Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon visited a South Portland solar power company Friday to unveil a broad set of climate policy goals she would pursue if elected over Republican incumbent Susan Collins.
Gideon says the United States should be emitting "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, require utilities to increase the amount of carbon-free power they put on the electricity grid, and create a national "Conservation Corps" of young people working to respond to climate change.
As Speaker of the Maine House, Gideon last year signed on to a bill that would have taxed bulk fossil fuel sales in Maine and used the proceeds to reduce Mainers' electricity bills.
She was asked whether she would support a carbon tax at the national level.
"In terms of looking at the different ways — including carbon taxes — I know there are conversations about those out there, I'm not prepared to support one of those."
Gideon said much the same about creating so-called "cap-and-trade" markets for carbon credits that polluters must buy. She did say she would support raising mileage requirements for automobiles, but did not have a specific number in mind.
And Gideon says she is opposed to Central Maine Power's plan to bring hydro-electric power to the region via a transmission line through western Maine. She says she has seen no evidence that the project would actually reduce carbon emissions, as the company claims.