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Microsoft joins Climate Leadership Council with some controversy

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft this month joined (opens in new tab) the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), a group that advocates for a gradually increasing fee on carbon dioxide emissions in exchange for shielding companies from emissions-related lawsuits and striking some current regulations implemented to combat climate change.

Founded by former secretaries of state James Baker and George Shultz, the currently includes a number of oil companies like BP, Shell, and Exxon Mobil among its founding members. Outside of oil companies, Pepsico, Unilever, and GM, among others, have also signed on, but Microsoft is the first technology company to join the group.

"We are getting extremely impatient, frankly, for policy action on climate change," Microsoft's Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa told The Guardian. "We support a carbon fee because we believe it's a policy mechanism that works and accords with economic principles. For us, joining the CLC gives us the opportunity to have this debate at a federal level."

A particular sticking point in Microsoft's decision to join the group, however, is its proposal to grant companies immunity from lawsuits brought over the effects of historical emissions and the slashing of current climate change regulations. Under the CLC's proposed plan, those concessions would come in exchange for a carbon fee of $40 a ton, and that fee would "increase steadily over time." Funds from the fee, under the proposal, "would be returned to the American people on an equal and quarterly basis via dividend checks, direct deposits or contributions to their individual retirement accounts."

In a statement to The Guardian, Matthew Pawa, a King county lawyer currently involved in lawsuits against BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell, described the CLC's proposal for addressing climate change as a "raw deal" for taxpayers.

"Microsoft and other tech companies have been looking for a whizz-bang technocratic solution to climate change and they think this is it," Pawa said. "But they don't know what they are doing. This is a raw deal that would stick taxpayers with the bill for decades of carbon pollution. It's much like the NRA trying to get Congress to give them a free pass from our system of legal justice."

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

6 Comments
  • Welcome to the beginning of the 21st Century post-petroleum, carbon economy.
  • "a gradually increasing fee on carbon dioxide" Tax what we naturally exhale and green plants need to thrive? How deranged. There's been only one Man in all of human history who could control the weather, and leftists hate Him.
  • You're the one sounding deranged here. Seriously.
  • Isn't it a woman that controls nature?
  • Yes, because a human can exhale several Tons of CO2 per day, so it's the same thing.
  • Um you missed the bit where this involves science. It's an evidence based thing applied by a lot of people to try and make sense of stuff. I'm no science person, but I'd say if we were just producing carbon dioxide via exhaling we and the plants would be tops. Unfortunately through various industries we're producing it at a magnitude beyond the capacity of our environment to absorb, so we need to look at other means to reduce it. Hope that helps.