Utilities State They Will Push for Carbon Tax

Power Plant Carbon Emissions Image by Foto-Rabe from Pixabay
Image by Foto-Rabe from Pixabay

Some big-name utilities, including PG&E, Dominion Energy and DTE Energy and other Fortune 500 companies, plan to lobby for some type of “economy-wide” price on carbon, perhaps deciding to get involved with policy-making of their own rather than face the imposition of stiffer taxes at a later date.

According to a press release, the CEOs of 13 Fortune 500 companies or their subsidiaries, in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund and three other prominent environmental groups, launched the CEO Climate Dialogue to issue “a call for action on climate change.”

The group’s members hope to convince both political parties that climate policies are necessary to “increase regulatory and business certainty, reduce climate risk, and spur investment and innovation needed to meet science-based emissions reduction targets.”

As part of this effort, the group is willing to work with lawmakers to create some type of “an economy-wide carbon pricing policy to meet the climate challenge at the lowest possible cost.”

Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said in the group’s press release announcing the initiative that the most underused tool for fighting climate change is corporate advocacy.

“Business voices matter to Congress, but the vast majority of companies have been missing from the climate policy debate—or even worse, have been lobbying against environmental progress,” Krupp said. “Together, the CEO Climate Dialogue companies are using their political influence to chart a new course for corporate sustainability leadership and drive down pollution across the economy.”

The CEO Climate Dialogue said that its members would lobby both the Trump Administration and Congress for climate policies that meet six guiding principles, including setting a goal to incrementally reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent or more by 2050—a goal that still falls short of recommendations by the United Nation’s climate change panel, which has stated the world must reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The group stated the policies should be effective by providing a timeline that allows capital-intensive industries to “adjust in an economically rational manner.” To increase the chances of success, policies should also focus on emissions reductions outcomes, not specific resources or technologies.

Such policies should also be market-based; durable and responsive; and “do no harm” in that they support the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, address emissions leakage that can undermine climate objectives and safeguard against negative impacts on biodiversity, land and water.

Finally, since policies to address climate change may likely entail some cost to everyone, they must provide transparency and promote affordability while distributing costs and benefits in such a way that promotes equity across the citizenry.

About the Author

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than three decades of experience writing about the construction industry, and her articles have been featured in the Associated General Contractor’s Constructor magazine, the American Fence Association’s Fencepost, the...

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