Enron & BP: Global Warming as the Great Distraction

In a threepart post over at MasterResource.Org, my colleague Robert L. Bradley, Jr. shows that BP  has much in common with Enron. Both companies aggressively sought rents (politically-contrived profits) via global warming policies. Both aggressively marketed themselves as green. Both were highly regarded as progressive corporations within the environmental community. Both became disasters.

For both companies, global warming advocacy and greenwashing became a fatal distraction, Bradley argues:

Just imagine if John Browne had used the time and resources BP spent on climate alarmism and ‘beyond petroleum’ on real safety and environmental issues.

BP might still have a capitalization of $150 billion and not face a potential worst-case scenario of bankruptcy and ruin. And more importantly, the U.S. Gulf would not be in an environmental crisis.

Just imagine if Enron’s Ken Lay had used the time and resources spent on climate alarmism and forced energy transformation on accounting, risk control, and the real things that promote business sustainability.

Enron might still be with us today.

Diverted management attention has an opportunity cost. Left environmentalists lobbied and praised BP and Enron for putting form over substance. A few shouted ‘greenwashing’, but most applauded their coveted split within the fossil-fuel industry on climate and energy.

Enron is no longer around. Instead it has become the poster child of political capitalism run amuck. And the Deepwater Horizon accident–for which, in an effort to save about $5 million, BP will pay tens of billions of dollars–may sink BP as an independent company.

What an irony: fake environmentalism driving out real environmentalism.