Pinko green CEOs

Pinko green CEOs

Rupert Murdoch says climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats. The Wall Street Journals editorial page gives comfort to climate deniers and vehemently opposes federal regulation of greenhouse gases. Now that Murdoch owns the Journal, this cant last. I think the WSJ editorial page will have to change, and thats a good thing.

Call me crazy, but I enjoy their editorials. (By contrast, I cant 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, Ive been at the WSJs 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 CEOsopposing a carbon regulation, opposing subsidies for wind or solar energy, pooh-poohing the potential of biofuels, scoffing at companies that go green. Only at a Wall Street Journal conference could people like Immelt and Scott be positioned as tree-hugging pinkos.

I wrote todays Sustainability column about this dynamic, and Ill blog some about the conference, which was a terrific event, when I have time. Heres 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, Ive never voted for a Democrat! Immelt went on to insist hes 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 GEs wind turbines. And the leader of a conservative think tank, the Competitive Enterprise, accused him of being insufficiently committed to free markets.

Sure, thats Jeff Immelt: Tree-hugging, pinko boss of a $173 billion industrial giant.

You can read the rest here.