Mark Udall’s Wife Partners with Leonardo DiCaprio to Call for Carbon Tax

Leonardo DiCaprio begins series of anti-oil, anti-fracking videos

Leonardo Dicaprio and Al Gore together for Earth Day in 2007 / AP
August 28, 2014

Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall’s (Colo.) wife called for a carbon tax while appearing in a new anti-oil video produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

"People are ready for conversation," says Maggie Fox, Udall’s wife and former president of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, in the Green World Rising video, entitled, "Carbon."

"They’re ready to understand that carbon pollution is causing this challenge and that there is a simple solution: put a price on carbon pollution," she says.

DiCaprio is releasing a series of environmentalist videos on climate change, the first focusing on gathering support for a cap and trade system. A dark animated robot represents the oil and gas industry, and is shown grabbing money from the ground, producing nothing but black smoke into the atmosphere.

The video states that there is a "moral reason" for a carbon tax, and features Fox; self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.); Joseph Romm, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Eamon Ryan, the leader of the Irish Green Party, and others.

DiCaprio, who flies "around the world doing good for the environment," narrates the video. He calls fossil fuels, black oil, coal, and gas an "ancient menace," and attacks the oil and gas industry.

"They drill, they extract, making trillions of dollars," he says. "They frack, they mine, earning astronomical profits. We need to keep this carbon in the ground."

The video ends with the message: "Your community can defeat the carbon monster."

Fox recently stepped down as president and CEO of the Climate Reality Project, which was founded by former Vice President and environmentalist activist Al Gore. In a statement announcing her departure, Gore said Fox joined the Climate Reality Project to "guide" the failed cap and trade push in Congress in 2009.

Gore said Fox led the organization’s efforts to "combat the climate denial cottage-industry." He said Fox joined him at a training event in South Africa for "Climate Reality Leaders" this March, where they called for a "market price on carbon and a political price on denial."

"Faced with the realization that the well-funded and pervasive climate denial industry was winning the broader cultural battle, The Climate Reality Project took up the mantle to dispel doubt and spread the immediate reality of climate change with innovative organizing and communication initiatives designed to transform the cultural conversation," Fox said, when describing their work.

Sen. Udall’s campaign did not return request for comment on whether he agrees with his wife’s position, and the video’s anti-fracking and anti-oil stance. On his Senate website, Udall says he supports putting a "common-sense price on carbon."

In the video, Fox, who worked for the environmentalist Sierra Club for 20 years, claims that the United States spends $110 billion dollars on "climate change events" a year, in her argument to tax carbon emissions.

"In the 50s in London—based on the Industrial Revolution—there was so much pollution, as you see in Beijing and around China today, that you actually couldn’t see six straight feet in front of you," she says. "They put a price on pollution and it changed."

"What Maggie Fox endorses—and what is touted in the video—is a job-killing, zero benefit to the environment carbon tax that Australia just repealed this year because it did not work," said Michael Sandoval, an energy policy analyst with the Colorado-based Independence Institute. "Increasing energy prices with a costly tax on carbon might satisfy the wishes of eco-extremists like Fox, but it only attacks small businesses, endangers low income residents, and reduces the number of good paying jobs in the economy."

Green World Rising proposes taxing carbon dioxide emissions at $100 per ton, or more, as necessary for "saving humanity from global warming-induced extinction."

"The concept of a carbon tax is simple: make it expensive to pollute carbon," DiCaprio’s website states. "Once a carbon tax is implemented, polluters would have to pay a tax for every ton of CO2 or other greenhouse gas they pollute. That tax can range anywhere from $20 per ton of CO2 all the way up to $100 or even higher."

Both DiCaprio and Gore’s environmental advocacy has been criticized as hypocritical, given their lavish lifestyles and large carbon footprints. DiCaprio throws parties on the 482-foot yacht owned by the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, which generates its wealth from oil. Gore has racked up $30,000 electricity bills.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation financed the production of the video, which had footage provided by Greenpeace. RT America is also listed in the credits as contributing to the video’s production.