In simpler times, environmentalists and Big Business were on opposite poles. While Greens blamed capitalism for destroying the planet, industry leaders credited the free market system with providing jobs and prosperity. It seems those days are gone.
Shortly after President Biden was elected, more than 150 world leaders signed an open letter to Biden, pledging their support to his administration’s goals to combat climate change. Included among them were Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, and Ford Motor’s Bill Ford.
“While the climate crisis presents incredible challenges, it is also the greatest economic opportunity for innovation, job creation, new businesses, and investment in our communities,” the letter states. “We will work alongside you to realize this ambitious pursuit.”
These industry leaders were not alone in their support of the new administration’s efforts to slay the purported global warming beast.
“We believe there is much common ground on which all sides of this discussion could come together to address climate change with policies that are practical, flexible, predictable, and durable,” reads a new statement on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s website.
General Motors probably went the furthest when it said it intends to end the sale of all gasoline and diesel-powered passenger cars and light sports utility vehicles by 2035. Chief Executive Mary Barra beamed, “We hope to set an example of responsible leadership in a world that is faced with climate change.”
While to some it might seem like wonderful news that Big Business and Big Green have finally become “BFFs,” there are reasons to be concerned. Neither has fundamentally changed its character. They have just found ways to work together to accomplish what each of them wants: pushing an extreme agenda while earning profits.
Prominent in Biden’s $1.7 trillion “Climate Action Plan” are numerous tax credits, subsidies, and other profitable goodies that would make any corporate CEO blush.
His executive order, for instance, that mandates the federal government convert its entire fleet of 645,000 vehicles to “clean and zero-emission” vehicles is good news for certain auto manufacturers struggling to peddle them to an unwilling public. This is likely why GM decided to go “carbon neutral” within 24 hours of Biden’s announcement.
Upgrading 4 million buildings, weatherizing 2 million homes, and spurring “the construction of 1.5 million sustainable homes and housing units,” also contained in Biden’s plan, will mean a lot of money to those well-connected businesses that can grab on to the federal dollars flowing to these projects.
And, of course, there will also be plenty of money doled out to other companies pushing politically correct renewable energies such as solar and wind, those making biofuels, and those involved in the construction of public mass transit.
Ironically, the losers in this newfound relationship are consumers and the environment.
As seen in Europe, where many of Biden’s programs draw their inspiration, energy prices have skyrocketed. Countries such as Germany and Denmark, according to the Institute for Energy Research, now pay over three times more for electricity than the United States, on average. Ditto for European Union gasoline prices, which can be as high as $5 to $6 a gallon.
Even worse, if man-made climate change is your big concern, despite enduring these massive expenses, the U.S. is still on par with (and actually outpaces) its European counterparts in lowering its greenhouse gases. According to the International Energy Agency, “the USA had the most significant CO2 reduction in the world on a country basis” in 2019 (the last year with complete data). By achieving this, which it did via fracking and natural gas, the U.S. avoided massive price hikes and protests such as the yellow jackets in France.
In short, the Biden “Climate Action Plan” appears to be growing in popularity in a number of corporate boardrooms. That’s a shame. Perhaps it’s time for shareholders, ratepayers, and consumers to weigh in and let them know any merger with Big Green interests is likely a bad long-term decision.