Jul 25, 2018

Shell, BP sign letter praising bill taxing carbon emissions

The opening of a Shell fuel filling station. Photo: Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images

Oil-and-gas giants Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Equinor have signed onto a letter circulating among companies praising legislation introduced Monday taxing carbon emissions, according to multiple people familiar with the details.

Why it matters: These companies, along with a few other big oil producers, have long said they support a tax on carbon emissions. Signing a letter — even though it’s still just a letter — is an early and important prerequisite that could likely lead to active lobbying Congress to support the bill.

One level deeper: The bill, which would replace the federal gas tax with a carbon tax, was introduced by GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, with one fellow GOP co-sponsor, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. A Curbelo spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter, expected to be released as soon as Wednesday.

Yes, but: The letter, which is expected to include a range of corporations, does not explicitly endorse the bill. Instead, it’s expected to broadly praise it and its role jumpstarting what’s been a long dormant substantive conversation on climate policy on Capitol Hill, according to people who have seen a copy of it or are familiar with it. Curbelo's legislation is symbolically important but has zero chance of passage in the foreseeable future, due to powerful GOP opposition to carbon taxes.

For the record: Spokespeople for BP and Shell reiterated their support for a carbon tax, though they either declined or didn’t respond to requests for comments about the letter. An Equinor spokesperson confirmed the Norwegian company's participation early Wednesday.

Go deeper: GOP lawmaker introduces first big climate bill in nearly a decade

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include confirmation from Equinor and clarify the letter is from companies only, not other entities like environmental groups.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has only one novel coronavirus patient in hospital and just 22 active cases in the country, top health official Ashley Bloomfield confirmed at a briefing. He's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission" with no new cases reported for most of May, he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 5,494,287 — Total deaths: 346,229 — Total recoveries — 2,31,722Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pro-Hong Kong resolution at British university fails after Chinese student opposition

A protester waves the Hong Kong colonial flag during a July 2019 demonstration against the extradition law to China. Photo: Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A student resolution expressing support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement was voted down at the University of Warwick in England, after opposition from mainland Chinese students.

Why it matters: The charged politics of China's actions in Hong Kong are spilling over to university campuses thousands of miles away, raising questions for students and university administrators about how to protect democratic values.