.

On climate change, Tillerson testified once before Congress that it is real–and that he believes people are behind it. “We have said for some time that there is no question climate is changing, that one of the contributors to climate change are greenhouse gasses that are a result of industrial activities,” Tillerson said in congressional testimony in 2010 before a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee panel.

Perhaps the most controversial thing Tillerson backs is a carbon tax. Tillerson said in a 2009 speech before the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars:

A carbon tax is also the most efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon in all economic decisions — from investments made by companies to fuel their requirements to the product choices made by consumers. A carbon tax may be better suited for setting a uniform standard to hold all nations accountable. This last point is important. Given the global nature of the challenge, and the fact that the economic growth in developing economies will account for a significant portion of future greenhouse-gas emission increases, policy options must encourage and support global engagement.

Trump is vehemently opposed to a carbon tax. On Twitter in May, Trump made very clear he does not—and will not—support a carbon tax. “I will not support or endorse a carbon tax!”

Tillerson was also a donor to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and has funded other establishment Republicans like George W. Bush and Mitt Romney among others. As of mid-July, he had not donated to Trump’s campaign, according to a report from Inside Climate News; at that point Trump was the presumptive or actual GOP nominee for some time. It’s unclear if he later financially backed Trump’s campaign.

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