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Category — Kyoto Protocol

“THIS AGREEMENT WILL BE GOOD FOR ENRON STOCK!!” (Enron’s infamous Kyoto memo 14 years ago)

It is perhaps the most revealing ‘crony capitalism’ memo in American history–at least that is in the public domain. (I ask others to submit nominations for this (dis)honor to see if this memo does not take the prize.)

It was written from Kyoto, Japan in the afterglow of the Kyoto Protocol agreement by Enron lobbyist John Palmisano. The global green planners were euphoric that, somehow, the world had embarked on an irreversible course of climate control (and thus industrial and land-use control). Palmisano’s memo reflects that as well as the specific benefits for first-mover ‘green’ Enron.

Parenthetically, I was lucky to have received this memo back at Enron to share it with posterity. Palmisano had me in the “To” list but but purposefully did not email it to me (we were foes on ’green’ energy issues). My free-market colleague at Enron, Jim O’Neill (now with the Thiel Foundation) called me in amazement for my reaction to Palmisano’s work of art, and he sent me a copy when I told him I did not receive it.

The memo was shared with the Washington Post soon after Enron’s demise, which resulted in the piece, “[Enron]  Chairman Pushed Firm’s Agenda With Clinton White House” (Dan Morgan: January 13, 2002).

Where is Palmisano now? Like a number of Enron refugees tied to climate alarmism, he has bounced around with ‘green’ groups such as the now-defunct Evolution Markets and Carbon Positive (see the end of the post).

Here is the entire memo, ten years old today!


To: Terry Thorn, Joe Hillings, Cynthia Sandherr, Jeff Keeler, Fiona Grant, Hap Boyd, Bill Shoff, Dan Badger, Tom Kearney, Lynda Clemmons, Bruce Stram, Mike Terraso, Rob Bradley, Jim O’Neill, John Hardy

From: John Palmisano

Date: December 12, 1997

Subject: Implications of the Climate Change Agreement in Kyoto & What Transpired

This memo summarizes the implications of the agreement reached in Kyoto and also describes what I was doing and provides some observations.


If implemented, this agreement will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States. The potential to add incremental gas sales, and additional demand for renewable technology is enormous. In addition, a carbon emissions trading system will be developed. While the trading system will be implemented by 2008, I am sure that reductions will begin to trade with 1-2 years. Finally, Enron has immediate business opportunities which derive directly from this agreement. [Read more →]

December 12, 2011   6 Comments

Energy Poverty: Environmental Problem #1 (worth remembering Sunday)

“Climate change is not an economics problem. It’s an ethics problem.”

- Stephen Schneider, Science, June 4, 2004.

Well, yes it is.  And the climate-change debate brings up the energy-policy debate.

Poor people around the world need abundant, affordable, modern energy. And this points to private property and free markets–and adaptation in the face of uncertainties–and not government ownership and control of energy resources. The failure of Kyoto I should not be followed by a Kyoto II. The United States should not enact either a carbon tax or a carbon cap-and-trade program. Resource access on government lands (and waters) should be permitted. The goal is a robust supply-side strategy that respects free consumer choice to benefit one and all, and particularly the most vulnerable.

Here are some quotations on the need to eradicate energy poverty (a list that needs to be added to if folks have other quotations that can be added in the comment list). [Read more →]

April 5, 2009   2 Comments