The Well-funded Alarmist Industry

by William Yeatman on March 24, 2008

It's time to lay the ghost of the idea that it is the global warming skeptics who are "well-funded" compared with the alarmists pushing for government policies and intervention. What better proof is needed than the fact that the alarmists have high-priced Washington law firms on retainer? As Tim Carney relates in his DC Examiner column this week:

Julian Robertson, the legendary hedge fund manager, has placed a big bet on the long-term decline of the U.S. economy. Additionally, Robertson is invested in the nuclear energy industry and in Chinese biofuels. He’s also launched an aggressive lobbying campaign to pass federal legislation instituting mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions…

As a case in point, unless you spend time going through federal lobbying records, you probably haven’t heard of Robertson’s big push for cap-and-trade laws. Robertson has hired top lobbying firm Akin Gump to advance such restrictions on Capitol Hill, in the public and in policy arenas. Akin Gump even runs a global warming blog now called “Climate Intel.”

Akin Gump lobbyists doing Robertson’s bidding on Capitol Hill include former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and former Reps. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., and Vic Fazio, D-Calif. What’s Robertson’s angle? Environmental publication Greenwire described Robertson as a “former hedge fund tycoon and now a philanthropist.” Robertson indeed closed down his most famous fund, Tiger Management, earlier this decade, but is still a big investor. Getting richer — not merely philanthropy — motivates these investments.

Add to that the fact that Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection is spending $100m on one ad campaign (as opposed to poor old CEI's ad campaign, which cost a paltry $30k) and you have some indication of just where the money is now. And let's not forget that the single-issue Natural Resources Defense Council is almost twice the size of the Heritage Foundation.

Tim also points out that Robertson is making a bet on the US economy going under, just as George Soros did (and won big!) when he bet heavily on the failure of the UK's involvement in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. As Ivan Osorio asks, "Where's the outrage?"

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