Rupert Murdoch says â€œclimate change poses clear, catastrophic threats.â€ The Wall Street Journalâ€™s editorial page gives comfort to climate deniers and vehemently opposes federal regulation of greenhouse gases. Now that Murdoch owns the Journal, this canâ€™t last. I think the WSJ editorial page will have to change, and thatâ€™s a good thing.
Call me crazy, but I enjoy their editorials. (By contrast, I canâ€™t remember the last time I read an editorial in The Times or The Post.) I frequently disagree with the Journal and its columnists, but they are lively, provocative and challenge conventional wisdom. On climate change, however, the edit page has been so ideological, so wrong-headed about the science and so unwilling to offer constructive alternatives that they will becoming irrelevant.
This week, Iâ€™ve been at the WSJâ€™s ECO:nomics conference, watching free-market ideologues like the Journal columnist Kim Strassel and her allies at conservative think thanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute do battle with big-name CEOs like Jeff Immelt of GE and Lee Scott of Wal-Mart over climate change. Not surprisingly, Journal folk are well to the right of the CEOsâ€”opposing a carbon regulation, opposing subsidies for wind or solar energy, pooh-poohing the potential of biofuels, scoffing at companies that go â€œgreen.â€ Only at a Wall Street Journal conference could people like Immelt and Scott be positioned as tree-hugging pinkos.
I wrote todayâ€™s Sustainability column about this dynamic, and Iâ€™ll blog some about the conference, which was a terrific event, when I have time. Hereâ€™s how the column begins:
Jeff Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), was getting defensive – and for good reason. “Look,” he protested, “I’ve never voted for a Democrat!” Immelt went on to insist he’s getting a bum rap. “I work for investors,” he said.
Speaking Thursday at a Wall Street Journal conference on business and the environment, Immelt had come under attack for what was called a “big government” solution to climate change, namely mandatory federal regulation of greenhouse gases.
Kimberley Strassel, a columnist for The Journal, criticized Immelt for taking tax subsidies for GE’s wind turbines. And the leader of a conservative think tank, the Competitive Enterprise, accused him of being insufficiently committed to free markets.
Sure, that’s Jeff Immelt: Tree-hugging, pinko boss of a $173 billion industrial giant.
You can read the rest here.