ConocoPhillips backs carbon tax plan

By Timothy Cama - 12/17/18 12:11 PM EST

Oil and natural gas giant ConocoPhillips Co. is backing an effort to impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

The company is pledging $2 million over the next two years to Americans for Carbon Dividends, an advocacy group that pushes a carbon tax, starting at $40 and rising thereafter, as part of a plan developed by the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) and its leaders, former Republican secretaries of State James Baker III and George Shultz.

ConocoPhillips, the nation’s second largest oil producer, is also joining the Climate Leadership Council. Exxon Mobil Corp., the country’s largest oil company, joined the effort in October, and BP and Royal Dutch Shell were already onboard.

Under the Baker-Shultz plan, all of the money brought in from the carbon tax would be distributed back to taxpayers as “dividends.” Axios first reported on ConocoPhillips joining.

“We are pleased to now join the CLC to continue the dialogue around carbon price policy development in the United States,” ConocoPhillips chief Ryan Lance said in a statement.

“We are delighted to welcome ConocoPhillips into Americans for Carbon Dividends and commend their leadership in supporting this important initiative,” said Trent Lott (R-Miss.), former Senate majority leader and a co-chairman of Americans for Carbon Dividends.

“The mounting financial support from companies most impacted by carbon policies sends a clear message to members of Congress that corporate America is serious about addressing this issue.”

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ExxonMobil released a letter today calling for air emissions regulations to not be rolled back:

Thanks dbob. The ranks of the climate change deniers and the anti-regulation crowd appear to be thinning quickly now.  A number of polls show that the majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, believe that man caused climate change is real and requires some concrete actions to address the threat.  I'm afraid that it will take another two years before we see any real political will to adopt some basic common sense national policies.  It will be corporations, cities and states that will lead the way on lowering our carbon footprint in the meantime. 

Say the US goes along with this. What about China and India which have the largest carbon emissions. If they don't participate then it will only be the US and other participating countries paying for everything

Whether India and China take all the actions that they should has no relevance for decisions by the U.S. and other countries.  Anyone who is looking for a tit for tat comparison is missing the point.  The point is that climate change is not a conspiracy, by China or any other country, it is a reality from which no country will escape the consequences.  If we do nothing, there will be no solace in pointing fingers and saying, well so-and-so didn't do anything. or enough, either.  The ravages of the changing climate will compel all countries to take significant actions at some point.  The earth just hopes that point doesn't come too late to avoid the worst of what is already underway. 

A number of polls? Now that is hilarious. In every election where carbon tax proposals were foisted on voters, the people voted it down, soundly. The ability to give prostituted politicians the power to tax at will for an imagined future climate disaster is so foolish it has been defeated at every turn, even in Washington state. Where it has been imposed, as in Macron’s implementation at the behest of Brussels, it unleashed a mass insurrection. Try it here, we will see some real political involvement. Only a corporate shill pushing an agenda would think otherwise. It will not happen, only possible in a shill’s script.

Individual votes do not refute the overall public opinion.  And the writing is on the wall - at least for those capable of reading.  When the energy majors recognize the dangers of climate change and understand the implications for their business models, they evolve.  The industry always has because its focus is long term.  The world will be quite different five and ten years from now from an energy perspective.  And climate change deniers will be a small segment of the population relegated to Luddite status.

"at least for those capable of reading".....Would be willing to bet that most of the people on this board are way ahead of you in the "reading" department.  Most of us can tell when a copious of bull-shit is being spread around and know when a walletectomy is preparing to preformed!  

A rational carbon tax, preferably revenue neutral through rebates or assistance to lower income folks is necessary for the long term health of the industry. A tax puts a value on carbon, in excess of current costs, and will promote innovation.

Arrhenius was perhaps the first to suggest a link between CO2 and climate, seen here:

The science is certainly more complicated than Arrhenius believed in 1896, and there is no doubt our understanding of climate science and feedback loops will continue to evolve. If industry fails to evolve based on the science and the conditions we see, we will ultimately go the way of whale oil and buggy whips.

I don't understand this segment from a paragraph in the article.  ... " a carbon tax starting at $40 and rising thereafter."  And there is so much more to the carbon tax I'd like to understand other than a government agency collecting $$$ and doing what with it.  I understand reducing emissions as good and responsible.... just somewhat skeptical of those collecting and enforcing. Maybe someone can post a good article.  thanks.  OH... Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Read just a little further to this sentence, "Under the Baker-Shultz plan, all of the money brought in from the carbon tax would be distributed back to taxpayers as “dividends.”  Emphasis added is my own.  There are several carbon fee plans running around DC presently.  All of them recognize two things.  A carbon tax will be a cost to consumers.  Consumers will have to be provided with an incentive to support the tax.  I'm not familiar with the specifics of all the plans but the one that I have looked at most closely lately projects that the "distributed dividends" would be greater than the increased cost of energy.

Major corporations are usually good at reading the arc of political issues that are important to their bottom line.  When you see these energy majors backing a carbon tax they are signaling that they know change is imminent and they want to do as much as they can to shape that new regulatory environment to their benefit.  In this case I think that means avoiding the most damaging potential outcome by embracing something they consider less disruptive.

Thanks for a little better explanation.  But I'm still very suspicious.  Taxes will go into the carbon tax "lockbox" and then distributed back to taxpayers.  just feels like another way for the government to collect money and we'll promise to clean the air and pay dividends.  Doing our part to help clean the air is great... I just suspect everything when in comes to government and money.  I just don't have a better answer to solve the issue, especially when the worst polluters get away with murder.   I know, I'm a huge cynic.

The legislation, I think there are three similar bills all with some level of bi-partisan support, will likely get bounced around this year to see which can attract the most support.  The general outlines will have to be refined and eventually get to the level of detail where the public debate can be judged by political pundits.  Those that don't trust Congress may never be satisfied and that's fine.  Personally I would prefer to engage and lobby for a path that I think is rational and has a reasonable chance of achieving the political as well as environmental goals.  Hard Greens and Climate Skeptics will attempt to take advantage of the cynics on both ends of the public opinion spectrum.



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