(COMMON DREAMS) Jessica Corbett, October 12, 2018 — Amid warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that there’s a closing window to act to prevent a climate catastrophe—and critiques that its report released Monday was far too conservative—critics are calling out ExxonMobil for pledging a $1 million contribution to a campaign for a carbon tax as a sneaky attempt to control the debate on climate action and dodge greater financial liability.
“This is a scam: Exxon wants a super low price on carbon so they can boost their natural gas business and avoid other regulations.”
—Jamie Henn, 350.org
“This is a scam: Exxon wants a super low price on carbon so they can boost their natural gas business and avoid other regulations,” 350.org co-founder Jamie Henn responded in a series of tweets.
“Read the fine print,” Henn continued. “As part of the deal for supporting a price on carbon, Exxon wants to be freed from all climate liability. They know that just like Big Tobacco they could be on the hook for billions in damages for lying about climate change.”
Progressives and climate campaigners have argued both for and against market-based solutions such as a carbon tax, but have tended to agree that fossil fuel giants back such proposals not because they support climate action, but because they want to undermine efforts such as lawsuits that have sought to hold Exxon and other oil and gas producers accountable for their decades of denialism and contributions to the global climate crisis.
“Market-based carbon pricing schemes are a false solution to climate change, and a dangerous distraction from the urgent transition to a truly clean, renewable energy future we must undertake now.”
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch
“Market-based carbon pricing schemes are a false solution to climate change, and a dangerous distraction from the urgent transition to a truly clean, renewable energy future we must undertake now,” Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It comes as no surprise that ExxonMobil and other oil companies are calling for anything and everything short of moving off fossil fuels entirely—most notably, the unwieldy and unproven concept of carbon taxes,” Hauter added. “The IPCC report acknowledges that carbon taxes would have to be incredibly high to make even a dent in the crisis.”
Responding to Exxon’s latest move, Kate Aronoff, who has written extensively about the climate crisis, said, “It’s not a lot of money, but they’re not very subtly trying to stake a claim to whatever climate policy debate happens.” She also noted that the tax proposed by the Exxon campaign group, Americans For Carbon Dividends, “is way too low.”