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Libertarian Prez Nominee Gary Johnson Retreats, No Longer Backs A Carbon Tax

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has pulled back his support for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions after just three days, and now says it’s an impractical theory.

“Look, I haven’t raised a penny of taxes in my political career and neither has Bill,” the former New Mexico governor said, referring to his running mate former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

“We were looking at—I was looking at—what I heard was a carbon fee which from a free-market standpoint would actually address the issue and cost less,” Johnson told New Hampshire voters Thursday. “I have determined that, you know what, it’s a great theory but I don’t think it can work, and I’ve worked my way through that.”

Johnson reiterated his opposition to a carbon tax and skepticism of government climate policies in an interview with Reason magazine editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie.

Johnson said a carbon tax “sounds good in theory, but it wouldn’t work in practice.” Gillespie also asked Johnson what he thought about the U.S. acting alone and cutting carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

“In theory it sounds good, but the reality is that it’s really complex and it won’t really accomplish that,” Johnson said. “So, no support for a carbon fee. I never raised one penny of tax as governor of New Mexico, not one cent in any area. Taxes to me are like a death plague.”

“If there is any way we can address this issue without the loss of U.S. jobs, my ears are open,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s carbon tax reversal came just four days after he told the Juneau Empire he supported a “fee” on emissions as a “free market” approach to fighting global warming.

“I do believe that climate change is occurring,” Johnson said. “I do believe that it is man-caused” and “that there can be and is a free-market approach to climate change.”

But Johnson’s CO2 “fee” was interpreted by many to be code for a “tax” on emissions. Johnson was quickly attacked by conservative writers and pundits for backing a CO2 tax, even getting called a “left-wing candidate” by The Federalist’s Robert Tracinski.

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