Why some big businesses support Big Green's Big Brother climate deal

Tim Carney:
The unconsidered possibility here: The CEOs of America's biggest companies could have particular interests that don't align with the American economy as a whole.

Large multinational corporations might prefer a global regulatory regime that would simplify things for themselves while imposing tough costs on smaller competitors, reducing competition and raising prices. These big companies might also be well positioned to lobby for the right subsidies, the right mandates and the right regulations that give them a competitive advantage. U.S. consumers and small businesses lack that sort of reach into governments here and abroad.

The other odd idea from the climate deal's defenders is that somehow Paris provides a business opportunity that Americans would lose if we withdrew.

"Watching other countries take the lead in green technologies won't help Trump's promise to get America back to winning again," Rubin wrote. This was a favorite Obama line for the past eight years. "As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy," President Barack Obama said, "so must we."

But it just isn't so.

China is a Communist-run government with a managed economy. They should not be our role model. The United Kingdom has largely abandoned its effort to win the green-energy Olympics. Spain's "green jobs" undertaking ended up costing jobs and was widely panned as a failure.

So chasing more centrally planned economies as they engage in a green-energy subsidy arms race would be a supremely stupid case of trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Of course, pursuing more green energy might make sense even without subsidies. Technologies that conserve energy are often good investments in their own right. U.S. businesses will be exactly as well positioned to pursue such innovation absent Paris membership as they would be under the accord — regardless of whether the treaty ended up imposing binding emissions constraints.
In fact, most small businesses applauded the decision to leave the Paris deal.  I have a minimum amount of trust in big business rent-seekers who want to get their hands into taxpayer pockets.  This deal was more likely to stifle competition than increase it.


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