A Republican-led coalition of fossil fuel giants, environmental advocates, and former federal policymakers on Thursday issued a "Roadmap" to addressing climate change that, while labeled as "Bipartisan," is particularly aimed at garnering GOP support.
An economic who's-who from Goldman Sachs, General Motors, Exxon Mobil, AT&T, and Unilever to former Federal Reserve Chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen signed onto the effort from the Climate Leadership Council, which would seek to halve U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2035, chiefly by charging businesses for the greenhouse gas emissions that they produce.
The proposal calls for giving the proceeds of the carbon fee back to American taxpayers, which would amount to an annual payment of $2,000 to a family of four, the Roadmap said. In turn, it would seek to reduce regulations on carbon emissions that it says would become comparatively less efficient and effective.
"Today's release of the Bipartisan Climate Roadmap is the latest example of growing business leadership on climate policy and of ever-louder calls from many corporate sector leaders for an economy-wide price on carbon." Climate Leadership Council chairman and CEO Ted Halstead said in a statement.
The announcement is arguably most notable for the broad swath of companies, thought leaders, and nonprofit organizations — including a trio of prominent environmental groups — that endorsed it. Executives, including those at the top of fossil fuel companies, have long called for instituting a price on heat-trapping carbon emissions, an idea that has gained particular favor among Republicans while also attracting backing from prominent Democratic climate activists like former Vice President Al Gore.
The roadmap's lead authors, former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Schultz, who both served Republican presidents, shopped the proposal to the Trump administration in 2017. It departs from the climate proposals offered by congressional Republicans: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for example, on Wednesday announced a three-part approach that calls for greater recycling, planting trees, and investing in clean energy and carbon-capture technologies.
The Roadmap included a poll from Morning Consult, finding broad support for government steps to address climate change, including 2-to-1 support among Republicans for "charging fossil fuel companies for their carbon emissions" and giving the proceeds back to taxpayers.
It follows an uptick in climate announcements from major corporations, from pledges by JetBlue and BP to go carbon-neutral by mid-century, to BlackRock's announcement that it will begin incorporating climate change into its investment decisions, to Microsoft's ambitious effort to effectively remove all of the emissions it's generated since its founding in a garage in the 1970s.
"It's well past time for the U.S. Congress to stop dithering on climate action and get down to business," Andrew Steer, CEO of the World Resources Institute, a research and advocacy group, said in a statement. "This Roadmap provides a solid foundation for Members of Congress looking to develop ambitious, bipartisan climate legislation and provides a win-win for America's economy and climate."