The companies will lobby for a carbon tax proposal formed by former Republican Secretaries of State James Baker III and the late George Shultz as part of the Climate Leadership Council that would restore the revenue to households through equal quarterly payments, recognized as “dividends,” to offset higher energy prices.
The Climate Leadership Council arranged the meetings, which will be attended by top executives from U.S. oil and gas majors ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, along with representatives from Ford, General Motors, IBM, and more.
“A well-designed price on carbon is the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the economy,” remarked Matt Fox, executive vice president and chief operating officer of ConocoPhillips.
Exxon and ConocoPhillips have beforehand donated money to Americans for Carbon Dividends, the lobbying arm of the Climate Leadership Council.
Yet their determination to lobby the Senate illustrates a new urgency as Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress have avoided a carbon tax in favor of other climate policies as part of the administration’s infrastructure push.
No Senate Republicans, in the meantime, have backed a carbon tax, although Mitt Romney of Utah recently announced that he is “interested” in the Climate Leadership Council’s proposal.
In the meantime, A Republican-backed group is launching a six-figure ad campaign Wednesday to press Congress to pass a carbon tax, a policy to address climate change that has struggled to find bipartisan support.
Americans for Carbon Dividends, the advocacy arm of the Climate Leadership Council, is seeking to shore up support for its carbon tax and dividend proposal as policymakers have gravitated toward other ideas.
Carbon pricing has risen as the most palatable climate policy option for businesses, including oil companies and their lobby groups, who claim it would inspire the market to move to cleaner energy without mandating it. Though the Biden administration and Democrats have mostly adopted the belief that the federal government must play a more straightforward role in defining the use of fossil fuels rather than relying on markets.
Carbon tax advocates are holding out hope, though, that the policy can get traction after the infrastructure dispute as a way for the United States to stay competitive with global competitors that have adopted pricing mechanisms. Biden climate envoy John Kerry suggested last week that carbon pricing will stay on the administration’s agenda, even if it’s not the immediate path pursued.