Exxon’s new chief endorses carbon tax to combat climate change

In his first blog post since succeeding Rex Tillerson, the new head of Exxon Mobil Corp. focused on climate change, calling for a carbon tax to discourage use of polluting fuels.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said a revenue-neutral carbon tax “would promote greater energy efficiency and the use of today’s lower-carbon options, avoid further burdening the economy, and also provide incentives for markets to develop additional low-carbon energy solutions for the future.”

The comments, which mirror statements made by Tillerson as CEO and reflect Exxon’s stance over the past years, are the first from Woods since he took office last month. Tillerson now serves as the secretary of state under U.S. President Donald Trump, who has pledged to ease the regulatory burden that former President Barack Obama’s administration imposed on the oil and gas industry in a bid to fight climate change and protect air and water quality.

Woods’ position is a continuation of a long-standing corporate policy implemented during Tillerson’s 11-year reign at the world’s biggest oil company by market value. A key component is Exxon’s insistence that the tax be revenue-neutral, which means other taxes would be scaled back so the government’s take wouldn’t be any greater.

Woods, an electrical engineer by training, said low-emission fuels such as natural gas, carbon capture and biofuels will play important roles in helping nations meet the Paris climate accord. Exxon spent $7 billion on low-emission energy research and projects during the past 15 years, he said in the post on Exxon’s Energy Factor blog.

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