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Major oil companies, utilities are planning for a carbon tax, report shows

From the December 9, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published December 9, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson

More than 25 large U.S. corporations, including five major oil companies and several electric utilities, are building a carbon price into their financial planning, The New York Times reported Dec. 5. They "are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming," the Times said.

An environmental data company, CDP, issued a report that says the five major oil companies — ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, BP and Shell — are incorporating a carbon price into their strategic plans.

"Many major publicly traded companies operating or based in the United States have integrated an 'internal carbon price' as a core element in their ongoing business strategies," says the report, Use of internal carbon price by companies as incentive and strategic planning tool.

"Such carbon pricing has become standard operating practice in business planning, in that the companies acknowledge the process of ongoing climate change — including extreme and unpredictable weather events — as a key relevant business factor for which they wish to be prepared," the report said.

"Many companies across the United States have come to recognize that there is a price associated with the carbon they emit and an economic opportunity in factoring a carbon price into their business model," said Tom Carnac, president of CDP North America. "Companies view the establishment of an internal carbon price as both an evaluation of risk and a business opportunity if they take steps to limit carbon pollution before others do."

ExxonMobil is assuming a cost of $60 per metric ton by 2030, while BP currently uses $40 per metric ton, the report said. Xcel Energy cites use of $20 per ton.

The utilities cited in the report are Ameren Corp., American Electric Power, CMS Energy Corp., Duke Energy, Entergy, Integrys Energy Group, PG&E and Xcel.



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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro