Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0: https://bit.ly/3Lm00HP

Americans for Tax Reform opposes a new bill by Reps. John Curtis (R-Utah) and Scott Peters (D-Calif.), which would create an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) database and lay the groundwork for carbon taxes.

The “Providing Reliable, Objective, Verifiable Emissions Intensity and Transparency Act,” also known as the “PROVE IT Act,” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill would empower President Biden’s Energy Secretary to create a public database of the average “carbon emissions intensity” of a number of product categories produced in the United States and abroad, ranging from oil and natural gas to aluminum, solar panels, and critical minerals.

According to a press release from Rep. Curtis, nine other Republicans have joined Democrats in cosponsoring the bill, including Reps. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.), Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Celeste Maloy (R-Utah), Blake Moore (R-Utah), Maria Salazar (R-Fla.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.). Democratic Party cosponsors include Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Troy Carter (D-La.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), Seth Magaziner (D-R.I.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.).

A Senate version of the bill was previously introduced as S. 1863, led by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).

The ultimate goal of creating the database outlined in the bill, as sponsors of the PROVE IT Act have themselves admitted in the past, is to use it as a mechanism for imposing taxes and tariffs on carbon dioxide emissions, which will increase costs on every American family. In the meantime, the database can be used to push forward the leftwing ESG agenda.

Environmental activist groups and Biden administration agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), would like nothing more than to collect and publish data on the carbon emissions of various producers to harass and intimidate businesses. In fact, the SEC already finalized a rule to compel public companies to disclose their Scope 1 and 2 emissions. The PROVE IT Act would mimic the SEC by collecting similar data—all on the taxpayer dime. It’s unthinkable that the data produced by this study wouldn’t make its way into ESG scores and influence which types of companies are included in ESG funds, further moving investment priorities away from financial returns and fiduciary duty. Taxpayer funds should not be used in pursuit of this partisan political agenda.

Moreover, the production of this database by the government serves as a tacit threat to investors: the industries and companies named-and-shamed by the report will represent a primary target list for bureaucrats to issue further climate regulations.

Even before Congress approves carbon taxes or tariffs, Biden’s regulators are arbitrarily discouraging investment in “carbon intensive” industries. Lawmakers should avoid helping the Biden administration attain its policy goals. 

Americans for Tax Reform joined a coalition of more than 40 conservative organizations in a letter to members of Congress last month, asking them to oppose the PROVE IT Act. ATR urges all members of Congress to oppose this bill.