Green Robber Barons

Perhaps the term rent-seeker is not a strong enough descriptor for the corporations lining up to feed at the trough of profits from proposed government global warming mandates.

Steve Milloy of Junk Science provides us with a better label: Climate Change Profiteers. Most people have to ask what the term rent seeking means while there is no mistaking what the profiteer means.

Does this sound too harsh? Alarmists connect skeptics–they call us deniers, you know like Holocaust deniers–at every turn to Exxon-Mobil, so it is only fair, to respond, “I know you are but what am I!” given the big corporations pushing for draconian climate change legislation that will fill expand their profit margins. Milloy explains:

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I met many of them up-close-and-personal last week at a major Wall Street Journal conference at which I was an invited speaker. My fellow speakers included many CEOs (from General Electric, Wal-Mart, Duke Energy and Dow Chemical, to name just a few), California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the heads of several environmental activist groups.

The audience — a sold-out crowd of hundreds who had to apply to be admitted and pay a $3,500 fee — consisted of representatives of the myriad businesses that seek to make a financial killing from climate alarmism.

There were representatives of the solar, wind and biofuel industries that profit from taxpayer mandates and subsidies, representatives from financial services companies that want to trade permits to emit CO2, and public relations and strategic consultants to all of the above.

We libertarians would call such an event a rent-seekers ball — the vast majority of the audience was there to plot how they could lock in profits from government mandates on taxpayers and consumers. It was an amazing collection of pseudo-entrepreneurs who were absolutely impervious to the scientific and economic facts that ought to deflate the global warming bubble…

The only conclusion I could come to was that the audience is so steeped in anticipation of climate profiteering that there is no fact that will cause them to reconsider whether or not manmade global warming is a reality. The callousness of their blind greed was also on display at the conference…

Finally, I was astounded by the double-speak practiced by the global warmers. Virtually every speaker at the conference professed that they were either in favor of free markets or that they supported a free-market solution to global warming. But invariably in their next breath, they would plead for government regulation of greenhouse gases and government subsidies for alternative energy…

Timothy Carney tells us of hedge fund mogul Julian Robertson betting big on climate change legislation and a tanking American economy. “I’ve made a big bet on it,” Robertson told Fortune. “I really think I’m going to make 20 or 30 times on my money.”

GE is deeply invested in alternative energy sources that have little demand absent government mandates or restrictions on effective sources of energy such as coal and oil. The firm has already bought up “greenhouse gas credits” — worthless goods until Congress actually caps the gases. DuPont, Goldman and dozens like them have also positioned themselves to get rich from government action on this front.

When the media notice a large corporation standing to suffer from an intrusion of government or benefit from a deregulation or tax cut, we are immediately warned about conflicts of interest. Amazingly, when the media notice the Green Beltway Bandits lined up behind carbon caps, they see this as further proof that the time has come for government action…

What’s Robertson’s angle? Environmental publication Greenwire described Robertson as a “former hedge fund tycoon and now a philanthropist.” Robertson indeed closed down his most famous fund, Tiger Management, earlier this decade, but is still a big investor. Getting richer — not merely philanthropy — motivates these investments.

Remember, big business loves big government, the more you regulate the more you invite the big boys to write rules to enrich themselves. Alarmists will always accuse skeptics of stoogerism for Exxon-Mobil however, the mustache-twirling Robber Barons are lined up on their side. Only now they are called “philanthropists.”

A case in point is the patron saint of alarmism himself Al Gore. Gore is now worth over $100 million, and is heavily invested ($35million) in Capricorn Investment Group LLC “a firm that selects the private funds for clients and invests in makers of environmentally friendly products.” Gore also has a large position in a Silicon Valley firm that stands to make millions selling carbon offsets should emission caps be adopted.

Meanwhile, as Gore jets around the globe lobbying governments to enact policies that will engorge his bank account; should anyone have the temerity to disagree with him, Gore accuses them of being “locked in a coalition with rich and powerful people who take advantage of the poor for economic profit.

crossposted on The Main Adversary

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