In today’s Wall Street Journal, Bjorn Lomborg has one of the clearest articulations of the bootleggers and Baptists dynamic in carbon policy, and nails one of the fundamental reasons why the Waxman-Markey bill is bad policy:
Naturally, many CEOs are genuinely concerned about global warming. But many of the most vocal stand to profit from carbon regulations. The term used by economists for their behavior is “rent-seeking.” …
U.S. companies and interest groups involved with climate change hired 2,430 lobbyists just last year, up 300% from five years ago. Fifty of the biggest U.S. electric utilities — including Duke — spent $51 million on lobbyists in just six months.
The massive transfer of wealth that many businesses seek is not necessarily good for the rest of the economy. …
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.
That pretty much sums up why I think that Congress can’t be trusted to design an economically beneficial carbon policy.