API president puts low odds on carbon tax proposal

API President Jack Gerard (Bloomberg)

Former Secretary of State James Baker is pushing it on Capitol Hill. The largest oil companies in the world, including Exxon Mobil, have endorsed it.

But Jack Gerard, president of American Petroleum Institute, says the math on getting a carbon tax passed right now is difficult.

“We don’t have a position on carbon tax, but as we look at in the current political construct I think it would be very difficult,” he said during an interview at CERAWeek Tuesday. “I don’t think we’re going to see Republican leadership in the House or Senate give serious consideration to a carbon tax.”

Baker, who served as Secretary of State under former president George H.W. Bush,  joined last month with former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Walmart Chairman Rob Walton in urging President Donald Trump to back a proposal that would tax carbon emissions and then return that money to U.S. taxpayers through a dividend payment.

But Gerard argues getting any deal on carbon emissions will be difficult in the aftermath of the failed 2009 effort by Democratic congressmen Henry Waxman and Edward Markey.

“They over reached, and I think it set back the conversation for many years,” he said.