Cargill official wary of carbon tax to fight climate change


U.S. group debates options | Risky Business members examine ways farmers and businesses can adapt to climate change

CHICAGO, Ill. (Reuters) — Cargill Inc. executive chair Gregory Page has refused to commit to a carbon tax as one of the steps needed to adapt to damaging climate change.

However, he said it is a “prescription” that agribusiness will have to evaluate.

Page, part of a new group dubbed Risky Business, which was formed to encourage business leaders to address climate change, was asked if he agreed with former U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson, another Risky Business member, that the United States should impose a carbon tax to boost alternative energy use and reduce fossil fuel emissions.

“I’m not going there,” Page said. 

“As a company, we debate this a lot.”

Paulson made his call for the carbon tax in an op-ed article in the New York Times June 22.

“Obviously, Hank has put down his chip that he’s in favour of pricing carbon and eliminating subsidies. That is one of the possible prescriptions,” Page said.

“We’ve watched different countries try different things. The one we’ve observed the most is just blunt force; mandates … haven’t worked particularly well.”

However, the group’s main goal is to document the costs of not dealing with climate change rather than make prescriptions.

“We think the best discussion is going to take place if we get more people at least willing to consider what are the plausible scenarios that we might have to get ourselves prepared for,” Page said.

Climate change and effects such as drought, floods and extreme temperatures affect agricultural production of crops and livestock.

However, Page acknowledged that doubt about climate change is widespread among U.S. farmers.

The first Risky Business climate report, which was issued in late June, details shifting patterns of crop yields in coming decades, with “likely gains for northern farmers offset by losses in the Midwest and south.”

Page said Cargill has been pushing climate change adaptation throughout the company, such as using methane from its waste water pools at meat plants to replace natural gas and changing its packaging, transportation and supply chain procedures.


  • Dwane Lauinger

    I agree with Gregory Page’s decision to refuse to commit to a carbon tax,…because even as mankind ties to limit carbon emissions,…there is another volcanic eruption somewhere on earth that more than reverses our good intentions…. So why tax carbon emissions, or even try to reduce carbon emissions, when they’re a natural occurrence? Mankind must adapt to a changing climate, and destructive weather patterns, how,…by being more prepared for them when they do occur….

    CHICAGO, Ill. (Reuters) — Cargill Inc. executive chair Gregory Page has refused to commit to a carbon tax as one of the steps needed to adapt to damaging climate change.
 Read on….

    Ian Rutherford Plimer is an Australian geologist, professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne , professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide , and the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companies. He has published 130 scientific papers, six books and edited the Encyclopedia of Geology.

    12 February 1946 (age 67)
    Earth Science,Geology,Mining Engineering
    University of New England ,University of Newcastle ,University of Melbourne , University of Adelaide
    Alma mater
    University of New South Wales , Macquarie University
    The pipe deposits of tungsten-molybdenum-bismuth in eastern Australia (1976)
    Notable awards
    Eureka Prize(1995,2002),Centenary Medal(2003), Clarke Medal(2004)
    Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?
    Professor Ian Plimer could not have said it better!
    If you’ve read his book you will agree, this is a good summary.

    PLIMER: “Okay, here’s the bombshell. The volcanic eruption in Iceland . Since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet – all of you.
    Of course, you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress – it’s that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans and all animal life.
    I know….it’s very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kids “The Green Revolution” science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50p light bulbs with £5 light bulbs …… Well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.
    The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in just four days – yes, FOUR DAYS – by that volcano in Iceland has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud at any one time – EVERY DAY.
    I don’t really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth.
    Yes, folks, Mt. Pinatubo was active for over one year – think about it!!!!
    Of course, I shouldn’t spoil this ‘touchy-feely tree-hugging’ moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keeps happening despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.
    And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud, but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.
    Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you, on the basis of the bogus ‘human-caused’ climate-change scenario.
    Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention ‘Global Warming’ anymore, but just ‘Climate Change’ – you know why? It’s because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past few years and these global warming bull artists got caught with their pants down.
    And, just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme – that whopping new tax – imposed on you that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer. It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.

    But, hey, relax……give the world a hug and have a nice day!”

    • Bart

      Dwane, even though I understand the worry about the evils of Nature, there’s zero chance any volcano could entirely reverse the effects of carbon pricing as Plimer claimed.

      Even just the carbon pricing in tiny British Columbia — an economy the size of South Carolina — has reduced more carbon emission every year for the past six years than all the volcanic eruptions have added in that entire time. Volcanic eruption cools the Earth by blocking incoming sunlight, and the amount of CO2 in any one eruption is less than a tenth of one percent of what humans burn in a year. has links to legitimate studies that you can check for yourself.

      Oh, and British Columbia?

      One of the strongest economies in the world for its size, weathered 2008 while doubling its carbon tax, then more than redoubling it again, with economists agreeing there’s no evidence the carbon tax did any harm, and plenty of evidence of economic stimulus there. Alberta has carbon pricing too, and no one there is complaining of a slow economy because of it.

      If you want to have a strong economy to face the changing climate, price the carbon emissions that have destabilized the climate.

  • mememine69

    If 32 years of science never being 100% certain and nothing beyond their laughable 95% certainty that THE END IS NEAR is good enough for you to fear monger your own children just because you HATE neocons so much then who’s the neocon?
    Science is however 110% sure the planet is not flat and you remaining “believers” fear mongering our children are doomed to be nothing but end of the world freaks for the history books. Deny that.