The rent-seekers, that is.
From Open Europe’s dailyupdate:
Private Eye: EU’s carbon trading scheme to offer windfall profits to biggest polluters
Private Eye’s ‘Brussels Sprouts’ column argues that EU leaders’ ‘historic’ climate change deal agreed at the end of last year will in fact yield “historic” windfall profits for Europe’s biggest polluters. The windfall will be generated by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which the article notes has over allocated free permits to heavy industry. In the steel sector, for example, falling demand due to the economic downturn has left steel companies with a surplus of free permits which they can sell for a profit in the next phase of the scheme.
The article also notes that, on the other hand, power companies have been given less generous allowances. But as they must go to market to make up the shortfall, they pass on their increased costs to consumers, meaning they won’t lose out either.
How unfair, consumers and economy take the hit either way–no, that’s not business’ objection–but only some of the rent-seekers get to clear it all in profit. The only good news is that this latest “historic climate deal” didn’t really promise any actual reductions in the EU. Now, that would really hurt, as the emission-reducing recession is already reminding those of us paying attention to such minor details.
And yes, that’s the same scheme that our new president vows to impose on us though, in fairness, he makes the impossible promise that he’ll force industry to buy all of their ration coupons. Mmm hmm. Of course, Obama only signs the bills, he doesn’t vote on them, and I’m taking action on that one. But of course, the ever-present threat remains of those industry folks who are running around town right now looking for someone to surrender to — with a cap-and-trade scheme that eases their burden (but not yours) while also freeing the politicians from having to make it clear what they’re doing to you.
In the absence of such a Miracle Sell-out, our new president has enough trouble just getting the House to finally admit this plan by bringing it up for a vote (which, as I note in a column going up on Human Events tomorrow, is a shame. If they vote on this, the rationers lose the House. Yay for voting!).
As we ponder our own historic (climate) achievement, in a way it’s almost too bad Enron couldn’t hang on long enough to see their dreams come, if not true, at least to the House floor.