Recent news reports show a parade of corporations, including plastics industry giants ExxonMobil, DuPont Co. and General Electric Co. (soon to be an ex-plastics industry giant!), going to Washington to ask Uncle Sam to mandate tradable carbon emission caps. To be sure, this has generated a lot of friendly comments in the “mainstream media,” but no one so far has seen fit to comment on whether there might be something more to this beyond mere public relations gestures.
ExxonMobil knows it is in the sights of Congress; its record earnings are already being touted as a reason for a new “windfall profits tax,” and it has already been strongly warned by Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe to stop funding any research that might produce differing answers than those of the current socialist party line about how to deal with global warming (the “or else” was not spelled out but strongly implied). ExxonMobil has decided that it might as well join the party since the consequences of not doing so clearly will be most unpleasant.
DuPont and GE haven't had the same treatment from Congress — to the contrary, they have been investing in biofuels and windmills, just as the senators would like them to do. The only problem is that the market hasn't found these products to be particularly effective from a cost and performance basis.
Since the cost of a product is usually a measure of how much energy it takes to produce it, high costs normally signal that the product is not energy efficient, unless the full measure of those costs are concealed by government (taxpayer) subsidies, as is the case with ethanol used in motor fuels.
It's not a pretty sight. Economists call it “rent-seeking” — trying to get the government to interfere with the marketplace for the selective benefit of one or more particular parties at the expense of everyone else.
Franklin International LLC