Oil companies, automakers and consumer products manufacturers will unleash a campaign for a U.S. tax on carbon dioxide emissions even though it may lead to higher prices for their products.
Oil companies BP and Royal Dutch Shell are giving $1 million each to the Americans for Carbon Dividends advocacy campaign, underwriting its efforts to persuade Congress to enact a carbon tax-and-dividend plan. And Ford Motor Co. is signing on as a founding member of the group developing its underlying initiative, the Climate Leadership Council.
Meanwhile, dozens of corporations, including Capital One Financial Corp., software company Salesforce.com Inc., and health care giant Kaiser Permanente, will be pleading with Congress for a carbon tax. Leaders of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., consumer products maker DSM North America and Nature’s Path Foods Inc. are set to appear at a news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill before meeting with lawmakers on the issue.
Fossil fuel companies have been shifting their position on climate change in response to pressure from investors and growing public alarm about Earth’s rising temperature. And economists have long favored a carbon tax as a simple, predictable approach to putting a price on the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.
“Shareholders, younger Americans and Americans who live in coastal communities who are especially exposed to climate change are demanding action by government and also by leading corporations,” said former representative Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from Florida who sponsored a carbon tax bill before losing his House seat in 2018. “American companies want predictability and sustainability — and this is the most efficient way of reducing carbon emissions while protecting economic growth.”
Even so, the efforts face headwinds on Capitol Hill, where Republicans have repeatedly voted against the very concept of a new tax on carbon dioxide. During a May 15 House Ways and Means Committee hearing on climate change, Texas Republican Kevin Brady summed up his position: “We believe a carbon tax is not the solution to address our environmental challenges.”
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