Multinationals Back US Climate Leadership Council

22.06.2017 -

Leading international companies including ExxonMobil, Total, BP, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble among others, have joined a US campaign against climate change that was unveiled by a group of Republican elder statesman last February.

The group, the Climate Leadership Council, aims to fight climate change by taxing greenhouse gas emissions and returning the money to American taxpayers as a monthly dividend.

In an advertisement placed in the Wall Street Journal on Jun. 20, the Climate Leadership Council said the plan would achieve significantly greater emissions reductions than all current and prior climate regulations, while helping America's businesses and workers get ahead. In fact, the bottom 70% of Americans would be financially better off, it said.

Under the proposals, companies would get a rebate when they export products overseas to ensure a level global playing field. Products imported into the US would also be taxed based on their carbon content. The Council said the carbon tax could generate an estimated $2,000 for a family of four in its first year.

The move comes just a few weeks after President Donald Trump announced that the US planned to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, which prompted a number of states to create a US Climate Alliance in support of the treaty. The EU and China have agreed to work with willing US states and organizations to reduce carbon emissions.

Commenting on its support for the Climate Leadership Council, ExxonMobil’s CEO, Darren Woods, said the initiative “aligns closely with our longstanding principles.” The oil major has been advocating for a carbon tax since 2009.

David Taylor, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, also saud that the framework “offers a path that will help take constructive steps toward addressing climate change and provide transparency and predictability for business.”

However, quoting Gregor Irwin, chief economist at strategic advisory firm Global Counsel, newswire CNN wrote: “Viewed in glorious isolation from the rest of the world, it (the Council) has a lot going for it. But as soon as you start looking at how they propose to make it work [with other parts of the world] ... it becomes really complicated and really messy.”

For example, said Irwin, it would be hard to calculate fair carbon taxes on imports ranging from oil to cars to semiconductors. The plan also requires political backing and federal legislation, a process that could take years.

Ted Halstead, chairman and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council, told CNN it may take another presidential election for the plan to be fully enacted.