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The Top 10 Green Energy Whores

Ladies and germs, the votes are in! Let us honor the cynical sell-outs and the self-dealing businessmen with a Green veneer – the ones most likely to profit, and profit in a big way, from the New Green Economy.

(Posted as a follow up to a previous diary: The Climate-Industrial Complex, or Green Energy Whores)

10. Rep. Henry Waxman (D – the People’s Republic of Beverly Hills)
9. Former V.P. Al Gore (emeritus)
6. (tie) ExxonMobil Corp.
6. (tie) Shell Oil
6. (tie) BP
5. The State of Iowa
4. Duke Energy
3. General Electric Corp.
2. Kleiner Perkins
1. The United States Government

Now I present the recipients:

(Posthumous Award) – Enron Corporation

Enron pioneered the concept of lobbying to create a market for its Green product, in this case natural gas. Enron was dominant in the energy trading market, and was smart enough to lobby for the creation of trading in carbon credits. Several of the honorees among the Top 10 Green Energy Whores have adopted the Enron strategy and taken it to undreamt-of heights.

Enron was also an early entrant in the wind energy market. Enron Wind survives to this day as GE Wind, a General Electric subsidiary.

10. Rep. Henry Waxman (D – the People’s Republic of Beverly Hills)

What a tool. What a pathetic tool. We should have a test, on the order of high school proficiency, for legislators who shape policy in matters with some technical angle. Waxman would reshape our entire economy over an issue that, quite simply, he doesn’t understand.

9. Al Gore (emeritus)

Former V.P., former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Mr. ManBearPig, Al Gore as the Climate Change community’s most sanctimonious hypocrite needs no introduction. Al stands to profit handsomely from the New Green Economy as a partner in Green venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins (which see).

6. (tie) ExxonMobil Corp.
6. (tie) Shell Oil
6. (tie) BP
(either British Petroleum or Beyond Petroleum; can’t remember which)

Mobil Corp. used to lead the pack on outspoken public objection to bad government policies. Nowadays, the multinational oils have decided they’s rather switch than fight, and now lead the Green bandwagon. And their acquiescence is proffered as “evidence” of the truth of Global Warming Climate Change. In reality, these guys are driven by two motivations: 1) presenting a lower-profile PR target while defending their consumer-brand presence; and 2) making a buck as active traders in the new market for carbon credits, when it comes along.

5. The State of Iowa

The politics of corn ethanol is the poster child for everything wrong with the Green movement. Iowans know that they have a bird’s nest on the ground – by the grace of God and the Presidential Primary schedule – and they’re not about to give it up.

Three years ago, corn-based ethanol seemed like a no-brainer. It exploited a crop we were already good at growing with a process we’d been using since the colonists brewed beer. To stimulate the fledgling industry, the government mandated the increased use of renewable fuels. Last year it upped the standard to 36 billion [gallons] by 2022.

In one sense, the mandate worked. Last year, U.S. plants churned out 6.5 billion gal. of ethanol and 250 million gal. of biodiesel. But with about 21 percent of the country’s corn harvest and 13 percent of its soy diverted to biofuel production, food prices surged. And oil imports barely dropped. What’s more, recent studies revealed that biofuels derived from food crops don’t alleviate climate change. Once you add up all the energy used to fertilize, transport and process feedstock, and the vast amount of carbon released by converting land to grow it, “You suddenly have a biofuel that releases more greenhouse gas than if you just burn gasoline,” says David Tilman, an ecologist from the University of Minnesota. “It actually harms the global climate.” Source.

Adding injury to insult, corn ethanol is a disaster for the environment in terms of fertilizer runoff and the downstream effects of same, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

In other words, the cure is worse than the disease, but now we’re stuck with a 36 billion gallon a year mandate for 2022, and no leaders with the political will to take on the issue. Can you guarantee we won’t replicate this same idiocy with respect to Climate Change?

4. Duke Energy

Duke, one of the biggest generators of electricity from coal, is taking the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” course. Its lobbying effort and cooperation with the Feds means it will get to help write the regs, plus benefit from the Carbon Credits Congress has promised to dole out to current polluters who jump on the Cap and Trade bandwagon.

3. General Electric Corp., op. cit.

2. Venture Capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

[Partner] John Doerr“To get solutions at scale, we’re going to have to find answers that are economic for all people everywhere. We’ve got to use policy to harness innovation to make sure that the right thing to do is a profitable thing to do — so it becomes the probable thing to have happen.” [emphasis added]

[Partner] Al Gore believes when the governments of the world assign a price to carbon—within a year or two — demand for carbon-free electricity will explode.

Partner Randy Komisar [Commissar? - ed.] says the energy market is large and outdated: “I’m not very good at hitting the bull’s-eye. I need a big target. And this is the biggest target I’ve ever seen in my life.

Apparently, greed is bad, but Green Greed is Good.

1. The United States Government

Just as it has with tobacco, the U.S. Government has decided to discourage the use of oil and gas. Unlike tobacco, the Federal Government actually owns substantial oil and gas assets, making it one of the biggest oil companies around. Through its ownership of Federal lands, Uncle Sam’s reserve holdings and potential resources dwarf private industry. Oil and gas royalties are the Feds’ largest single source of revenue, outside of the income tax. The Feds also hold 750 million barrels of crude oil in inventory in the caverns of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the world’s largest and most valuable political football.

Summer 2008 proved that $4.00 per gallon of gasoline is the typical American’s choke point – they will pay prices up to that level before significantly altering their consuming behavior. Now that the “free-market” price is significantly less than that, there’s a whole big piece of energy market potential going unclaimed, and government has set its sights on that unclaimed piece – I believe the behavior is called “rent seeking”.

Not content with current levels of revenue per barrel, per thousand cubic feet (mcf) of gas and per ton of coal, the Congress is considering Cap-and-Trade legislation that would impose stiff new taxes on fossil fuels. In addition, the Department of the Interior has proposed new oil and gas royalty rates for inland and offshore leases. Just in the last couple of years, the royalty rate for new deepwater leases offshore has increased by 50%, form a 12.5% take to 18.75%. Royalty relief has, a process to encourage domestic development, has also been summarily ended.

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