Can semantics help save the planet?
A showdown between leaders of Chevron Corp and the Sierra Club on Wednesday night revealed a number of shared beliefs between the two California institutions, particularly about the need for a transparent way of pricing carbon.
The debate at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on Wednesday night pitted Chevron CEO David O’Reilly against Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, and both agreed that limiting carbon emissions should involve some sort of levy imposed by the government – if only there was a word for such a thing.
“It would be much cleaner if there was a transparent cost on carbon that one could see,” O’Reilly said.
The moderator suggested that was a ‘tax’. “Nobody wants to talk about it,” O’Reilly replied.
“Call it a fee,” Pope then suggested.
They also agreed that legislation which is workable in California or other states was not so easy to sell at a national level, even though the White House now seemed supportive, according to Pope.