June 20, 2017

eXXXon head-fakes on #carbontax part three

I guess two separate blog posts about Exxon Mobil's alleged enthusiasm for a carbon tax, and the reality behind that, aren't enough to get some allegedly green people to open their eyes.

They're now Tweeting the newest version of its idea, written in conjunction with other Big Oil companies and "moderate Republicans," a species in reality almost as extinct as the dinosaurs from which eXXXon gets its oil.

Here’s big problem No. 1:
The proposal also says companies that emit greenhouse gases should be protected from lawsuits over their contribution to climate change.
I presume that is eXXXon wanting a legal shield if New York State’s attorney general brings it to trial over misrepresenting to shareholders its liabilities over carbon. More details in the Carbon Leadership Council's "Four Pillars," the fourth of which is specifically titled "Significant Regulatory Rollback."

NO, NO, NO!

A legal flack at the piece then says if carbon is taxed high enough, that would be better than lawsuits. Un, Michael Gerrard, only if part of that carbon tax remediates climate damage also done. And, that doesn’t address the shareholder issue.

Then, a direct rebate of the tax?

NO, NO, NO! 

I’ve addressed various problems with that in both previous posts.

From the first blog post, I brought up this issue directly when I asked rhetorically if eXXXonMobil had suddenly "gotten religion" about climate change because it's calling for a carbon tax?

Don't you believe it, not for a minute, I responded.

Here's the nut graf:
The world's largest oil company wants a simple tax charged on extracted carbon, such as oil and gas, in lieu of complicated regulations or trading schemes that too often create unintended consequences. Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson also wants the money returned to the public to offset the cost to consumers.
Note the last sentence.

No, what that really does is remove any "bite" from a carbon tax, making it a toothless tiger, hence harmless to Tillerson, eXXXon and the rest of Big Oil.

And, there's also the fact that this might be a deliberate trap, as I noted in the second post.

How the hell are you going to cut rebates, as nearly exactly as possible, for 320 million Americans? You imagine how massive a bureaucracy that would take?

I suspect eXXXon already HAS imagined just that, and envisions a full rebate as a black knight, lead anchor, or whatever. Something that would make a carbon tax prohibitively expensive.

Next, "border adjustments" aren't the same as "carbon tariff." Until I hear "carbon tariff" out of these folks' mouths, I have another reason to stay skeptical.

Don't even cite Nature Conservancy. Yes, it protects land, but other than that, it's the most right of Gang Green environmental groups.

In my second blog post, I asked mainstream biz media:
Why don't you ask old Rex Tillerson about that, next time he talks up a carbon tax? Why don't you also ask him why his company continues to fund climate change denialist groups? That alone should tell you the carbon tax proposal it has on the floor is a head fake, a big biz move, or both.
I make that same statement now to alleged greenies touting the eXXXon move. DO NOT trust these people. Like anybody who has worked for David Brock, they have forfeited the right to be trusted.

The fact that tech-neoliberals from Silicon Valley, like Steve Jobs' widow, are signing off on this, make me even more skeptical. So does that of Michael Bloomberg. Folks like this will only support something like this if it does little to hurt hypercapitalism, which comes ahead of truly addressing the problem.

Between individuals and businesses signing off, you've got petroleum and related businesses that would be hurt by a real carbon tax, vulture capitalists both inside and outside politics, and turd-polishing politicos and academics.

I'm still trying to figure out how skeptical, or not, basic income guru Scott Santens is of libertarian versions of basic income. His touting of this eXXXon PR move doesn't help him on the basic income count in my eyes.

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