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Cui Bono?

Here is something I didn't know:  Way back in the 1990's, Enron was lobbying hard for cap and trade legislation to create a lucrative new trading profit center for the company (HT Tom Nelson)

In the early 1990s Enron had helped establish the market for, and became the major trader in, EPA’s $20 billion-per-year sulphur dioxide cap-and-trade program, the forerunner of today’s proposed carbon credit trade. This commodity exchange of emission allowances caused Enron’s stock to rapidly rise.

Then came the inevitable question, what next? How about a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program? The problem was that CO2 is not a pollutant, and therefore the EPA had no authority to cap its emission. Al Gore took office in 1993 and almost immediately became infatuated with the idea of an international environmental regulatory regime. He led a U.S. initiative to review new projects around the world and issue ‘credits’ of so many tons of annual CO2 emission reduction. Under law a tradeable system was required, which was exactly what Enron also wanted because they were already trading pollutant credits.

Thence Enron vigorously lobbied Clinton and Congress, seeking EPA regulatory authority over CO2. From 1994 to 1996, the Enron Foundation contributed nearly $1 million dollars - $990,000 - to the Nature Conservancy, whose Climate Change Project promotes global warming theories. Enron philanthropists lavished almost $1.5 million on environmental groups that support international energy controls to “reduce” global warming. Executives at Enron worked closely with the Clinton administration to help create a scaremongering climate science environment because the company believed the treaty could provide it with a monstrous financial windfall. The plan was that once the problem was in place the solution would be trotted out.

With Enron out of the picture, the way is clear for new players to dominate this multi-billion dollar new business.  And look who is ready to take over from Enron:

The investment vehicle headed by Al Gore has closed a new $683m fund to invest in early-stage environmental companies and has mounted a robust defence of green investing.

The Climate Solutions Fund will be one of the biggest in the growing market for investment funds with an environmental slant.

The fund will be focused on equity investments in small companies in four sectors: renewable energy; energy efficiency technologies; energy from biofuels and biomass; and the carbon trading markets.

This is the second fund from Generation Investment Management, chaired by the former vice-president of the US and managed by David Blood, former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

The first, the Global Equity Strategy Fund, has $2.2bn invested in large companies the company judges have “sustainable“ businesses, from an environmental, social and economic viewpoint. Mr Blood said he expected that fund to be worth $5bn within two years, based on commitments from interested investors.

Going green indeed.

Posted on April 30, 2008 at 08:28 AM | Permalink


Warren, haven't you said that you donate money to the Nature Conservancy? I presume you will stop now?

This article doesn't even ask the question: is it proper to deliberately keep land (or other resources) out of productive use?

Posted by: Bearster | Apr 30, 2008 9:19:53 AM

Dr. Bob Balling is a former Arizona State Climatologist, professor at ASU, and well known climate skeptic (2 popular books).

He had (has?) a consulting practice and approached Enron to see if they wanted his services on climate issues. They brushed him off, saying that they didn't want to fight the climate alarmists because of money they would make in the cap and trade markets.

Posted by: John Moore | Apr 30, 2008 12:00:38 PM

Rent-seekers all.

Posted by: Bob Smith | Apr 30, 2008 2:46:47 PM

What's unfortunate is how many people blame the Bush administration for disasters like Enron.

Posted by: Mike | May 1, 2008 4:14:58 AM

Does anyone have any more reliable links? This is an interesting story, but its a link to a link to a poorly written web page. Since this is bordering on conspiracy theory I would need a better source before I'd start telling people I know about this.

Posted by: Ian Lippert | May 1, 2008 9:07:49 AM

I won't vouch for the reliability but I find these interesting.




Posted by: TC | May 1, 2008 9:21:32 PM

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