Monday, January 28, 2002

BOOTLEGGERS AND BAPTISTS - Of Kyoto, greens, and Enron:

In line with the Bootlegger-Baptist theory, the Kyoto protocol provides environmentalists to run interference and reduce favor-seeking costs for interest groups already working to obtain political favors. For example, in January 1997, Enron Corporation, a major provider of low-carbon natural gas, announced the formation of Enron Renewable Energy Corporation indicating that it was "preparing to take advantage of the growing interest in environmentally sound alternatives of power in the $250 billion U.S. electricity market" (Salisbury, 1998). The new division faces the difficult challenge of producing solar and other nontraditional energy products at costs that can compete with conventional energy sources. As a result, Tom White, Enron Renewable Energy CEO, understandably endorsed President Clinton's $6.3 billion plan to fight global warming, which includes $3.6 billion in tax credits to spur the production and purchase of renewable energy and related technologies (Salisbury, 1998). Kyoto-justified taxpayer subsidies will make life easier for firms like Enron.

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