Like so many in states across America, Illinois families have taken a serious economic hit this year. But Illinois has an opportunity to tackle the need for cleaner, lower-emissions energy while creating more jobs and new opportunities across the entire state. That’s what Springfield lawmakers can deliver by passing clean-energy legislation.
As one of Illinois’ diverse energy providers, BP applauds the principles Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently put forward for a clean, renewable economy and urges state legislators to seize this moment for a comprehensive climate bill that includes a price on carbon.
Why? Because as Pritzker points out: “Implementing a carbon price makes dirty energy less competitive, reduces emissions, creates room for renewable-energy development and raises revenue for the state.” In addition to lowering emissions from transportation, power, manufacturing and industry and agriculture, an economywide carbon price offers a market-based path to growing jobs and igniting investment in new technology. It could also position the Land of Lincoln as a national leader in the low-carbon economy.
First, jobs. Putting a price on emissions incentivizes people and businesses to change behavior, but it also gives private companies the regulatory certainty they need to invest and hire new workers.
On greenhouse-gas emissions, the data shows that cap-and-invest programs in California and the East Coast helped reduce emissions at significantly higher rates relative to the rest of the U.S.
In California, greenhouse-
gas emissions per capita have declined 24 percent. The east coast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative helped nine participating states lower emissions from the power sector at a rate almost double the rest of the U.S. from 2008 to 2019. Critically, gross domestic product in those states outpaced growth elsewhere by 31 percent over the same period, proving legislators don’t have to choose between the economy or the environment.
Carbon pricing would also spark innovation for exciting low-carbon technology such as carbon capture, use and storage; clean hydrogen; and more. Illinois’ geology is good for carbon capture, but the state needs a legal and regulatory framework to support these projects.
There’s also opportunity for new businesses to reduce emissions from livestock operations and municipal landfills by capturing methane, turning it into energy and monetizing it for farmers and rural communities — again, if the proper framework is created.
It’s fair to ask: Why is an integrated energy company like BP advocating for carbon pricing? Because it aligns with our own low-carbon ambition. Because we see business opportunity. Most of all, because we believe this is the right thing to do.
This past February, BP announced our ambition to become a net-zero-carbon-emissions company by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get there, too. Our own ambition matches up well with Pritzker’s to put Illinois on the same path.
We also see business opportunity in the energy transition. Across the Midwest, BP’s activities include natural gas, solar, renewable natural gas, wind, electric power, retail, refining and trading. We recently launched a new team to help regions, cities and corporations decarbonize, leveraging BP’s expertise to identify innovative, integrated and low-carbon energy solutions for governments and businesses worldwide.
But while companies like BP can — and must — play a leading role in bringing about a lower-carbon future, effective government policy is essential. The world isn’t moving fast enough to curb emissions. As Pritzker observed, “The urgent need to address climate change and create jobs means that now is the time to transition to a clean-energy economy.”
Pritzker’s lower-carbon aspirations for Illinois are just the kind of vision and public-sector leadership the state needs to seize the new opportunities and jobs that will come with a clean-energy economy. As he and Illinois lawmakers develop the framework for comprehensive climate legislation, they will find an ally in BP.