Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Aliyah Rich, (571) 306-0483 

Press Release

Don’t Buy API’s Reversal on Carbon Pricing—Big Oil Stands in the Way of Bold Climate Action

Tepid alternative long opposed, climate science long denied by many of trade group’s members.

In response to the Biden-Harris administration’s promises of bold action to address the existential threat of climate change, the American Petroleum Institute (API) is reportedly preparing to announce its support for a tax on carbon emissions. The far more conservative and timid approach to addressing the climate crisis is hardly surprising given the fact that many of the trade group’s members have long denied climate science in the first place. 

“When it comes to the threat of climate change, the President and Vice President have promised bold action. It is hardly surprising to see Big Oil now clamoring for a tepid alternative it long opposed,” said Kyle Herrig, president of government watchdog Accountable.US. “Washington would be foolish to trust the American Petroleum Institute’s eleventh hour conversation after it spent decades and millions of dollars attempting to undermine trust in climate science and derail attempts by policymakers to meaningfully address this humanity-threatening crisis.” 

  • API Plans To Support “Economy-Wide Carbon Pricing As The Primary Government Climate Policy,” According To A Draft Press Release.“The American Petroleum Institute, one of the most powerful trade associations in Washington, is poised to embrace putting a price on carbon emissions as a policy that would “lead to the most economic paths to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement,” according to a draft statement reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “API supports economy-wide carbon pricing as the primary government climate policy instrument to reduce CO2 emissions while helping keep energy affordable, instead of mandates or prescriptive regulatory action,” the draft statement says.” [Wall Street Journal, 03/01/21
  • API Has Previously Been A Major Opponent To Carbon Pricing. “API was one of the fiercest opponents just more than a decade ago when Congress last considered major legislation on the issue, a plan to have emitters pay and trade for their contributions to climate change.” [Wall Street Journal, 03/01/21
  • A Carbon Tax Is Still Controversial Within API, With Many Members Opposed To The Policy. “Internally, many API members staunchly oppose endorsing a carbon tax or imposing standards for the use of renewable energy, according to one person familiar with the internal discussions who described them as “heated.” The organization had similar internal conflicts over its position on methane-emissions regulations, which the Trump administration had moved to undo at the request of independent producers.” [Wall Street Journal, 03/01/21
  • Some Lobbyists Have Stated Rumors Of Endorsing Carbon Pricing Is Only A Way For API To Calm Debate Amongst Members On Climate Regulations. “Several lobbyists told ME the "leaked" news of a carbon endorsement was merely the API trying to calm warring factions among its membership, which includes a mix of international companies that may not mind a carbon tax if it keeps them in regulators' good graces and those who want to fight against it.” [Politico, 03/03/21


Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog that exposes corruption in public life and holds government officials and corporate special interests accountable by bringing their influence and misconduct to light. In doing so, we make way for policies that advance the interests of all Americans, not just the rich and powerful. 

Eliminating Nuclear Weapons 'Is Not Only Possible, It Is Necessary': UN Chief

"At a moment of rising geopolitical division, mistrust, and outright aggression, we are in danger of forgetting the terrible lessons of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Cold War, and inciting a humanitarian Armageddon," warns António Guterres.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Huge Victory': Starbucks Agrees to Begin Contract Talks With 230+ Union Stores

"We've been ready to bargain since day one," said one union leader, "but now we're operating together on a national level to make sure all of our voices are heard, together."

Jake Johnson ·

Sinema Calls for Restoring 60-Vote Filibuster for Senate Confirmations

"What she's saying," wrote one critic, "is this: 'Let's make what's already the most undemocratic body in government positively anti-democratic by enshrining minority rule.'"

Kenny Stancil ·

On Eve of Senate Vote, Activists Make Last 'Big Push' Against Manchin 'Dirty Deal'

"Our elected congressional representatives cannot bless a backroom deal brokered by fossil fuel industry lobbyists that promises untold damage to American communities like mine," said one frontline activist.

Brett Wilkins ·

'We Aren't Going to War': Draft Officer Shot Amid Russian Anger Over Conscription

A 25-year-old reportedly opened fire at a military recruitment office in Irkutsk after his best friend received draft papers.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo