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What About a Carbon Tax During Trump’s Reign?

Corporate America has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for shareholders. So how does a carbon tax fit into this scheme? Alex Russell for the Bozeman Daily in Montana writes that a multitude of multinationals have saved millions in utility expenses by incentivizing low-carbon strategies.

He points specifically to Walmart, Intel, AMD, HP, eBay, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelez and Unilver as primary examples of companies on the cutting edge — and ones that support the Paris climate accord. “Their position on curbing emissions makes financial sense or they would not even be wading in on a subject that inexplicably still makes the mainstream media nervous.”

The low-hanging fruit is to change out to energy-efficient lightbulbs. But the column posits that governments need to consider placing a fee on fossil fuels at their source and then to return the monies to consumers. That revenue would be used to stimulate the economy, as well as get invested in new technologies. That’s a carbon tax.

Does it work? He points to oft-cited British Columbia, which instituted such a tax in 2008. It has cut its carbon emissions by 15% per capita since then, the author says, while the province has economically outperformed others in Canada.

Exxon Mobil Corp. is saying ‘yes’ to a potential carbon tax.

If the issue moves at all in Washington, it will be the major oil companies that get on board to push it. To that end, Exxon says that it will support a carbon tax that is revenue neutral, or one where the revenues from the tax are plowed back into economy in the form of clean energy investments or used to reduce other corporate taxes.

Under a carbon tax, government would tax industrial facilities such as oil companies and electric utilities according to their carbon footprints that can be readily measured.

A joint report issued by the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute says that pricing carbon is the most efficient way of reducing carbon dioxide releases that are tied to global warming. A $16 tax per ton would raise $1.1 trillion in the first 10 years.

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