Most Americans who remember Henry Paulson think of him as the former Treasury Secretary to President George W. Bush and one of the government’s leading point men (for better or for worse depending on your point of view) when it came to dealing with the financial crisis that devastated the economy. But Paulson has also long been an important voice from the world of business, investment and Wall Street who talks openly about tackling the problem of climate change.
This week he’s publicly out front on that issue in a major way. First, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times this past weekend that made the case for a carbon tax — not a popular position with many leading figures in the Republican party — and to call for other actions to limit greenhouse gases, here, in China and elsewhere. Then on Tuesday, he, along with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, billionaire financier and Democrat donor Tom Steyer and many others issued a report with new estimates on the potential costs and risks of climate change in the U.S.
Tonight, he’s on the NewsHour to lay out some of the findings of the analysis and the message the group is trying to send to the public, to businesses, the investment community and politicians. When he stopped by for his interview with Judy Woodruff this afternoon, she also asked him about his views on the highly debated question of whether to extend the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada down through the gulf states. Paulson said that he does favor its approval — even though many leading voices in the environmental community are worried that it could lead to even more greenhouse gases from the use of tar sands oil. But he said he sees the battle over Keystone as “more of a symbol” and, he says, “if you look at it dispassionately and say this oil is going to be produced, it’s going to travel” anyway via rail, then it makes sense to approve it and would help create jobs.
Here’s his opinion on Keystone and we’ll have a longer interview about the climate change report tonight on the NewsHour.