GE needs all the help it can get right now, with its stock hurtling closer towards $0 on a daily basis. The company obviously stands to benefit from infrastructure buildout, and from capturing its share of green (energy) dollars. The more wind-turbines we erect, the better for GE.
But there’s a nexus between its green ambitions and its finance unit in the form of a new venture called Greenhouse Gas Services, which will facilitate the trade of carbon tax credits.
Thus as Tim Carney* notes, GE has been lobbying heavily for a cap-and-trade system, rather than a straight tax system which wouldn’t require a market. And of course they got their wish:
GE — a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which advocates cap and trade — leads the push for greenhouse gas restrictions.
In the fourth quarter of 2008 as the company’s stock fell 30 per cent, GE spent $4.26 million on lobbying — that’s $46,304 each day, including weekends, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In 2008, the company spent a grand total of $18.66 million on lobbying.
Reviewing their lobbying filings, you might think you were looking at Al Gore’s agenda. GE’s specific lobbying issues included the “Climate Stewardship Act,” “Electric Utility Cap and Trade Act,” “Global Warming Reduction Act,” “Federal Government Greenhouse Gas Registry Act,” “Low Carbon Economy Act,” and “Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.”
Of course, this market won’t really get going until 2012, so hopefully GE will still be around in its current form to see all the lobbying pay off.
* Yes, John Carney’s brother, blah blah, etc.