Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reactions of Proponents to the Death of the Climate Bill and Playing the Policy Players

You thought I didn't notice? Tracking the politicians is one of my mission critical chores, along with making coffee in the morning and turning off the lights when I leave. This policy stuff can be so profitable it is worth putting up with the deceit, obfuscation and outright lies of the players. See links below.*
From The Energy Collective:
Last Thursday, July 27 [sic], Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the abandonment of comprehensive climate legislation, shifting to a much more limited oil spill response-bill with minor energy efficiency provisions. Reid had been hard-pressed to rally sufficient support in the Senate for a market-wide cap on carbon, or even one imposed solely on electric utilities. “It’s easy to count to 60,” he said last week. “I could do it by the time I was in eighth grade. My point is this, we know where we are. We know we don’t have the votes…This is a step forward.”
A roundup of the reactions to Reid’s announcement from various organizations and news outlets is below:

The New York Times, Dot Earth blog, Next Steps on Climate and Energy
“The 20th century ended on Friday, at least in relation to the discourse over what to do about global warming. The end came with the failure of a seven-year effort in the Senate to pass a climate bill centered on a
cap-and-trade system for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.”

TIME, Ecocentric blog, “Why the Climate Bill Died
“Ultimately the threat of global warming didn’t galvanize the public to the point where they would demand change. There are lots of reasons for this—disinformation campaigns by fossil fuel interests, the overblown controversy of “climategate,” a media corps that too rarely puts global warming in the right context. But until that changes—and the public demands change—ambitious climate legislation will remain dead.”

The Washington Post, Ezra Klein, Why a Climate Bill Failed
“It’s no surprise that Congress is collapsing beneath the weight of an energy bill. Climate change, a long-range problem that will primarily harm developing countries and require immediate and difficult policy changes on the part of rich countries that will impose huge costs on particular regions of the United States, is exactly the sort of problem our system can’t handle.”

The Breakthrough Institute, “Myths About the Death of Cap and Trade
“By now it should be clear that if cap and trade can’t pass with 59 Democrats in the Senate and a Democratic President that came into office promising to make climate change a flagship issue, it is not going to pass. It’s clear that this is the end of cap and trade for a long time. Until clean energy technologies are made much cheaper than they are today, substantially reducing carbon emissions will remain expensive, and cap and trade will continue to fail.”

The Alliance for Climate Protection, “Statement on Senate Comprehensive Climate Legislation
“It is wrong that hundreds of millions of lobbying and advertising dollars from big oil and dirty coal, along with obstruction by the Republican leadership in the Senate, have blocked debate and action on comprehensive climate and energy legislation.”

Environmental Defense Fund, “The Consequences of Inaction on Climate Change
“With a crowded Congressional calendar, and time running out, this announcement is discouraging. Will the Senate decide to take any meaningful steps? Right now it’s a long shot, but we’ll continue to work doggedly for a good Congressional outcome.”

League of Conservation Voters, A Message to Our Members and Supporters
“It’s deeply disappointing that Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their allies in the Senate, led by the Republican leadership, continue to stand in the way of creating a clean energy economy that creates jobs, makes America more energy independent and protects the planet. The twin challenges of building a clean energy economy and addressing global warming are too important to fail.”

National Resources Defense Council, “NRDC to Senate Climate Obstructionists: Stop Blocking Our Future
“Over the recess we must deliver a message to senators: ‘Do your job!  We face a triple threat of a stagnant economy, ballooning energy insecurity, and a climate that is coming apart.  Don’t fail us.  Don’t fail our children.  Don’t come home again without having tackled these real and present dangers.”...MORE
*Back in November 2007, in "Light Fixtures: We told you so (Watch the Politicians!)" we re-fef'd some of the posts that laid it out:
One of the guiding principles of this blog is how important it is to know what the politicians are up to. You can make a lot of money with this simple idea.
In "Cap-and-Trade Bill due Soon" we recapitulated some of our thinking:
That's the headline over at the WSJ Energy Roundup. I wish just once they'd screw up and put something like this on the blog:
Polygamous lesbians flee Sharia
Ain't gonna happen though, they're pros.

I know this policy wonk stuff can get boring but there's a reason I put it in the blog; You can make a lot of money if you know what the rules are. I posted the story (pt. 1) about McCormick's reaper to show how a change in the law can make a fortune virtually overnight (after a decade of positioning yourself)
Today MarketWatch reports:
Philips to buy Genlyte for $2.7 billion
Deal to create North America's top lighting manufacturer...
Here's the first of them, from May, 2007:

Global Warming, Politics, Laws and Opportunity
Climateer Investing readers will be well served if they keep track of the various bills currently in Congress, or alternatively if they check in with CI from time to time (he said modestly).

We have entered the political (money) phase of the climate change discourse. So of course I am going to write about wheat.

I first became aware of just how much money can be made by paying attention to what the politicians are up to when I re-read the story of Cyrus McCormick and his Reaper twenty years ago. Most of what I knew of the story turned out to be wrong. On Monday evening I dug out my 1961 edition of "Historical Statistics of the United States" for some backround.

First off the reaper was probably invented by Cyrus' dad: The great demonstration of 1831 was done just six weeks after Robert McCormick's failed demonstration. Second, McCormick's version was not the first patented. Third, the invention was a commercial failure (at first).

There have been many reasons put forth to account for the eventual success of the machine. At a 1931 ceremony marking the centennial of the first test a former governor of Virginia said:
Rather jocularly speaking, he was possessed of a combination of qualities which have at all times proved invincible. He was a Virginian, he was a Democrat, and he was a Presbyterian; and so God blessed him with success because he deserved it.

Invented in 1831 and patented in 1834, McCormick didn't sell a single machine until 1840. The sales figures for the early years are debatable but these are the best I could put together:
1840------- 2
1843------ 29
1844------ 50
1845------ 58
1846------ 75

External factors played a part: Florida, Texas and Iowa were admitted to the Union in '45, '45 and '46 respectively.

Miles of railroad trackage, 2818 miles in 1840 increased to 4633 in 1845 and 9021 in 1850.
The nation's asset base grew e.g. life insurance in force went from $4.7mm (face) in 1840 to $97.1mm in 1850. The country was growing pretty fast.

On the corporate level, McCormick was a pioneer of installment sales.
The company moved to Chicago in 1847. Contrary to what this wonderfully illustrated 12 page history says:
It was not until 1847, when he built his own factory in Chicago, that he was able to sell a significant number of machines.
the salesmen's order books were filling up prior to the move.

This is getting to be a long post. I think I will serialize and show the opportunity created by laws and politics in the next posting.

Part II (above)
Part II had a couple more recent examples that were worth billions to folks who understood what they were seeing.