WASHINGTON Dec 5 Major U.S. companies, from
Wal-Mart and Google Inc. to Shell and
ExxonMobil, are including future charges for carbon
emissions in their strategic plans, according to a report
released on Thursday.
The non-profit Climate Disclosure Project, which discloses
the greenhouse gas emissions of the world's biggest
corporations, found that 29 major companies that operate or are
headquartered in the United States, factor in an "internal
carbon price" of up to $60 per ton of emissions in their
Although the U.S. doesn't have federal rules that require
companies to pay for heat-trapping carbon pollution, many firms
expect such curbs in the future and have made allowances in
their budget for "shadow" carbon prices. These range from $6 to
$60 per ton of emissions to model a carbon-constrained scenario,
said the report by the UK-based CDP.
Indeed, many companies have made such provisions for years,
even as others have lobbied successfully against proposed
legislation in 2009 and 2010 that would have established a
market price for emissions, known as a cap-and-trade system.
ExxonMobil has assumed one of the highest carbon price
projections at $60 per tonne by 2030, the CDP report said.
Other oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell use a $40
carbon price, while Devon Energy set a carbon price of
$15 per tonne to "account for the cost or benefits associated
with any change in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from
Utility companies, which are preparing for direct regulation
by the Environmental Protection Agency of the greenhouse gas
emissions of their facilities by 2014, have also factored in
carbon pollution charges.
The Minnesota-based utility Xcel Energy has used a
$20 carbon price for years in its internal deliberations, while
Ameren Corp., based in Missouri, assumes a $30 per ton
cost by 2035.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, which has touted its
plan to curb carbon emissions in its supply chain, has a
confidential carbon price in place, CDP said, while software
giant Microsoft Corp. has said it incorporates a $6-$7
a ton carbon price in its internal planning.
The Obama administration has been using its own version of
an internal carbon price since 2010 to estimate the future
economic damage caused by carbon pollution, called the social
cost of carbon.
The measure is used by many arms of the U.S. government to
determine the financial benefits of new emissions regulations
put in place since 2010.
Earlier this year, the administration raised its 2020
forecast to $43 a ton, up 58 percent from its 2010 estimate.
Experts said the move would make it easier for agencies like
the EPA to crack down on emissions by showing that the greater
benefits of such measures would justify their cost.
The move to raise the social price of carbon pollution has
triggered a new bout of opposition by some energy companies and
major business lobbying groups such as the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce. They have argued that the administration's calculation
of its internal carbon price is opaque and should be open to
In response, the White House Office for Management and
Budget in November announced it would seek public comment for
its cost estimate.
The UK-based CDP collects disclosure data on behalf of 722
investor signatories. In 2013, about 1,000 US companies
disclosed their emission rates through the CDP.