Home > Bob Murphy, carbon, exxon capture, obama, Rob Bradley > Bob Murphy, the Heritage Foundation and "green jobs" – ignore coal! We only pay attention to rent-seeking from greens/the left

Bob Murphy, the Heritage Foundation and "green jobs" – ignore coal! We only pay attention to rent-seeking from greens/the left

Bob Murphy has recently noted that he is busy at work, doing yeoman`s work in fighting the good battle against stupid “green” or “clean” jobs that the Obama administration and some enviros are pushing.

This is fine as far as it goes, but in his struggle to be fair and even-handed, it seems to me that Bob has made a rather significant omission, as I noted in the following comment on his related blog post:

Bob, the comments you made on the Heritage panel were generally fine, but I`m surprised that you didn`t note that the clean/green jobs thing is to a large degree classic pork wrapped up in a nice moral package – and so differs very little from other government pork packages.

Was it because you prefer not to edge to close to the point that, if CO2 and soot really do create serious climate risks, then those who who produce fossil fuels (and their primary customers) have been getting a free ride off the back of the public for years, aided and abetted by both parties (but most noticeably recently by big government Republicans)?

This, of course, is the chief reason why greenies argue that the fossil fuel/auto/power industry has been buying political influence – not industry generally, as you asserted in your talk. Such rent-seeking is in fact undeniable, indeed readily apparent. 

A case in point is your own institution, IER. You should know this, but even Joe Romm has apparently also missed that IER is no longer funded by ExxonMobil, which deliberately cut off funding to IER after 2007, on the grounds that they had decided not to fund “several public-policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion about how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.”

ExxonMobil has now decided that climate risks – and the risk of bad policies – merit then public changing their stance to SUPPORT CARBON TAXES, as their CEO Rex Tillerson noted recently:

“It is rare that a business lends its support to new taxes. But in this case, given the risk-management challenges we face and the alternatives under consideration, it is my judgment that a carbon tax is the best course of public policy action. And it is a judgment I hope others in the business community and beyond will come to share.”

So who is left to fund IER, and Rob Bradley`s shiny new blog, Master Resource, which has collected luminary policy wonks like you, Marlo Lewis, and Ken Green? Inquiring minds want to know!

But it`s pretty clear that the only major fossil fuel funding left in the “skeptic” policy camp is coming from coal. 

And while Rob is now very diligently explaining why his Enron connection has nothing to do with the current stance of IER and MR, it`s a puzzling contrast to his unwillingness to acknowledge Exxon`s prominent change in position. 

In fact, in this regard his only dilgence has been expelling me from the blog, for pointing out what Tillerson now has to say, and for criticizing some of the bone-headed, non-libertarian positions some of the bloggers and visitors at Master Resource have taken:

Rot at the Core: Rob Bradley at “free market” MasterResource blog shows his true colors as a rent-seeker for fossil fuels (with links to the quotes above).

How good`s the Big Coal “death train” gravy train?

And when is Joe Romm going to note that Exxon is now his ally?

  1. liberty student
    May 20th, 2009 at 02:13 | #1

    It’s been about 2 or 3 days since I commented.  The comment has not been posted yet.

    [LS, as I noted, the amount of spam and the absence of a captcha means I have to moderate, which means delay as well as the possibility of a mistaken deletion by me.  I have yet to deliberately decline to post a comment.

    I have found your earlier comment and will post it in a second, but you might note that you actually commented on a different thread: http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/05/18/147976.aspx.  TT]

  2. TokyoTom
    May 10th, 2009 at 00:38 | #2

    James, let me respond to you again, slightly differently this time.

    How to explain economics to enviros? My view is that a good start is to try, and with a sympathetic ear.

    Austrians should understand that we mainly face a rent-seekers` game; that it was failure to protect property rights that have led to the worst problems, and that when government acts as owner or regulator (as opposed to info provider or coordinator) then insiders win favorable deals while the general public weal is ignored.

    This might be more successful than taking the approach of Reisman and others, who ignore rent-seeking and the fact that “enviros” are typically a relatively wealthy class, in favor of ad homs about “envirofascists”, and green Nazi-commies.

    There is an active thread at RealClimate regarding the tragedy of the commons; maybe that`s a good place to find a few enviros who might be willing to listen:


    Further, as I noted in my now deleted comment, I agree with you that libertarians that want to be productive area could be champions of promoting greater consumer choice (especially deregulation in the power sector), ending subsidies and encouraging the dissemination of greater information.

  3. TokyoTom
    May 9th, 2009 at 23:57 | #3

    James, sadly, yes, it looks liike I managed to delete my own comments.

    This is mainly a function of the volume of comment spam that I get – pages and pages daily. As a result, I find it most convenient simply to check a box at the top of page and scroll through briefly to unclick real comments before deleting. This time I am my own victim, but unfortunately I have also inadvertently deleted the occasional guest comment. Obviously I need to be more careful.

  4. May 9th, 2009 at 13:26 | #4

    Where did your own comment go???? Did you delete it? why?

  5. May 8th, 2009 at 17:38 | #5

    The frustrating issue for me is that what appears to be the most effective solution – more market, less government, more tort – is the politically least possible. So we have a bunch of government policies promoting all kinds of pollution, and then we need more government policies to deal with that. If I weren’t so angry, I would cry.

    Ok, maybe there is one solution: trying to educate the greens on economics. I doubt that they are being socialist out of malice, I just don’t feel they understand economics.

    But – how does one do that?

  6. May 8th, 2009 at 14:04 | #6

    [and here as well]

    TT, I agree that polluters with good political connections tend to get a free ride. My question, however, is whether a carbon tax is the right approach to this? After all, the carbon tax will not be used to pay those who suffer from pollution.

    Wouldn’t tort law be a better approach? So, instead of putting up a tax that may turn out to benefit current rent seekers indirectly again, wouldn’t it more sense to give standing to those who feel they have been negatively affected by the industry?

    And, wouldn’t it make more sense to stop subsidizing economic structures that encourage fossil fuel use, such as suburbs (created largely by the subsidization of highways)?

    Car ownership continues to be heavily subsidized by the government in countless ways, just as the construction of stand-alone single-family houses, and rural settlement.

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