Brain drain?

One of the dangers I see with the departure of DiPerna and other carbon cap-and-trade proponents, is a knowledge-base that is essential for these markets. While it is understandable, given the political wilt in Washington, a market-based solution needs to remain a viable option. Just this week, there are stories reflecting a serious ebb among pro-market advocates in Washington. Politico quoted an unnamed lobbyist this week as saying “The era of the big bill I think is over.” The article, “Deep freeze ahead for carbon cap bills” also quoted Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune as saying “We don’t think we can fight climate change without getting a comprehensive, economy-wide cap. At the same time, we think in the short term, more significant gains can be achieved by focusing on other strategies.”

The industry lost another market-based supporter last month in Elizabeth Moler, former Exelon lobbyist and past chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who retired from the utility. She was quoted in Climatewire’s “How the GOP and a Slumping Economy Killed a ‘Republican Instrument’” as saying “Now, some of the same people who invented [cap-and-trade] have turned on it as an energy tax. It’s a huge missed opportunity. I don’t know where you go next.”

It can be argued that these folks are seeing Washington, for what it really is right now, an institution that is unlikely to pass anything on climate change, much less market-based. Or it’s a reflection on the dysfunction and cynicism regarding anything “derivatives” or “carbon market” that plagues Congress today.

Oddly, all of this comes in the wake of more non-UN related science that supports the climate change scientists’ conclusions and projections. And it also comes at a time when various polls and articles show strong support of government limits on greenhouse gases, not to mention strong support for cap-and-trade.

Let’s hope the brain-drain and Washington’s energy and climate collapse does not lose too many of those experienced and level heads.

Jim Kharouf

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