by Union of Concerned Scientists
By Elliott Negin
Recent press accounts report that ExxonMobil is now actively promoting a carbon tax. If true, that's big news. It would mean that, after nearly 20 years of blocking action on climate change, the world's biggest energy company has finally come to its senses.
Rex Tillerson is the chairman, president and CEO of ExxonMobil.
But wait a minute. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. So one might well ask: Is this anything more than a PR ploy?
Let's take a closer look.
As I reported earlier this year, ExxonMobil has paid lip service to the idea of a carbon tax since 2009 but, all the while, has continued to fund federal lawmakers who resolutely oppose it. In March 2015, for example, the Senate voted 58 to 42 to pass a budget amendment prohibiting a carbon tax. Thirty of the 40 senators who had received ExxonMobil campaign contributions since 2010 voted in favor of the prohibition. Meanwhile, in March 2013, 156 House members cosponsored a nonbinding resolution stating that "a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses and is not in the best interest of the United States." Ninety-three percent of the cosponsors were funded by—you guessed it—ExxonMobil. MORE