Let’s All go to the Lobby

Using the research methods that Brody showed us last week, I was able to find an article addressing issues related to Enron that our previous readings did not touch on. This article examines Enron’s impact on the climate change industry, due to their excessive lobbying. Since Enron was one of the first companies to become involved in energy trading commodities, Kenneth Lay made sure to be involved in climate change lobbying. Enron committed many crimes and I do not defend them, but their lobbying efforts are not illegal. Enron was integral in the development of Clinton and Gore’s carbon dioxide trading policies. Enron provided them with many political donations and Enron funded research. Like big tobacco companies, Enron did not publish the results of tests that didn’t accept their alarmist theories of carbon emissions. Another effort to improve thier public image was involvement and donations to many lots of green organizations such as, “World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, World Resources Institute, and World Watch,” to name a few. Lay asked President Clinton to appoint a commission designed to represent scientist as a whole entity and silence skeptics. While the commission was not formed, scientists who questioned them often found their funding pulled  and the object of public ridicule, this attitude still remains today.

The most interesting point i found in this article is that Kenneth Lay, as part of Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development, influenced the President’s decision to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Enron’s lead lobbyist for Environmental Policy and Compliance, John Palmisano, said that the Kyoto Protocol, “will do more to promote Enron’s energy business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside restructuring of the energy and natural-gas industries in Europe and United States.”  He saw the great potential of emissions trading and development funding renewable projects that came with this new protocol. Enron was held in high regard at Kyoto, giving speeches about immanence of a climate change catastrophe if change was not implemented immediately. So, while the scientists speaking out against Enron were silenced, Enron was praised as a progressive company and, “…Proof of the viability of market-based energy and environmental programs is Enron’s success in power and SO2 trading.” But Polisano proved that Enron’s true motives were nothing close to humanitarian when he claimed, “This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!!” in typical Enron fashion.


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