'Strange Bedfellows' Watch: Reuters climate change edition 

The Big Myth -- the notion that regulation acts as a check on Big Business -- is so widespread that I believe no amount of evidence will shake journalists from their presumption that Big Business wants to be left alone. As a result, we are constantly barraged with stories proclaiming "strange bedfellows" or "unlikely allies" whenever journalists discover Big Business calling for more regulation.

Today, the surprised party is Reuters, and the surprising development is that companies who stand to profit from a cap-and-trade climate bill are lobbying for a cap-and-trade climate bill:

The U.S. Senate's stalled climate bill is getting a last big push from an unlikely ally -- a group of energy companies who say a carbon market will help them get financing for the next generation of energy production.

The article names a few companies: "Duke Energy, Shell Oil Co and General Electric." GE has set up a joint venture that creates, sells, and deals carbon offsets. This business is nearly worthless right now. Under a carbon cap, it  would be in high demand. Duke is heavy in nuclear (low in greenhouse gasses) and its coal-fired generation tends to be in regulated monopoly-markets where they can easily pass rate hikes onto consumers (and get subsidized, probably, too).

[Previously on "Strange Bedfellows Watch": Politico's Eamonn Javers surprised to see "corporate chieftains" visiting the White House; Fred Krupp of the environmental defense fund finds industry support for cap-and-trade "unusual," the Economist declares a uranium giant and cap-and-trade folks "strange bedfellows"; Fortune finds Obama's coziness with Google extraordinary; liberal blogger Matt Yglesias sees Wal-Mart's embrace of a health-insurance mandate that will knee-cap smaller competitors, and declares it a sign that "change is in the air"; Washington Post blogged on the "strange bedfellows" Bob Dole (a drug lobbyist) and Barack Obama (a President pushing a drug subsidy bill).]

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Timothy P. Carney

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