Moreover, the report continues, “Our perverse pay incentives are also encouraging executives to deploy their considerable corporate political clout against attempts to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, or introduce regulations that could speed the transition to a safe energy future.”
The analysis comes just after President Barack Obama visited Alaska to promote a shift to renewable energy, even as his administration continues to approve offshore oil drilling in the Arctic’s vulnerable Chukchi and Beaufort seas—remote waters just off the coast from where the president gave his speech.
“I think our numbers show that CEO pay encourages executives to behave in a way that is deepening the climate crisis,” said co-author Sarah Anderson. “If we don’t reverse these perverse incentives, we all remain at risk.”
Some of the top-earning executives named in the IPS report include:
The IPS report proposes a number of solutions to alleviate the crisis. Among them are already-passed bills and provisions, such as those within the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law which require all U.S. corporations to reveal CEO-worker pay ratios and allow shareholders a say on compensation, among other rules.
However, as Common Dreams has previously reported, less than two-thirds of Dodd-Frank’s regulations have been enacted five years after the bill’s passage into law.
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Robin Roberts, an accounting professor at the University of Florida, told Inside Climate News that such efforts could help limit excessive payouts, but that even increased transparency would not be able to temper the conflict between short-term incentives for executives and long-term climate impacts.
“They are depending on fossil fuels to drive their profit with very little regard for low carbon energy solutions,” Roberts said. “Those remain low priorities because those aren’t where they get the most money.”
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