Risky Argumentation: Henry Paulson (2014) Recycles Ken Lay (1997)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 30, 2014 5 Comments

“The business voices change, the decades change, but the arguments are familiar. Problem is, the global average temperature today is not appreciably higher than when Ken Lay penned his op-ed. The year 1998 would be the temperature peak, in fact, that marked the beginning of ‘the pause‘.”

Henry Paulson began his recent New York Times opinion-page editorial, “The Coming Climate Crash,” as follows:

“There is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage.”

Ken Lay ended his Houston Chronicle opinion-page editorial of December 5, 1997, “Let’s Have an Ounce of Global-Warming Prevention,” [1] similarly:

“It’s time to stop debating the issues surrounding climate change initiatives and focus instead on simple, realistic, cost-effective solutions.

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Road to Kyoto: Letter from Ken Lay to George Bush (April 3, 1992)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 17, 2013 5 Comments

“[Enron was] the company most responsible for sparking off the greenhouse civil war in the hydrocarbon business.”

– Jeremy Leggett, The Carbon War (London: Penguin Books, 1999), p. 204.

“The United States fully intends to be the world’s preeminent leader in protecting the global environment. [E]nvironmental protection makes growth sustainable…. [This] recognition … by leaders from around the world is the central accomplishment of this important [United Nations] Rio Conference.”

– George H. W. Bush, “News Conference in Rio de Janeiro, June 13, 1992.

The rise and fall of Enron Corp. is Exhibit A by government advocates for increasing regulation of what is seen as unbridled, market-failure-ridden capitalism. As one economics textbook states: “The story about Enron reminds us of a serious fact of economic life—that markets fail….” [2]

But upon closer inspection, Enron is Exhibit A against political capitalism, not free-market capitalism.

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Reasons to Sell Enron Wind (October 1998 memo to Ken Lay)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 22, 2013 3 Comments

“Wind is almost a pure subsidy play, which means that Enron will be at odds with the market and must continually intervene into the political processes to extend subsides and/or create new ones. This is an expensive process and may trade away what we are lobbying for elsewhere.”

In my last seven (of 16) years at Enron, my title was Director of Public Policy Analysis. In this role, I was Enron’s libertarian, balancing, I suppose, Enron’s Left environmentalist John Palmisano, author of the infamous Kyoto memo of December 1997.

Enron had multiple profit centers around the global warming issue, which made my internal case for rejecting climate alarmism/policy activism an uphill one. But I got my licks in, including with some ‘e-mail wars’ with Palmisano. I have written numerous posts at MasterResource on Enron’s rent-seeking business strategy and will further set the historical record straight with a forthcoming book in Enron-inspired trilogy.

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Ken Lay to California II: BLOCK the PROP (A.B. 32 is ‘Not a Sprint but a Marathon’)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 5, 2010 1 Comment

Yesterday, an op-ed by the late Ken Lay urged for climate action as a easy winner in benefits versus costs–something that was hardly true when he said it and known to be untrue now. Drastic action barely registers on the temperature/sea level/precipitation scale.

Here is Ken Lay (with Roger Sant) a year later with more advice for California in its current debate over whether to pass California’s Prop. 23, a measure to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32).

Enron had seven profit centers tied to regulating carbon dioxide (CO2). What ‘Enrons’ are involved in the climate scare today?

The op-ed from September 1998 follows:

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Ken Lay to California I: BLOCK the PROP (A.B. 32 is ‘An Ounce of Global-Warming Prevention’)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 4, 2010 1 Comment Continue Reading

Power Politics: Enron Lives! (From Ken Lay’s “natural gas standard” to cap & trade today)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 5, 2009 2 Comments Continue Reading

On the Fall of Enron and Ken Lay: ‘Philosophic Fraud’ at an Errant Energy Company (and cap-and-trade, renewables forerunner)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 10, 2009 3 Comments Continue Reading

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 Continue Reading

Remembering Enron (Bankruptcy & layoffs 19-years ago today)

By John Jennrich -- December 2, 2020 4 Comments Continue Reading

Sierra Club Chickens on Wind Infrasound (deep-six commissioned study)

By Donald Deever -- October 17, 2019 6 Comments Continue Reading