Oct 19, 2018

Carbon tax lobbying starts modestly

Ben Geman, author of Generate

An energy plant releases CO2 emissions. Photo: Florian Gaertner / Photothek via Getty Images

A recently formed group that's using veteran Washington, D.C. insiders to push for a carbon tax spent $150,000 on lobbying in the third quarter, a disclosure filing shows.

Why it matters: The amount reported on March 16 by the heavyweight firm Squire Patton Boggs on behalf of Americans for Carbon Dividends is, needless to say, quite modest by beltway standards.

But that amount — which tallies the group's initial formal lobbying since its formation — is slated to increase along with other aspects of the much wider, 7-figure advocacy push, according to Ted Halstead, the group's CEO.

  • “As our financial support grows, all facets of the campaign will expand,” he tells Axios.
  • The campaign also includes paid media, coalition-building, grassroots efforts and more, Halstead says.

Background: Americans for Carbon Dividends is the recently formed advocacy offshoot of the Climate Leadership Council, whose leaders include James Baker and other GOP senior statesmen.

The big picture: The groups are pushing a plan that includes...

  • Installing a rising CO2 tax that begins at $40-per-ton.
  • Returning the proceeds to the public.
  • Phasing out EPA's regulatory powers.
  • Shielding fossil fuel companies from tort claims over their emissions.

ICYMI: Americans for Carbon Dividends, backed by interests including the nuclear power operator Exelon and renewables companies, made headlines this month when ExxonMobil pledged $1 million over 2 years.

  • The group has raised $3.4 million so far for 2 years of work and that amount is slated to grow, Halstead recently told my colleague Amy Harder.

What's next: My eyes are peeled for the Q3 filing from the Alliance for Market Solutions Action, another group pushing for conservatives to embrace a revenue-neutral carbon tax married to repeal of regulations.

But, but, but: These filings don't capture all the lobbying action around CO2 taxes. For instance, Shell, which backs CO2 pricing, also lists the topic in its own reports.

  • But they're a useful reminder that when it comes to efforts to win conservative buy-in, there's a long, long way to go and the money behind the effort is still a drop in the beltway bucket.

Go deeper:

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Amid racial unrest, a test at the polls

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Eight states plus D.C. are holding primary elections today following a week of intense protests across the country over the brutal police killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: It's the first major test for voting since the national outcry. Concerns over civil unrest and the police — as well as the coronavirus and expanded absentee voting — could reduce the number of voters showing up in person but heighten tensions for those who do.

Axios-Ipsos poll: America’s big racial divide on police, virus

Data: Ipsos/Axios survey; Note: ±3.2% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A new Axios-Ipsos poll finds that America has a massive racial gulf on each of our twin calamities — trust in police, and fear of the coronavirus.

  • 77% of whites say they trust local police, compared with just 36% of African Americans — one of many measures of a throbbing racial divide in Week 11 of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, taken the week George Floyd was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis.
Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: Four police officers were struck by gunfire while standing near a line in St Louis on Monday after a peaceful demonstration, Police Chief John Hayden said early Tuesday. They were all taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He said a small group of people had thrown rocks and fireworks at police officers.