Today, the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) proposed a federal “carbon tax” to Congress. In partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI), the CLC said the proposal offers a bipartisan, market-approved approach toward reducing carbon emissions that will boost the economy rather than harm it.
Advocates have long said a carbon tax is essential to ensuring real action is taken toward reducing climate change, but not everyone — including the American public, oil companies and Congress — was always enthusiastic. Now, the tides may be turning.
The WRI/CLC proposal has gained unlikely proponents in some major energy companies. The CLC revealed its list of Founding Members, which included leaders from BP, ExxonMobile and Royal Dutch Shell.
Representatives from the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Proctor and Gamble, and a former Walmart executive are all included in the list of Founding Members
“A $40 price per ton on carbon, rising in a predictable way, could be the centerpiece of U.S. action and leadership on climate. WRI analysis suggests it could be good for jobs and good for the climate,” Andrew Steer, President & CEO of WRI, wrote in statementonline.
Overall, US support for a carbon tax is still low: just 35% of Americans support it, according to a University of Michigan report. But when the revenue from it goes back to taxpayers, as the CLC proposal demands, public opinion increased to 56%.
A carbon tax is essentially a tax that companies have to pay for the amount of CO2 emissions they produce.
For companies in Europe, where the tax hangs around $20 per ton of CO2, S&P 500 companies would have to cough up a collective $60 to $80 billion each year.