Exxon puts $1 million into climate group promoting U.S. carbon tax


HOUSTON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp’s latest shift on climate includes a $1 million donation to a political action committee’s lobbying campaign to promote a U.S. tax on carbon-gas emissions, a central factor in global warming.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Exxon Mobil is displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

The contribution, made to the Americans for Carbon Dividends political action committee of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), was disclosed by the group on Tuesday, less than a month after Exxon agreed to contribute $100 million to oil companies’ efforts to develop technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [nL8N1W644I]

Company spokesman Scott Silvestri referred questions on the lobbying contribution to the CLC.

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, has supported a carbon tax in the past and has stepped up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations. Those efforts came amid lawsuits brought by U.S. city and state officials seeking damages to pay for seawalls and other infrastructure to guard against rising sea levels that result from global warming. [nL2N1T61UJ]

The Climate Leadership Council’s PAC aims to spend $5 million on an initial lobbying campaign to win support for the tax, said Greg Bertelsen, senior vice president at the group.

“We’re in the very early days of this organization,” said Bertelsen, who said the PAC is looking to build legislative support for its carbon tax. It proposes an initial $40 a ton tax on carbon dioxide that would increase over time, with the money raised to be returned to consumers.

The PAC, led by former U.S. Senators John Breaux and Trent Lott, also has raised $1 million each from Exelon Corp, First Solar Inc and the American Wind Energy Association, he said. It expects to reach its goal of a $5 million in coming months, he said.

The council’s proposal was developed by former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Schultz. Council’s members include BP Plc, Total SA and General Motors Co.

Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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