Todd Wynn

Several corporations recently cancelled their membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over differing views on cap-and-trade legislation. The Chamber of Commerce wants to pursue a rational debate over the direction the nation should take on climate change legislation. Corporations like Nike, Apple and Exelon subsequently left the Chamber of Commerce for a number of reasons. “Saving the planet” is probably not one of them.

As it happens, Al Gore is a member of the board of Apple, and Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook, sits on the board of Nike. So it should be fairly obvious why Nike and Apple are supporting cap-and-trade. Nike’s and Apple’s manufacturing bases also lie mostly outside the United States and would be unaffected by a cap-and-trade program. Thus, both Nike and Apple can project a “green” image for their young, environmentally conscious consumers and gain a market advantage by supporting a program that could hinder their U.S.-based competitors.

Other companies, like Exelon, are simply waiting to feed from the government-imposed cap-and-trade money trough. Exelon is the biggest nuclear power operator in the country, and Exelon’s CEO John Rowe is endorsing cap-and-trade in order to cash in on the numerous subsidies and market manipulations currently written into the Senate climate bill, which could boost Exelon’s profits by $1.1 billion (39 percent).

Apparently, it’s easy being “green,” when “green” means government-guaranteed profiteering and rent-seeking.

Todd Wynn is the climate change and energy policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.


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