Belmont Club

God's green earth

Readers will recall that in the post Who will Colin Powell endorse for President? I mentioned his connection to the environmental industry:

Powell is McCain’s friend, but his professional interests suggest that his choice may be a tough one. A reader notes that Colin Powell is a “Strategic Limited Partner” at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, one of the best performing venture capital firms in history, having sponsored Google, and Apple, among others. Kleiner has made huge pushes into ‘clean technology’ of late — over the past 3-4 years. They have even raised an all clean-tech fund. Al Gore is also a special partner.” An Obama victory would put Kleiner in a strong commercial position. But on the other hand, John McCain himself has often talked about the need to stop climate change. So it is not at all clear that Kleiner wouldn’t benefit under a McCain administration as well.

So with Colin torn — or perhaps not so torn — I will leave the crystal ball in the good hands of the readers, observing only that nothing is as simple as it seems in Washington. Neither Colin Powell’s allegiances nor John McCain’s beliefs can be completely separated from the interests which are swarming through the capital. At this point in history Green also means greenbacks. It’s sad to think that maybe everything in this world, even environmentalism, could come down to money. Perhaps it is too much to ask politicians to disregard the pressures in Washington altogether; and hope that in satisfying every need, the interests of Joe the Man on the Street might occasionally be remembered.


Colin Powell has now endorsed Barack Obama for President. And right on cue, the WSJ reports on Obama’s Carbon Ultimatum: The coming offer you won’t be able to refuse. Can’t hurt the greenhouse gas business can it? Like I said, nothing in Washington is simple.

Jason Grumet is currently executive director of an outfit called the National Commission on Energy Policy and one of Mr. Obama’s key policy aides. In an interview last week with Bloomberg, Mr. Grumet said that come January the Environmental Protection Agency “would initiate those rulemakings” that classify carbon as a dangerous pollutant under current clean air laws. That move would impose new regulation and taxes across the entire economy, something that is usually the purview of Congress. Mr. Grumet warned that “in the absence of Congressional action” 18 months after Mr. Obama’s inauguration, the EPA would move ahead with its own unilateral carbon crackdown anyway. …

The EPA would monitor and regulate the carbon emissions of “lawn and garden equipment” as well as everything with an engine, like cars, planes and boats. Eco-bureaucrats envision thousands of other emissions limits on all types of energy. Coal-fired power and other fossil fuels would be ruled out of existence, while all other prices would rise as the huge economic costs of the new regime were passed down the energy chain to consumers.


Both the Republicans and Democrats cut deals with special interest groups. And as I wrote in the earlier piece, John McCain believes in Global Warming too, so Kleiner may have done well under him too. But maybe without the carbon ultimatum and could be they would’ve left the snowmobiles in Alaska alone. It is the nature of politics that where there’s a quid, there’s usually a pro quo. That’s not being cynical, it’s being realistic. America isn’t color blind at all; no sirree. But the relevant color is green.

Take mortgages. The AP reports that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were secretly lobbying Republicans to kill a Republican-sponsored bill to regulate the mortgage market.  Going into a government meeting must be like trying to figure out who the ringer is in the Thing. It used to be that the word Byzantine referred to Byzantium.

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