Aug 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Exxon suspended from carbon tax group in wake of leaked video scandal

A woman fills up her car with gas at an Exxon gas station.

The Climate Leadership Council and its advocacy arm, Americans for Carbon Dividends, has suspended Exxon's membership in the group.

Why it matters: The move comes in the the wake of a leaked video in which senior Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy says the oil giant has only come out in favor of a carbon tax for public relations reasons.

  • “We continue to believe that we will establish lasting climate solutions by bringing together a broad and diverse group of stakeholders who can work together to address this enormous challenge," said CLC CEO Greg Bertelsen, in a statement. "This will continue to be our guiding principle.”

Our thought bubble: This move is a clear sign of the harm that Exxon has suffered to its reputation as a result of the comments recorded by GreenpeaceUK under false pretenses, which aired on Channel 4 in Britain and were distributed online around the world. 

What they’re saying: An Exxon spokesman called the decision “​​disappointing and counterproductive” and said, “It will in no way deter our efforts to advance carbon pricing.”

  • “It’s more important than ever for organizations to work together to advance meaningful policy solutions to address shared challenges and society’s net zero ambitions,” Exxon spokesman Casey Norton said.

Catch up fast: The CLC, which launched in 2017, advocates for a carbon tax that would see revenues returned to the public via dividend payments. The plan also calls for removing some regulations as the tax is enacted.

  • The group’s founders included several GOP elder statesmen. Individuals supporting the group include former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, former Energy Secretaries Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has also backed its efforts (though she’s currently listed as “inactive” due to joining the Biden administration).
  • Members also include several corporate giants like Shell, GM and Microsoft, as well as three green groups: Conservation International, the World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund.
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