Investing in Climate Change

A climate change/carbon cap bill has cleared the House Energy Committee. What’s called the Waxman-Markey bill is quickly slithering its way through the legislative process… much to the dismay of our resident value investor:

This looks likes the most expensive thing to hit the economy since the financial crisis began,” warns Chris Mayer. “First off, the stated objective of cutting carbon emissions by 83% by 2050 will go down in history as outrageous — akin to when Who drummer Keith Moon drove his Lincoln Continental into the pool at the Holiday Inn. I think members of Congress must be smoking the same thing Moon was.

“To meet the Waxman-Markey bill’s goals would mean we have to go back to a carbon footprint about as big as the Pilgrims’ at Plymouth Rock circa 1620.

“So I think the bill is absurd. I think it is also a great blow to what is left of American industry. But who cares what I think? As the great Jeffers wrote, “Be angry at the sun for setting/ If these things anger you.” This is the way the world works. Politicians do dumb things. We have to play the ball where it is. And that means we have to figure out who wins and who loses.

“Among the winners, look to agriculture and trading desks. Agriculture, for whatever reasons, is exempt from the new rules. So farmers don’t have to worry about those manure pools out back or the flatulent cows emitting methane all over God’s green meadows. Those big tractors? Burn up that diesel!

“And as if the government doesn’t help financial firms enough, it is going to hand them a nice tomato in trading carbon credits. The head of Morgan Stanley’s U.S. emission trading desk said: “Carbon, while relatively small, is a critical piece of our commodities offering.” So some financial firms with trading desks in carbon get a nice little payday.