The Journal yesterday noted yet another company spending very little on some pollution-control modernization to sell millions of dollars of ration coupons to the West’s Cult of Carbon Guilt. As CEI President Fred Smith noted in testimony to the Senate Environment Committee last year about a previous, wildly expensive and wasteful example of this practice, “[a]ccording to a study published in the journal Nature [“Is the global carbon market working?”], installation of those scrubbers could have been financed by loans or grants at a total cost of about $130 million. Thus almost $6 billion has been diverted away from other uses into the pockets of industry in the developing world.”
The beneficiary of this environmentally meaningless corporate welfare profiled in the WSJ is the chemical/pharmaceutical interest Rhodia, which has actually been raking in carbon-offset cash year in and year out since Kyoto began the scheme. They are even selling their credits directly to taxpayers in Kyoto’s few covered countries, to help governments try and live up to their (or their predecessors’) green posturing about which they are too timid to speak the truth. Rhodia joins others whose ranks include companies who go into the business of doing nothing in order to sell carbon ration coupons instead –because you have to employ a lot fewer people and use a lot less energy when you’re twiddling your thumbs.
And why not? They were given the ration coupons. It would be irresponsible to do anything else. It’s free money (if not actually new money, in an economic sense). It’s what we call a “windfall.”
The practice, as envisioned in Kyoto, Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme, and various bills introduced in Congress, also chases investment offshore. It’s disgraceful that politicians saddled their citizens with this in Europe, and are trying to do so here, solely because this is the only scheme they can enact — one with a rent-collecting constituency to give them political cover.
So when you hear the cheerleading in support of legislation like Lieberman-Warner (or Lieberman-Murkowski, as the betting has its moniker for next year) — that “some of America’s greatest corporations support this!” — remember what they’re really saying. Like T. Boone Pickens, they have merely discovered the world’s second-oldest profession: making money off of policy favors from government, while redirecting resources from productive uses — at your expense and, often, at the environment’s as well.