Green Spin on the Financial Crisis


Common sense tells us that shocking the economy with massive, new, costly restrictions on energy supply would be crazy during the current financial crisis. With the Dow plummeting, banks failing, small businesses folding, and hundreds of thousands of jobs disappearing, you don’t demand the imposition of trillion-dollar regulatory initiatives that would be economically risky even in prosperous times.

Unless, that is, you are a knee-jerk cap-and-trade advocate. Then instead of sobering you up, the cold hard economic realities just heat up your regulatory fervor. You see new rationales to mandate and spend as though money were no object.

Consider these excerpts from a recent AP story:

Some climate campaigners see a bright side to the financial crisis. Somehow, the amount needed to fight climate change doesn’t seem as unrealistic as it once did after the astronomical amounts governments committed almost overnight to support banks.

“A month ago people would still be shocked at that figure,” said Donald Pols, of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, who calculated an annual $380 billion bill for climate change by 2030. “You have now proven that it’s possible” to raise huge resources in the face of a crisis.

Pols said the economic restructuring called for under the bailout agreements opened opportunities for more investment in renewable energy and “green” businesses.

The money injected into the banking system was meant to be invested, he said. Governments have broken the taboo against intervention in the markets and should have a voice in directing those investments.

So, not only did government intervention in financial markets cause the current crisis, the $700 billion bailout plus partial nationalization of major banks will set the stage for massive new intervention in energy markets, if green spin prevails. And to think, only a decade ago some thought the battle against collectivism and central planning was over!


Subscribe to National Review