Citizens' Climate Lobby volunteers urge North Texas business leaders to join its letter campaign. Photo courtesy of CCL DFW Metro.
By Ann Drumm and Larry Howe
Dec. 8, 2017
Many business leaders, seeing the economic risks that climate change poses to our region, are pressing Congress for action. They want a price on CO2: a market signal that will create economic opportunities, reduce pollution, improve health, strengthen security and help preserve our vibrant regional economy.
Long payback periods still deter too many businesses from making important investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The existing price signal is not strong enough to drive emissions reductions at the pace science tells us is necessary.
Many North Texas business leaders agree that a price on CO2 is the right policy response, and they are communicating that support to Congress through a campaign coordinated by Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Your participation in CCL’s Leaders’ Letter Campaign can help persuade Congress to act on Climate!
CCL’s market-based proposal has three elements: (1) a gradually rising, predictable, national fee on oil, gas and coal, based on their relative CO2 content; (2) return of the revenue generated by the fee to U.S. households on a per capita basis; and (3) a border adjustment to protect U.S. businesses.
Pricing CO2 serves sustainability goals, which is good for business. According to Garrett Boone, Dallas-based Container Store co-founder, the businesses that chart a pathway to sustainability will be the competitive winners in the years ahead.
“Ray Anderson, CEO and founder of Interface, proved that a company's wholehearted commitment to sustainability – eliminating waste by maximizing efficiency, using renewable energy, recycling products, eliminating toxic materials, and employing design and technology based upon nature – is a prescription for business success, greater profitability and market share, improved employee morale, shareholder enthusiasm and customer loyalty.”
By implementing a fee on CO2, Congress can strengthen the incentive for businesses to take these steps. A revenue-neutral price on carbon will drive technological innovation and level the playing field for energy technologies without increasing the size of government or restricting individual choices.
Conservative economists and political leaders agree that pricing CO2 is the right policy step. Three former Treasury Secretaries have been vocal in their support: Henry Paulson, George Shultz and James Baker. Carbon pricing also has the support of leading corporations, including energy giants ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, and consumer products companies like GM, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo.
Despite this high-profile support, members of Congress need to hear that acting on climate is important to their constituents. We are coordinating a campaign for North Texas business leaders to urge their Representatives in the U.S. House to help advance a bill to price CO2.
We’re also planning a Business Roundtable event next spring, a forum for private sector leaders to talk about the progress they have made toward sustainability, the importance of it to their business operations and cultures, and the steps they are ready to take when a stronger market signal is in place.
31 Republicans and 31 Democrats in the House have joined the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus to evaluate policy options like carbon pricing. Support from constituents will encourage members of our North Texas delegation to join as well.
Your business can support this effort: contact us at NTX-BCL@citizensclimatelobby.org.
Ann Drumm and Larry Howe are volunteers in Dallas and Plano for the nonpartisan organization Citizens’ Climate Lobby.