When prominent members of both political parties talk about the possibility of taxing fossil fuels – you know something serious has shifted in U.S. politics.

On Monday morning, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, a largely pro-business Democrat, published a column in The Washington Post calling for the imposition of a carbon tax.

“The case for carbon taxes has long been compelling,” Summers wrote. “With the recent steep fall in oil prices and associated declines in other energy prices, it has become overwhelming. There is room for debate about the size of the tax and about how the proceeds should be deployed. But there should be no doubt that, given the current zero tax rate on carbon, increased taxation would be desirable.”

Summers’ call for a carbon tax came just a day after prominent Republicans discussed the possibility of an increase in the federal gas tax to shore up the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money this May.

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