Oil giants back carbon tax proposal

Oil giants back carbon tax proposal
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Major oil companies are lining up behind an idea from former top Republicans to impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

The Climate Leadership Council, which is pushing the idea, on Tuesday announced that Exxon Mobil Corp., BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total are among a group of “Founding Members” for its campaign. Other major corporate and individual members are also included.

The group, led by former Treasury Secretary James Baker and former Secretary of State George Schultz, is hoping for a boost to its longshot goal of garnering support among Republicans for a carbon tax to fight climate change.

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“We have been encouraged by the proposal put forth by the Climate Leadership Council as it aligns closely with our longstanding principles,” said Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon. “We are pleased to support the Climate Leadership Council as a Founding Member and work constructively to support their policy development process.”

“Industry action must be supported by climate policy that creates clear price signals and incentives to accelerate clean technology and needed innovation,” said Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo Inc., which is also backing the idea. “Carbon pricing is an effective measure to curb emissions and put America on the right path to combatting climate change.”

Baker, Climate Leadership Council CEO Ted Halstead and others first rolled out their carbon tax idea in February and pitched it to White House officials in a meeting.

Their plan relies in part on carbon “dividends,” tax credits or payments that go back to American taxpayers and make the carbon tax revenue-neutral.

The White House emphasized after the meeting that it was not formally considering a carbon tax.

The tax would require action from Congress, but the GOP, which controls both chambers, has not shown any indication it would take up the issue. The House last year passed a nonbinding resolution — with all Republicans supporting it — to denounce a potential carbon tax.