Groups Slam Exxon for Deceptive Support of Carbon Tax Plan
Environmental organizations are calling foul on a carbon tax and dividend plan announced today that was supported by ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and other influential businesses, individuals and organizations.
The Climate Leadership Council, developed by former cabinet members James Baker and George Shultz, have crafted a plan designed to fight climate change by taxing carbon emissions and then redirecting that levy to taxpayers.
While the proposal has been touted as a free market, "conservative climate solution," it also calls for the rolling back of Obama-era climate regulations and shields polluting companies from lawsuits over their contribution to climate change.
That sounds all-too convenient for a certain fossil fuel giant that's under investigation for exactly that, environmentalists pointed out. Experts also suggested that the chances that Congress would pass a carbon tax in the near future were low and would require bipartisan support.
"Exxon is signing onto this carbon tax proposal because they know it's dead-on-arrival, but hope it will distract from the ongoing investigations into whether the company lied to the public and its investors about climate change," Jamie Henn, 350.org strategic communications director, said.
"We already know from the New York Attorney General's investigation that Exxon misled investors about its internal carbon tax, stating one price externally but using a lower internal price to double down on fossil fuel extraction. Exxon has a decades-long track record of misleading the public on climate change, this is just more of the same delay and deceit."
"ExxonMobil will try to dress this up as climate activism, but its key agenda is protecting executives from legal accountability for climate pollution and fraud," said Greenpeace climate liability project lead Naomi Ages.
"Buried in pages of supposedly 'free market' solutions is a new regulation exempting polluters from facing legal consequences for their role in fueling climate change."
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter noted how such a carbon tax plan would allow fossil fuel corporations to continue business as usual.
"That means continued oil and gas extraction, continued air and water pollution, and a continuing steady march toward irrevocable climate chaos," she said. "This plan being promoted by notable conservatives and their industry allies is particularly absurd: It would scrap many existing pollution controls—common sense rules that tackle carbon emissions at their source—in favor of a market-based scheme that would push added costs onto consumers, not polluters."
"Broadly speaking, there is no evidence that carbon taxes reduce carbon emissions," she added. "Many tax advocates point to a plan instituted in British Columbia in 2008 as evidence of the method's success in lowering emissions. In fact, carbon emissions actually increased in B.C. under the plan. When carbon taxes increase costs on fossil fuel corporations, those costs are simply passed down to consumers at the gas pump or store shelves."
"Only cutting carbon emissions at their source—by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning rapidly to clean, renewable energy—will quickly reduce emissions and effectively tackle the worst effects of impending climate chaos," she concluded.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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