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Leaked Big Oil Docs Hint at Support for a Carbon Tax, but the Money Trail Contradicts

Leaked Big Oil Docs Hint at Support for a Carbon Tax, but the Money Trail Contradicts

The #resistance is growing. The American Petroleum Institute, which is the nation’s largest lobbying group for the oil and gas industry, is planning to endorse levying a price on carbon pollution, according to documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

The announcement comes as the oil industry faces the prospect of tighter regulations with the Biden administration and Democratic control of both houses of Congress. While it’s tempting to look at API’s planned endorsement of a carbon tax as a sign the industry is getting serious about climate change, following the money tells a much different story about what API’s legislative priorities are.

“API supports economy-wide carbon pricing as the primary government climate policy instrument to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while helping keep energy affordable, instead of mandates or prescriptive regulatory action,” the group wrote in a draft statement.

Carbon taxes aren’t necessarily a bad idea, but they’re unlikely to deliver big carbon pollution cuts on their own. A January meta-analysis found existing carbon taxes have produced emissions reductions of only up to 2% per year. The policies can also be unjust and therefore unpopular if they end up putting the burden on fuel buyers instead of companies, as we’ve seen in recent years France and Ecuador.

But what API’s members are probably interested in is staving off more serious climate policy, like outright caps on pollution or the forced closure of fossil-fueled power plants. Those kinds of policies would be in line with President Joe Biden’s stated climate goals. But the industry representatives are clearly not interested in phasing out of fossil fuels, which is an urgently necessary step to draw down emissions.

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Source: EartherGizmodo

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