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American Petroleum Institute agrees to carbon emissions pricing

An image of an oil field in Kern County, Calif. The American Petroleum Institute said Thursday it would support a plan for carbon emission pricing. Photo by Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock
An image of an oil field in Kern County, Calif. The American Petroleum Institute said Thursday it would support a plan for carbon emission pricing. Photo by Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock

March 25 (UPI) -- In a major shift in policy, the American Petroleum Institute announced Thursday it will endorse for the first time a price on carbon emissions after resisting such measures for years.

The API, the largest trade group that represents the oil and gas industries, said it would "advocate for sensible legislation that prices carbon across all economic sectors while avoiding regulatory duplication."

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Carbon prices are done by either a cap-and-trade system that allows companies to pay those with low emissions for extra emission allowances or a carbon tax that sets the rate companies must pay for carbon emissions it produces, according to the World Bank.

"Confronting the challenge of climate change and building a lower-carbon future will require a combination of government policies, industry initiatives and continuous innovation," API President and CEO Mike Sommers said in a statement.

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"As our industry accelerates efforts to advance groundbreaking technologies, reduce emissions and drive transparent and consistent climate reporting, we urge lawmakers to support market-based policies that foster innovation, including carbon pricing," Sommers said.

The American Petroleum Institute's announcement comes as the White House readies to unveil its major infrastructure plan, which is expected to include key proposals on curbing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to clean energy.

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Biden administration officials met with leaders from the API, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and others from the industry virtually on Monday.

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"America has made significant progress in reducing emissions to generational lows, but there's more work to do," Sommers said. "There's nobody better equipped to drive further progress than the people who solve some of the world's toughest energy problems every day."

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