Propagreenda: Cap and trade not central planning

May 31, 2009

Desperate greens really will say anything to advance their agenda (i.e., totalitarianism-via-global-warming-regulation).

Rhapsodizing about der wunder of cap-and-trade in a May 31 letter to the Washington Post, Nathaniel Keohane of the Environmental Defense Fund Sturmabteilung wrote that,

History has not been kind to central planners. The way to solve global warming is to harness the power of the market rather than let the government pick the winners. It’s time to unleash America’s entrepreneurs and inventors to solve this critical challenge.

Keohane sets up his deception by seeming to acknowledge that  central planning was debunked by the 20th century — insincerity at its very best since every solution the greens offer to every environmental problem (whether real or imaginary) is central planning.

Keohane then tries to position cap-and-trade as some sort of market-based/free-market mechanism — it’s not.

First, the current iteration of cap-and-trade as embodied in the Waxman-Markey bill is nothing less than the government picking winners (every special interest group that would get free carbon allowances, tax credits and subsidies, not to mention the greens who would acquire unrivaled political power) and losers (the rest, and vast majority of us).

Next, there’s little market-like about cap-and-trade since the government will arbitrarily determine the supply of, and arbitrarily create the demand for the central commodity to be traded (permits to emit CO2).

Cap-and-trade is more akin to musical chairs than a free market. Every year there will be fewer and fewer emissions allowances available. When the music stops — at government whim — businesses that can’t obtain or can’t afford allowances will lose.

Underscoring Keohane’s disingenuosness and the economic threat posed by cap-and-trade is, surprisingly, Bill McKibben, an all-pro green propagandist who, as co-founder of, agitates to return the planet to its supposed halcyon days — pre-1990, when the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide was less than 350 parts per million.

Writing about the choppy water ahead for the Waxman-Markey climate bill in The New York Review of Books, McKibben wrote that,

“… it could be a messy fight…”


“[the] country [is] still suspicious of big government, and currently fearful of depression.”

Yes, Bill, and why shouldn’t clear-thinking people be suspicious of the central planning that is big government and that has been so disastrous to so many?

As one lefty talking to other lefties in the NYRB, I guess McKibben felt comfortable being honest about cap-and-trade. Keohane, in contrast, tells the public in a major daily newspaper that totalitarianism is really just markets-plus-ingenuity.

It’s all rather reminiscent of that old “Arbeit macht frei” ruse.

2 Responses to “Propagreenda: Cap and trade not central planning”

  1. […] central planning or market based economic mechanism (ding, ding, ding, the answer is both!) titled Propagreenda: Cap and Trade not central planning, Steve starts out with the intellectually honest comparison of the Environmental Defense Fund to […]

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