Surprise! Obama benefits corporate cronies via new greenhouse gas regulations
Supporters of President Obama claim that businesses that oppose his new “greenhouse gas” regulations (a.k.a. the return of cap-and-tax) are greedy capitalists who care more about profits than people. In contrasts, those who support the regulations are farsighted humanitarians willing to compromise with the administration for the greater good. Writing in the Washington Examiner, the indispensable Tim Carney explains that the truth is more complex than that. As is usually the case with government regulations, some corporations benefit while others are losers. (Linked here with excerpts below):
Corporate lobbyists are divided on Obama’s current climate push, for a perfectly sensible reason: Obama’s rules benefit some companies while hurting others. This isn’t new. The history of climate policy is a story of some businesses seeing profit in regulation, and thus lobbying for regulation, and others seeing only costs, and thus lobbying against regulation.
Al Gore made the first serious push to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The-then Vice President endorsed the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. The Clinton White House, however, soon realized Congress would never ratify the treaty. This didn’t stop the Treaty’s biggest boosters from trying, though.
“This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!” That was the bottom line of a 1997 memo by John Palmisano, an environmental policy executive at the notorious energy giant. Throughout the memo, Palmisano referred to various Enron “victories,” such as a slush fund for renewable energy, the creation of a trading scheme in emissions credits and rules that would favor natural gas over its competitors coal and oil.
So Enron liked a policy that helped it get government money for reducing U.S. emissions. Environmentalists applaud that. But that same Enron memo also defended Kyoto’s exemption for the developing world: Poor countries wouldn’t be covered by the same emissions rules affecting the U.S. Guess what Enron was doing in Africa, Asia, and South America at the time? Building coal-fired power plants.
If Enron was burning coal in Africa, it would benefit from the U.S. shutting down coal-fired plants, because that would lower the global coal price. Making it more profitable for Enron to burn coal in Nigeria is an odd feature of a climate policy.
When Enron died, its heir in climate policy was the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. USCAP brought together the same environmental groups that used to applaud Enron with companies like General Electric and DuPont.
USCAP lobbied for a federal “cap-and-trade” scheme in emissions credits, similar to that required by Kyoto and currently proposed by Obama’s EPA. One USCAP member, AES, was pulling an Enron — lobbying to limit coal use in the U.S., while opening coal-fired plants in the developing world…
ack in 2007, when the Supreme Court first ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant (and thus covered by the Clean Air Act), energy giants Calpine and Entergy filed an amicus curiae brief with the court supporting federal regulation of CO2.
In an April Supreme Court case on emissions where the EPA beat a power company, Calpine filed another pro-regulation amicus brief, along with energy giant Exelon.
Most industry lobbyists will oppose Obama’s current rules, but many will see profit in them. One lobby, called “Advanced Energy Economy,” is applauding Obama. “We see this as a real opportunity,” said Malcolm Woolf, an Obama donor and AEE’s top lobbyist. AEE represents companies like First Solar and Johns Mansville, a manufacturer owned by billionaire Obama lobbyist Warren Buffett.
Each time one of these corporate-green collaborations occur, Democrats or the mainstream liberal media declare some sort of great breakthrough and a sign of consensus. This climate policy is so necessary and reasonable that even Corporate America is on board!!!