The Climate Industrial Complex

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carbon rationing

Skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg has a depressing op/ed in the Wall Street Journal today about the emergence of the climate-industrial complex. Yesterday, the House Commerce and Energy Committee passed a cap-and-trade carbon rationing bill that would give away for free emissions permits (rationing coupons?) worth hundreds of billions of dollars to some of America's biggest corporations. As I explained in a column last month:

A 2007 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study reported the results of a hypothetical 23 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions (the Waxman-Markey bill proposes a 20 percent cut by 2020). The CBO found that "giving away allowances could yield windfall profits for the producers that received them by effectively transferring income from consumers to firms' owners and shareholders." And how big would the windfall be? "If all of the allowances were distributed for free to producers in the oil, natural gas, and coal sectors, stock values would double for oil and gas producers and increase more than sevenfold for coal producers, compared with projected values in the absence of a cap," concluded the CBO report.

In 2007 Congressional testimony, then-CBO Director Peter Orszag explained, "The government could either raise $100 by selling allowances and then give that amount in cash to particular businesses and individuals, or it could simply give $100 worth of allowances to those businesses and individuals, who could immediately and easily transform the allowances into cash through the secondary market." More recently, in his March testimony before the House Budget Committee, Orszag, who is now President Obama's budget director declared, "If you didn't auction the permits it would represent the largest corporate welfare program that has ever been enacted in the history of the United States. All of the evidence suggests that what would occur is that corporate profits would increase by approximately the value of the permits."

Today's Lomborg op/ed glumly, but accurately, concludes:

The partnership among self-interested businesses, grandstanding politicians and alarmist campaigners truly is an unholy alliance. 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 those who stand to make a profit are among the loudest calling for politicians to act. Spending a fortune on global carbon regulations will benefit a few, but dearly cost everybody else.

Read the whole Lomborg op/ed here.

NEXT: DOJ, to Newspaper: Shape Up, or Ship Out

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  1. This makes perfect sense. In my job in London’s media industry, I am constantly bombarded with press releases about various businesses trying to make a pound or two out of this. I suppose it is not their fault, but the commercial drivers of the AGW issue should not be ignored.

    And believe me, there are grounds for saying that a lot of this stuff is pretty suspect, even if you buy the AGW argument to a great extent.

  2. I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a carbon emissions permit today.

  3. Yesterday, the House Commerce and Energy Committee passed a cap-and-trade carbon rationing bill that would give away for free emissions permits

    Is there no plan so bad the Congress cannot make it worse?

  4. I think the Global-Warming-Industrial Complex is a better name. Global warming alarmists should not be given an easy way out by renaming global warming into climate change.

  5. A Venn diagram of fundie environmentalists who support cap and trade and WTO protesters would be hilarious.

    That this would soooo fuck the poor matters not a whit to fundie envirinmentalists and their Dem baggage carriers. We’re seeing how the donkey party is funding SCHIP so we know that they don’t really give a fuck about the underclass any more than the GOP gives a shit about smaller government.

    How’s that Kool-Aid? taste, guys and gals?

  6. [insert approximation of stuttering, stammering fit of rage}

    Not only are they content to spew money in every direction, they refuse to take advantage of a “legitimate” opportunity to actually bring a little money in the door.

    And, pre-emptively, for all you foaming-at-the-mouth TAAAAAAAAAAXES BAAAAAAAD!!! types: Fuck off.

    Visible taxes, which are imposed and collected openly by the government, are preferable to hidden taxes, which are imposed by the government but appear as increased consumer costs and are collected by preferred clients of that government.

  7. Spreading Consternation through Aggressive Marketing.

  8. Global warming alarmists should not be given an easy way out by renaming global warming into climate change.

    Maybe they started using the other term because numbnuts like you thought global warming was disproved every time it snowed somewhere.

  9. Government regulation, picking winners since the 7th day of creation.

    Let the rent seeking commence!!

  10. If all of the allowances were distributed for free to producers in the oil, natural gas, and coal sectors, stock values would double for oil and gas producers and increase more than sevenfold for coal producers, compared with projected values in the absence of a cap.

    Mental note: Research coal producers receiving allowances. Shift remaining assets not invested n precious metals.

  11. “If you didn’t auction the permits it would represent the largest corporate welfare program that has ever been enacted in the history of the United States.

    Ha! How’s that for hope and change? I’m amazed that half of this country can remember to breathe without a reminder.

  12. Maybe they started using the other term because numbnuts like you thought global warming was disproved every time it snowed somewhere.

    But now it is called climate change and eco-fundies like you believe it is proved every time the weather changes. Keep it up Tony. You’re my favorite troll here.

  13. numbnuts like you thought global warming was disproved every time it snowed somewhere.

    What does it mean when snowpack has been significantly increasing, year-over-year?

    It must just be some sort of anomalous blip, I guess.

  14. But now it is called climate change and eco-fundies like you believe it is proved every time the weather changes.

    I’m pretty sure anyone apprised of the scientific facts supporting climate change are aware of the difference between climate and weather.

  15. I’m pretty sure anyone apprised of the scientific facts supporting climate change are aware of the difference between climate and weather.

    So anybody who attributed the increased hurricane numbers and intensity earlier this decade to AGW is full of shit and should be ignored forever, right?

  16. So anybody who attributed the increased hurricane numbers and intensity earlier this decade to AGW is full of shit and should be ignored forever, right?

    Of course not. An increase in hurricane numbers and intensity is scary, and therefore climate. A decrease in hurricane numbers and intensity would be nice, and hence weather.

  17. I’m pretty sure anyone apprised of the scientific facts supporting climate change are aware of the difference between climate and weather.

    So, you’re completely ignorant of the difference then?

  18. Hurricane activity is at a 30 year low.

    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

    Is that proof that global warming will lead to
    more frequent and stronger hurricanes, or proof that the brouhaha about stronger hurricanes was so much fearmongering?
    – A. McIntire

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