Dec 5, 2019

Industries' latest climate shift

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There's fresh evidence that powerful industries are slowly shifting on climate change to keep up with the times and protect their interests.

Driving the news: The Natural Gas Supply Association on Tuesday said it backs carbon pricing — a message partly aimed at states crafting emissions-cutting plans.

  • CEO Dena Wiggins predicted they'll have company. "We believe we are the first national natural gas trade association to support paying a price on carbon, but we are likely not going to be the last," she told reporters.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of powerful industries and groups starting to alter their posture.

  • Exxon, Chevron, BP and subsidiaries of Equinor, Shell and Total are all members, alongside independent players like EQT Corp., and Cabot.
  • A number of oil majors — including Shell, BP and others — already support pricing.

Where it stands: NGSA doesn't have plans to lobby Congress on the matter, Wiggins said.

  • The group released a set of broadly worded "principles." They don't signal a preference for taxes versus emissions-trading.
  • NGSA favors a national program, but says that as states move forward, they should price carbon in power markets and work together.

How it works: The group's principles for states argue that pricing should replace emissions regulations.

  • That's consistent with what several oil-and-gas giants want in return for a national carbon tax plan, via their membership in the Climate Leadership Council.
  • Tuesday's outline opposes "subsidies" and policies that "distort" markets — likely a reference to NGSA's ongoing fight against state subsidies for nuclear plants.

The big picture: A carbon price, depending on where it's set, could help the fuel shove coal aside even faster, though Wiggins said their position is not about members' bottom lines.

Go deeper: Once a critic, Chamber of Commerce now backs Paris Climate Agreement

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Mike Bloomberg releases his first domestic climate plan

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democratic White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg would aim to cut economy-wide U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and implement policies that would make 80% of power generation zero-carbon by 2028.

Why it matters: Those are two key targets in broadly worded plans unveiled Friday that mark the first detailed domestic climate proposals from the billionaire's campaign, and follow his years of advocacy on the topic.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019

Big Oil lobby showing subtle shifts on climate change

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The American Petroleum Institute is now supporting the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement and, separately, technology for capturing carbon dioxide.

Why it matters: These are subtle but important shifts reflecting the oil and natural gas industry’s reluctant and uneven embrace of climate change as a problem the government should address.

Oil industry to Trump: Carbon capture needs way more subsidies

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Technology that captures carbon dioxide emissions needs way more subsidies — reaching well into the billions of dollars — to thrive, according to a new oil industry report.

Driving the news: The report by the National Petroleum Council, an advisory committee to the Energy Department representing all aspects of the oil and gas sector, recommends putting $15 billion into research and more than doubling an existing subsidy.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019