US Oil Lobby Moves Towards Supporting Carbon Tax

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) confirmed Tuesday it is considering supporting a carbon tax, a sign of the shifting politics of climate change in the United States.

API has been working with scientists, geologists and others throughout the industry "to meet the world's energy demands and drive down US emissions, and our efforts are focused on supporting a new US contribution to the global Paris Agreement," a spokeswoman for the institute, whose 600 members include ExxonMobil and Chevron, told AFP.

The move comes as newly inaugurated President Joe Biden shifts environmental policy, making aggressive climate mitigation a priority and rejoining the Paris Agreement after former president Donald Trump exited the pact.

A draft statement circulated within the API endorsed an economy-wide carbon tax as a means to "lead to the most economic paths to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The American Petroleum Institute has previously opposed US efforts to tax carbon emissions The American Petroleum Institute has previously opposed US efforts to tax carbon emissions  AFP / Jonathan NACKSTRAND

That would be a reversal for the organization, which opposed Congress's last major legislative attempt to price carbon more than a decade ago.

Taxing carbon would likely speed a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and other emissions-free technologies.

How to respond to climate change has split members of the API, with European oil giants favoring a more aggressive stance at cutting emissions than their American counterparts.

In January, French oil major Total announced it was exiting the API, citing the group's support in 2020 of political candidates who argued against the US participation in the Paris Agreement, among other issues.

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