The days of polluting the atmosphere for free are soon over, and a price on carbon is all but inevitable. At least, that's what some of the nation's largest companies, including Big Oil, appear to have decided. Internal documents analyzed by the environmental data company CDP reveal that at least 29 companies have included a government tax on carbon in their long-term planning.
According to the New York Times, the information reflects a major rift between the ideological and economic goals of the Republican Party. While lawmakers, Tea Parties and the Koch brothers continue to do everything possible to fight climate policy, companies are realizing it makes good business sense to prepare for increased regulation. All five major oil companies -- ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips,Chevron, BP and Shell -- despite their close ties to the Republican Party, were revealed to have incorporated a carbon price into their budgets.
"I think, going beyond the vagaries of party politics, actually companies realize this is coming over the medium- or long-term horizon at least, so they need to plan for it," Tom Rivett-Carnac, the president of CDP for North America, told the Huffington Post. "This is prudent planning in that scenario."
For now, including the anticipated tax in their budgets helps drive their internal decision making, Carnac said. But both supporters and opponents of regulation agree that such planning could mean they're more likely to accept, and even support, climate policies in the future.