Climate

Nearly 200 Leading Global Companies And Investors Call For ‘Clear, Stable, Ambitous’ Carbon Price

by Tom Wittig

Even as the Obama Administration backs away from making climate change an immediate priority in its second term, the world’s leading companies — some of them fossil fuel companies — are calling for more action.

Last week, Exxon reiterated its support for a carbon tax in order to “address rising emissions.” And this week, Royal Dutch Shell has come out in support of a global initiative to curb greenhouse gas emissions.  The oil giant cosigned a letter with Statoil and 100 other companies asking politicians worldwide to put a predictable price on carbon.

The joint letter will be presented to Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner on Climate Change:

A clear, stable, ambitious and cost-effective policy framework is essential to underpin the investment needed to deliver substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions by mid-century. As business leaders, we believe that the certainty created by this policy framework and the investment it will unlock offers the prospect of increased business success and job creation in key sectors including energy, transport and the built environment.

Released ahead of the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, the letter points out that “a convincing strategy to reduce emissions… continues to evade the global community,” but warns against considering carbon pricing a “silver bullet.” Instead, the companies advocate combining carbon pricing “with other locally appropriate policies.”

And just today, a group of 80 investors with more than $1 trillion in assets issued a similar letter to world governments calling on them to establish better policies to encourage swifter climate action:

Investors worldwide are currently taking actions to address climate risks and opportunities. These range from considering and addressing climate risks in their investments, directly investing in assets such as renewable energy, low-carbon energy infrastructure, and clean technology, encouraging companies to improve energy efficiency and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, measuring and disclosing the carbon performance of their own portfolios, to persuading regulators to require corporate disclosure of the business impacts of climate change. These efforts are not yet sufficient and must be scaled up dramatically. Governments will need to adopt stronger, more consistent policy frameworks which provide the right market signals to support increased investment.

These calls for action come one day after the World Bank released a new report summarizing the state of climate science. The study concludes that the world will encounter “unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods” if it continues on its path to a 4˚C increase by 2100.

While Shell’s support of carbon pricing is not unprecedented, – it admitted internally pricing of $40 per ton CO2 in 2010 — it does provide new fodder for the dialogue around pricing carbon. Unfortunately, even though Shell, Exxon and the world’s top investors are endorsing this kind of carbon policy, the Obama Administration still won’t touch it.

Tom Wittig is an intern on the ocean policy team at the Center for American Progress.

6 Responses to Nearly 200 Leading Global Companies And Investors Call For ‘Clear, Stable, Ambitous’ Carbon Price

  1. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Obama ‘backs away’, yet again, does he? Deja vu, all over again!

  2. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yep, the big boys know the fossil fuels gold rush is over, on with the next, ME

  3. Artful Dodger says:

    How much trouble are we in when ExxonMobile calls a price on carbon essential?

    What this really tells us is that Governments are even more addicted to fossil fuel royalties and taxes than the largest industrial giants.

    At least Big Oil can change it’s business model. Apparently Government has no such hope. This was never going to be easy folks.

    We need a new vision, and it can only come from one source. Now is the time for leadership from the bottom up. Do the Math! Boots on!

  4. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Barrack, think of your place in history.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    History is bunk, and we are history.

  6. Gingerbaker says:

    “A clear, stable, ambitious and cost-effective policy framework is essential to underpin the investment needed to deliver substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions by mid-century.”

    By which time – mid century – it will be too late, won’t it. Am I the only person paying attention in the room?

    The scientists in the know on the issue are telling us – no, make that screaming at us – that we need to bring our CO2 emissions to zero in 5 to 10 years or there will be now way to avoid a 5C hotter world.

    We do not have the time to think a moment, a minute, an hour more about carbon taxes and the like.

    Don’t we need to talk about large-scale solar and wind installations that will provide all our power by 2017 or 2022?

    A 4C or 5C+ hotter world is not compatible with civilization as we know it.