After 12,241 articles questioning the financial motivations of skeptics, someone finally looked at the financial motivations of alarmists:
Amid its calls for individual sacrifices in the name of the environment and paeans to “green” legislation, the network once again failed to disclose prominently that its parent company stands to get rich off of “environmentalist” laws.
NBC Universal is owned by General Electric, which plays a regular role in this column because of how aggressively the company has hitched its profits to its lobbying successes. GE spends more than any other corporation in America on lobbying the federal government — more than $20 million annually over the past three years — and Green Week and Earth Week probably should be disclosed as lobbying efforts.
In many of GE’s businesses, the profit model appears to be: (1) invest in something for which there isn’t much demand; (2) then lobby to mandate or subsidize it.
Wind turbines are a great example. GE describes itself as “one of the world’s leading wind turbine suppliers.” Absent subsidies, however, there might be no windmill industry, because windmills cannot reliably produce energy, and certainly not as affordably as traditional fuels such as coal.
Germany’s energy agency examined its subsidized wind industry and concluded in 2005: “Instead of spending billions on building new wind turbines, the emphasis should be on making houses more energy efficient.” But making houses more energy efficient doesn’t make GE rich.
GE spends millions lobbying to protect and expand the cornucopia of wind subsidies that includes a “production tax credit” for wind farms, government mandates on utilities to buy wind power and local subsidies. In one case in upstate New York, the GE turbines will be powering a wind farm completed using eminent domain.
GE’s coal gasification, solar power generation, electric cars and biodiesel businesses are the same: Consumers and investors acting with their own money would not patronize these technologies, but Congress, acting with your money, will. GE’s $20 million annual lobbying budget sees to it.