Enron's Lobbying Goals Would Kill More Jobs Than Its Collapse

Enron's Lobbying Goals Would Kill More Jobs Than Its Collapse

Bankrupt Global Warming Policies Still Alive
January 15, 2002

Washington, D.C., January 16, 2002 — Many members of Congress are criticizing the Bush Administration for not having tried to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs and pensions when Enron Corp. collapsed last month.  Dispute is nearly nonexistent among economists, however, that far more jobs would be lost if Enron ever achieved one it its main political goals—limiting carbon dioxide emissions.  

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A recently revealed Enron memo asserted that the Kyoto global warming treaty and ensuing limits on fossil fuel energy use would “do more to promote Enron’s business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States.”  It was also reported today that Enron lobbied both the Clinton and Bush Administrations frequently and vigorously to cut carbon dioxide emissions under cover of a “market mechanism,” i.e., an emissions trading program.


“As a natural gas producer, gas pipeline owner, wind power generator, and energy trading middleman, Enron knew that it could make huge profits from government programs to cut carbon dioxide emissions,” said Myron Ebell, director of global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  “But Enron’s profits would come at the expense of other industries and consumers.  Every economic study that has been done on the various proposals to ration energy has shown that the economic losses would be enormous—far larger than those caused by Enron’s bankruptcy.  Any emissions trading scheme is simply a hidden tax on energy, as a Congressional Budget Office study reported.”


Unfortunately, Enron’s collapse doesn’t mean that these policies have disappeared.  Several major corporations joined Enron to lobby for the same energy rationing schemes because they stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the backs of consumers and taxpayers.  These corporations include members of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change’s Business Environmental Leadership Council and of the Clean Power Group.


“What’s most shocking is that some of loudest voices in Congress criticizing Enron’s contacts with the Administration, for example Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Joseph Lieberman, support the same policies pushed by Enron to enrich special interests by rationing energy and raising prices,” Ebell added.


CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information about CEI, visit our website at www.cei.org or email the communications department at pr@cei.org.