Global Warming Policy and Rent-Seeking

WSJ editorial board member Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. looks behind the veil of growing corporate concern over global warming, and finds that (surprise!) it’s not actually motivated by fears of climate catastrophe:

With the oddball exception of Lord Oxburgh, the retiring chairman of Shell, who overlearned the lesson and has taken to predicting planetary disaster, [BP’s John] Browne and his copycats have largely restricted themselves to acknowledging the inevitability of carbon regulation, not the inevitability of carbon-driven global warming. Most of all, they see a cornucopia of subsidies and tax breaks flowing from an emerging Western consensus to treat carbon as a problem, and Mr. Bush, with his talk of “technological” fixes, is clearly moving their way. […] USA Today went so far as to pronounce the debate “over” in a recent front-page editorial, and it’s almost true. Global warming — the belief system, not the scientific puzzle — has now been fully domesticated and institutionalized. That’s why Mr. Bush felt free to offer his quasi-embrace this week. From a threat to the earth or threat to the economy (depending on your point of view), climate change has become just another excuse for tax breaks, corporate subsidies and soppy PR.

Read the whole thing.