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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

'Climate-industrial complex,' media, politicians reap cash bonanza

  • Biggest wind turbine manufacturer buys advertising time from CNN; MLB supports Duke Energy; $51 million spent on lobbyists in 6 months. Enron pioneered carbon scams; Al Gore axis of cash.

"Some business leaders are cozying up with politicians and scientists to demand swift, drastic action on global warming. This is a new twist on a very old practice: companies using public policy to line their own pockets.

  • The tight relationship between the groups echoes the relationship among weapons makers, researchers and the U.S. military during the Cold War. President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned about the might of the "military-industrial complex," cautioning that "the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."...

This is certainly true of climate change.

  • that this approach does not pass a basic cost-benefit test.

We must ask whether a "climate-industrial complex" is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money

  • to please those who stand to gain.

This phenomenon will be on display at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen this weekend. The organizers -- the Copenhagen Climate Council -- hope to push political leaders into more drastic promises when they negotiate the Kyoto Protocol's replacement in December.

  • that a climate-scared world would buy.

Naturally, many CEOs are genuinely concerned about global warming. But many of the most vocal stand to profit from carbon regulations. The term used by economists for their behavior is "rent-seeking."

A fellow council member, Mr. Gore's green investment firm Generation Investment Management, warns of a significant risk to the U.S. economy unless a price is quickly placed on carbon.

  • Even companies that are not heavily engaged in green business stand to gain.

European energy companies made tens of billions of euros in the first years of the European Trading System

American electricity utility Duke Energy, a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council, has long promoted a U.S. cap-and-trade scheme.

  • Yet the company bitterly opposed the Warner-Lieberman bill in the U.S. Senate that would have created such a scheme

The Waxman-Markey bill in the House of Representatives

U.S. companies and interest groups involved with climate change hired 2,430 lobbyists just last year, up 300% from five years ago. Fifty of the biggest U.S. electric utilities -- including Duke --

The massive transfer of wealth that many businesses seek is not necessarily good for the rest of the economy. Spain has been proclaimed a global example in providing financial aid to renewable energy companies to create green jobs. But research shows that each new job cost Spain 571,138 euros,

Moreover, the programs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs for every job created.

When the Kyoto Protocol was signed, an internal memo was sent within Enron that stated, "If implemented, [the Kyoto Protocol] will do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory business."

The World Business Summit will hear from "science and public policy leaders" seemingly

They include James Lovelock, who believes that much of Europe will be Saharan and London will be underwater within 30 years; Sir Crispin Tickell, who believes that the United Kingdom's population needs to be cut by two-thirds so the country can cope with global warming; and Timothy Flannery, who warns of sea level rises as high as "an eight-story building."

Free speech is important. But these visions of catastrophe are a long way outside of mainstream scientific opinion, and they go much further than the careful findings of the United Nations panel of climate change scientists. When it comes to sea-level rise, for example, the United Nations expects a rise of between seven and 23 inches by 2100 --

  • considerably less than a one-story building.

There would be an outcry -- and rightfully so -- if big oil organized a climate change conference and invited only climate-change deniers.

The climate-industrial complex does not promote discussion on how to overcome this challenge in a way that will be best for everybody. We should not be surprised or impressed that

"Mr. Lomborg is director of the Copenhagen Consensus, a think tank, and author of "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming" (Knopf, 2007)." via Lucianne.com

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