Energy

Oil Giants Are Pushing GOP To Pass A Carbon Tax

REUTERS/Loren Elliott

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

British Petroleum and Shell are pouring $1 million each into a Republican-backed group advocating for a tax on carbon emissions to combat climate change, the Washington Examiner reported.

The oil giants are sending the funds to Americans for Carbon Dividends (ACD), a climate change advocacy group led by former GOP Secretaries of State James Baker III and George Shultz. Former GOP Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania serves as ACD’s executive director. (RELATED: Foreign-Based Oil Companies Praise GOP Lawmaker’s Carbon Tax Bill)

“The additional members who contributed show we are continuing to increase our momentum in support of the plan,” Costello told the Washington Examiner. “The polling clearly reflects Republican voters want the Republican Party to lean in with a proactive bipartisan solution to reduce carbon emissions.”

Fellow oil giants ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil have already promised to donate $3 million to ACD between them. ConocoPhillips has pledged to donate $2 million over two years and ExxonMobil pledged to donate $1 million over two years.

Growing oil company support for a carbon tax coincides with the industry’s mounting investment in green technologies, such as wind, solar and biofuel.

The GOP carbon tax plan would make carbon-emitting companies, mainly oil, natural gas and coal companies, pay a fixed rate per ton of carbon pumped into the atmosphere. The taxes collected would be distributed evenly as dividends to American citizens.

BP's Chief Executive Bob Dudley speaks to the media after year-end results were announced at the energy company's headquarters in London February 1, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

BP’s Chief Executive Bob Dudley speaks to the media after year-end results were announced at the energy company’s headquarters in London on Feb. 1, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Republican backers promote the plan as a way to increase the cost of fossil fuels without outlawing them and make green technologies more competitive.

Critics of the plan say a carbon tax’s purported environmental and economic benefits are overstated. A carbon tax is likely to hurt overall economic performance and gross domestic product. The proposal would also lower tax revenue.

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