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Christopher Flavelle

Obama Shows How Not to Sell a Carbon Tax

Republicans might support a price on carbon. Just not like this.
I promise this is a good idea.

I promise this is a good idea.

Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama's proposal this week for a $10-a-barrel tax on oil, which has been overwhelmingly rejected by Republicans, could make it easier for the next president to pass a carbon tax -- by demonstrating how not to go about it.  

Obama made three mistakes. First, he targeted a single industry, and one that many Americans believe he doesn't like. That plays into the understandable fear that governments will use climate policy to reward friends and hurt adversaries.