A bipartisan group backed by a number of environmental and fossil fuel companies is launching a six-figure digital ad campaign Wednesday aimed directly at Washington’s movers and shakers.
The 30-second online video titled “The Bipartisan Climate Solution” aims to sell a carbon tax as a win-win solution for Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
The campaign, pushed by Americans for Carbon Dividends, the political arm of the Climate Leadership Council, is being launched at a moment when lawmakers are feeling pressure from constituents to address climate change.
The group is hoping to seize on growing support for action on climate change to convince lawmakers that a carbon tax on power plants and fossil fuel emitters is a solution.
“This is significant because it’s taking a message that is very timely, which is that there is a compelling, bipartisan solution that does the job and is available. We feel it meets one of the key unmet needs as a bipartisan climate solution,” said Ted Halstead, chairman and CEO for both advocacy groups.
While one bipartisan bill has already been introduced in the House to establish a carbon price, the group is pushing their own plan. It would implement a $40-per-ton fee on carbon emissions that would rise over time. Under the plan, revenue would be collected by the government and redistributed back to citizens in the form of a dividend.
A May poll paid for by the council found that 66 percent of those polled supported the carbon dividends plan. That includes 80 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans.
Major energy groups including ConocoPhillips and Exxon have supported the dividends plan. The proposal is backed by big businesses and former GOP policymakers like James Baker and George Shultz, who each served as secretary of State under a Republican administration.
The group hopes that their plan will be seen as a moderate alternative to the Green New Deal.
“We’ve created the sensible center in the climate debate,” said Halstead, who described the far left as having the Green New Deal.
Halstead said the advertising blitz comes after “countless encouraging signs” that include mounting pressures on trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce to embrace ideas such as the Paris climate agreement. He said the group has had many promising talks with members of Congress about introducing a bill that supports the carbon dividends plan.
He said the group is hopeful there will be a bill introduced in both chambers within the current Congress.