Exxon: Carbon Tax Would 'Play A Significant Role In Addressing Rising Emissions'
But with chatter about carbon taxes in both conservative and progressive Washington political circles growing into a serious bi-partisan conversation, influential players are chiming in with their support.
Speaking to Bloomberg News, oil and gas giant Exxon reiterated its support for a carbon tax yesterday. A spokeswoman for the company said that the tool could “play a significant role in addressing the challenge of rising emissions.”
“Combined with further advances in energy efficiency and new technologies spurred by market innovation, a well-designed carbon tax could play a significant role in addressing the challenge of rising emissions,” Kimberly Brasington, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mail. “A carbon tax should be made revenue neutral via tax offsets in other areas,” she added.
Exxon’s political action committee gave nearly $1.2 million to political candidates in the past two years, 93 percent of it to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Exxon is the biggest U.S. natural-gas producer. A carbon tax could boost demand for natural gas in U.S. power plants, as gas emits half the carbon dioxide as coal when burned to make electricity.
This is not a new policy stance. The company came out in favor of a carbon tax in 2009 so that it could point to something it did support while lobbying against the cap and trade program being considered in Congress at that time.
“As a businessman it is hard to speak favorably about any new tax,” said Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson in January of 2009. “But a carbon tax strikes me as a more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach.”
Exxon appears to be sticking to its original position now that there are more serious discussions underway about how to price carbon.
Earlier this week, anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist said that swapping a carbon tax for a cut to the income tax might be acceptable to conservatives — a position that he has expressed before. However, Norquist walked those statements back a day later while facing pressure from the American Energy Alliance, a fossil fuel advocacy think tank supported by the Koch Brothers.