CERAWeek 2009: Why Didn’t Daniel Yergin Question Climate Alarmism–and Both Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxation?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 15, 2009 2 Comments

At the just-completed CERAWeek, here in Houston, Daniel Yergin had an excellent opportunity to inject some scholarly realism into the climate-change debate. As a wise man of energy and an opinion leader, he could have stated publicly what many in the vast audience mutter privately, such as:

  1. Global warming has stalled in the last decade or more, bringing into question the high-sensitivity, high-warming scenarios of climate models (the major costs of climate change)
  2. Cap-and-trade CO2 reduction in the European Union has failed under a variety of metrics–deadweight costs, higher prices, very little gain, unintended consequences
  3. U.S. voters have put climate-change at the very bottom of their list of concerns and affordable energy high on their list of concerns
  4. What emerges from Congress in the next several years will be grotesque–almost regulation and higher energy costs for its own sake (with no appreciable effect on climate).
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ExxonMobil’s Tillerson on Renewable Energy: Realism amid Politics

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 7, 2009 12 Comments

As reported by Russell Gold at Environmental Capital, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has made an incisive new argument against his company’s investing in government-dependent renewable energy.

“If I wanted to kill [tax subsidies], the thing to do is for Exxon Mobil to go and invest heavily in them and then Congress would immediately cancel the tax subsidy. Actually what they would do is they would just cancel it for us,” said Mr.Tillerson, during the annual analyst meeting at the New York Stock Exchange.

He added: “In reality, that is what I fear would happen. So we are not going to go into investments that are dependent on a government providing a tax system to make them viable.”

This is very interesting. Former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond and now Tillerson have argued against investing in politically dependent renewables because they have been-there-done-that, with investor losses in the 1970s.

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Who Was Ken Lay? (The Senate should know the industry father of U.S.-side cap-and-trade)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 7, 2009 5 Comments

“If there is one thing I have been impressed with over the last decades, it is that when the environmental community defines a number one priority, something happens. Not always something good—but something.”1

Dr. Kenneth L. Lay, Chairman, Enron Corporation, June 1997 (1)

Who was the late Ken Lay, the architect and chairman of Enron throughout its 16-year history? All parties to the current legislative debate on a CO2 cap-and-trade bill should know. After all, Lay’s tireless efforts to promote CO2 regulation and enact renewable energy quotas make him a father figure for HR 2354, the Waxman-Markey climate bill, what I have called the Enron Revitalization Act of 2009.

In his lifetime, Lay did not win CO2 regulation, but he got a very damaging renewable energy mandate passed in his home state of Texas.

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Energy Malthusianism in the Sweep of History (and Rockefeller, Insull, and Lay)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 12, 2009 7 Comments

[This excerpt from Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy prefaces a five-chapter review of energy Malthusianism from the time of Thomas Robert Malthus in the late 18th century through the Julian Simon/Paul Ehrlich debate of the late 20th century.]

“Here is a planet, whirling in sunlit space,” reads the opening of Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom: Man’s Struggle against Authority, penned during the dark days of World War II. “The planet is energy,” she continues. “Every apparent substance composing it is energy. The envelope of gases surrounding it is energy. Energy pours forth from the sun upon this air and earth.”

Energy is pervasive and liberating. It moves people, makes things, and provides incalculable services. It vanquishes darkness, literally and figuratively. “Since early men ignited the first fires in caves,” it has been noted, “the unleashing of energy for light, heat, cooking, and every human need has been the essence and symbol of what it is to be human.” 

In economic terms, energy is the resource of resources, the master resource.

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Climate Politics: Running Scared in the EU (even before Climategate)

By Carlo Stagnaro -- November 25, 2009 6 Comments Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Goes Unconstitutional: Time to Rein in a Rogue Agency

By -- March 30, 2010 6 Comments Continue Reading

The BP Spill: Self-Regulation, Public Property, and Political Capitalism

By Sheldon Richman -- May 27, 2010 5 Comments Continue Reading

John Browne’s 1997 Stanford University Speech: The “Beyond Petroleum” Beginning (and beginning of the end of BP?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 19, 2010 22 Comments Continue Reading

They Loved BP and Enron: Climate Alarmism as the Great Environmental Distraction (Part I: Worldwatch Institute quotations)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 28, 2010 12 Comments Continue Reading

BP’s ‘Beyond Petroleum’: Climate Alarmism as the Great Environmental Distraction (Part II: Why the ‘greenwashing’?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 29, 2010 3 Comments Continue Reading