More companies moving to price carbon — report

Source: Arianna Skibell, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017

More than 1,200 business across the globe, including U.S. companies like General Motors Co., are voluntarily assigning a dollar value to carbon dioxide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming, according to a report.

In the report, out today, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions outlines corporate pricing structures in the first study of its kind since the election.

President Trump has said putting a price on carbon would stymie economic growth and hurt businesses. His administration disbanded an interagency working group that sets the social cost of carbon and banned agencies from using the metric in the rulemaking process. Republican representatives are also trying to ban the measure through pending appropriations legislation.

Still, many businesses are under pressure from activist investors who are concerned about climate change and are opting for a carbon fee, according to the report.

Despite Trump’s announcement that he intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the international accord along with other recent global initiatives — like the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and a pact to limit airline emissions under the International Civil Aviation Organization — demonstrate growing momentum toward a low-carbon transition, the report states.

Companies increasingly are seeing low-carbon operations as inevitable and working to prepare for that transition.

The report’s findings are based on information disclosed to an organization called CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. The authors found that 517 companies have implemented carbon pricing and 732 plan to follow suit in the next couple of years.

About 80 companies in the United States have put a price on carbon, and 130 plan to in the next two years, according to the report. Notable businesses that have already put a carbon pricing structure in place include Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, Microsoft Corp. and General Motors.

And many are finding success. For example, the carbon fee structure has enabled Microsoft to reduce its emissions by 9.5 million metric tons since 2012, when the company implemented the practice.

Among other avenues, the authors collected information from a comprehensive review of Fortune 500 companies, interviews with 20 corporate executives and case studies of internal carbon proving approaches.