I look forward to Kim Strassel’s column every week, and today’s is particularly delicious. It exposes another example of double-speak on climate change, focusing on some utility companies that are preening about their environmental conciousness, while preparing to take climate change legislation to the bank. As Strassel writes:
“The carbon-based free lunch is over,” declared Exelon CEO John Rowe, neglecting to mention that his company’s free lunch is only beginning. Under the House’s climate-change bill, a few utilities-primarily those that have made big bets in renewable and nuclear energy-are poised to clean up once Congress hands them carbon emission credits. The bill sets aside 35% of the free credits for utilities. Exelon and other “renewable” utilities will get a huge piece of that pie.
An internal memo produced by Bernstein Research in June described how Mr. Rowe met with investors to rejoice that the House legislation will allow Exelon to rake in additional revenue-by some estimates, up to $1.5 billion a year. Others will pay for this Exelon privilege, of course-notably, Midwestern customers of traditional coal utilities who will see their energy prices double. But hey, all’s fair in love and lobbying.
It’s disgusting, but certainly not surprising. Liberals who purported to hate “corporate greed” should recognize that big government and big business are often co-conspirators in gaming the system. Limiting government so that politicians can’t dole out rewards to business (and, yes, to unions, donors, and other interest groups) is the best way to ensure a truly level playing field and protect the American people from this kind of thievery.