In some respects, as speechwriter and condidant, he was Ken Lay's right hand man.
His politics lean right, adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute and he is the nemesis of Joe Romm at the left leaning Center for American Progress.*
From Master Resource:
[Ed. note: This week marks the 10th anniversary of Enron's bankruptcy filing (December 2, 2001). Enron's view of energy sustainability drives the Obama Administration's "green 'dream' team" today, so such a look back at Enron's crony capitalism is merited.]Beginning in the late 1980s, global warming became a bread-and-butter issue for Ken Lay, Enron’s leader and up-and-coming industry visionary. Enron in the 1990s became a full-fledged “green” company, practicing “energy sustainability” with its investments in solar power, wind power, energy-efficiency services, and environmental services.
No U.S.-based company sounded the tocsin over climate change more than Enron. What John Browne did as head of the international energy major BP, Ken Lay did in the United States, working with interest groups and political leaders to push the energy industry and public toward carbon dioxide (CO2) regulation.
Lay had his reasons—seven in terms of company profit centers, all of which stood to gain from government restrictions on carbon emissions. They involved:
· Natural gas production (relative to oil and coal),Of these, Enron’s natural gas activities were core, profitable activities (and “win, win” economically and environmentally, in their important applications). But the last four areas were problematic from the start and never profitable, even with special government favor. In retrospect, almost no amount of government subsidy would have been enough for these nascent businesses.
· Natural gas transmission (relative to oil and coal),
· Natural gas-fired electric generation (relative to oil and coal),
· Energy outsourcing (a/k/a energy efficiency) services,
· Renewable energy generation (wind and solar),
· CO2 emissions trading (joining company trading in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide), and
· Environmental outsourcing (a/k/a environmental services).
Kyoto Protocol To “Monetize” Enron ‘s Agenda
But there was always hope.
In late 1997, an elated Enron climate lobbyist reported that a climate-change accord was reached in Kyoto, Japan, among 38 Annex 1 countries (the developed world) to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent by 2008–12 compared to base 1990 levels. The United States, itself committed to a 7 percent decrease, at least in principle, would need new waves of government intervention to reduce its emissions, which meant more subsidies and new mandates for politically correct renewable energies (wind and solar, not hydropower) and energy conservation programs.
Thus Enron’s John Palmisano infamously wrote from Kyoto:And: "Remembering ‘Green’ Enron (Part II: Corporate Social Responsibility)"
If implemented [the Kyoto Protocol] will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the [electricity] and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States…. The endorsement of emissions trading was another victory for us…. This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!It was time to turn deeds into dollars, he added:
Enron now has excellent credentials with many ‘green’ interests including Greenpeace, WWF [World Wildlife Fund], NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council], GermanWatch, The US Climate Action Network, the European Climate Action Network, Ozone Action, WRI [World Resources Institute], and Worldwatch [Institute],” reported Palmisano. “This position should be increasingly cultivated and capitalized on (monetized).Enron was popular at Kyoto. Palmisano spoke on panels and received an award from the Climate Institute on behalf of Ken Lay and Enron. And the praise continued. Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 1998 identified Lay’s company as a key player in a coming “energy revolution.” The authors explained: “Enron, originally a large Texas-based natural gas company, has made a strong move in the renewables field with its acquisition of Zond, the largest wind power company in the United States, and its investment in Solarex, the second largest U. S. manufacturer of photovoltaic cells.”...MORE
*Mr. Romm badly wanted to be a paid consultant to Enron. Among his obsequious communications with the company:
Romm’s Emails to Enron
“I hope there is something in [my book] Cool Companies Mr. Lay can refer to. I’m sorry Enron isn’t in it, but if you have any good case studies, I would love to use them as I talk to the media and Fortune 500 companies. Feel free to use my personal email.”
- Email communication from Romm to Enron, June 6, 1999.
“Your ESCO [Enron Energy Services] folk believe what I say is possible, and, more to the point, is a reasonable ‘goal’–I have that from [EES co-chairman] Tom White himself, though ‘Kyoto’ probably has more meaning as a benchmark goal so that is more my focus now. I have had many discussions with EES’s senior staff. The trick is to combine efficiency, cogeneration, and greenER power purchasing to cut CO2 emissions whiles cutting the energy bill.”
- Email communication from Romm to Enron, July 23, 1999.
Mr. Bradley thoughtfully keeps these alive on the internet along with:
More Deceit from Climate Progress, Center for American Progress (Is Joe Romm shooting himself in the foot?)
Enron and Waxman–Markey: Response to Joe Romm (July 2, 2009)
Joseph Romm and Enron: More for the Record (May 8, 2009)
Joseph Romm and Enron: for the Record (May 5, 2009)
And many more.
Blog wars, yeah baby.