Exxon Mobil has begun pushing actively for a carbon tax on Capitol Hill and with other oil companies, according to a story by Amy Harder and Bradley Olson in the Wall Street Journal on 30th June. Possibly as a result of Exxon’s activities, the American Petroleum Institute has formed an internal task force to re-examine climate policy.
Exxon initially supported a carbon tax as an alternative to cap-and-trade legislation in 2009. This strategy was based on the old saw that you can’t beat something with nothing (which has been proved wrong more often than not). Shell and BP have long supported a carbon tax, while Chevron has been strongly opposed since John Watson became CEO.
Exxon may be ramping up its support for a carbon tax because of the investigation of the company for climate “fraud” initiated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last fall. If that is the case, then the conspiracy to silence opponents of global warming alarmism (and of the policies that will raise energy prices) is already bearing fruit. The irony of going after Exxon is that the company stopped opposing global warming alarmism soon after Rex Tillerson replaced Lee Raymond as chairman and CEO in 2006.
Enacting a tax on carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil, and natural gas is still an uphill climb. The House of Representatives on 10th June passed a resolution opposing a carbon tax by a vote of 237 to 163. No Republicans voted in favor of a carbon tax.