The head of the world's largest publicly trade company has been on the pro-carbon tax circuit for at least two years now. For many folks, including environmentalists and policymakers, Tillerson lacks credibility.
It's not so much that he leads the largest energy company in the U.S. It has more to do with the company's active denial of climate change -- a stance it has since backed away from a little bit.
Putting Exxon's past aside, for a moment, what about a carbon tax? Is it a better alternative and would it be worth pursuing here in the U.S.?
To manage the risks of climate change, Tillerson said, the most effective policy will:
- have a predictable cost for emissions;
- allow markets to select best emission-reduction methods through investments and technology;
- simple government oversight structure;
- maximize cost transparency;
- encourage global participation
Certainly, many economists have supported a carbon tax as well. But is this all too little, too late?
Tillerson doesn't seem to think so.
"I firmly believe it is not too late for Congress to consider a carbon tax as the better policy approach for addressing the risks of climate. Indeed, there has never been a more opportune time for Congress to pursue this course of action."But if Congress came up with a climate change policy built on a carbon tax, would Exxon support it?
Image of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson from Exxon