Friday, February 23, 2007

TXU to Judge: Global Warming Not Our Concern

The Huffington Post has an article on the TXU court debate in which the company makes clear its complete and utter lack of concern for the effects of catastrophic global climate change. If you ever needed a clearer example of why an unfettered free market isn't the solution to all our problems, consider this quote, which takes a page right out of the Lee Raymond school of public policy.

A lawyer for TXU Corp has told the judges who will rule on whether it can build a slew of new coal-burning power plants here that global warming is not on the docket, and none of their concern.

"It's for kings and presidents and world leaders to decide how to address global warming," argued TXU attorney John Riley. "It's not for air permit hearings."

With no kings in sight, Texans who oppose TXU's plan to build 11 new plants across the state are nonetheless looking to two administrative judges to block the plan.

They argue it would double CO2 emissions here overnight. Texas already emits more of the greenhouse gas than any other state in the country.

But in court Wednesday, Riley said all that was beside the point. "What we can do to forestall global warming?", he asked. "The scientists still quarrel over it. But it is a very big issue."

"For instance, India is going to build 300 of these plants over the next 10 years, and China 500. My point is, 10 plants is not the significant contributor to the problem that the counsel" is trying to make it into.

In a courtroom where the air conditioner was running on an 80-degree day in February, Riley also questioned whether the US should even want to get ahead of India and China on the issue.

"Does the U.S. want to take that step before others do?"

Now no one is denying that India and China's decision to rely heavily on coal to power their emerging markets is a terrible dilemma and one that needs more public discourse. But that didn't stop the European Union from recommending even tighter restrictions when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Lawyers representing environmental groups opposing the permitting process argue that TXU has a monetary incentive to build as many coal burning plants as possible before a widely expected carbon dioxide emissions cap and trade program is instituted.

Court documents obtained from attorneys for the opposition show that in a conference call in August of '06, TXU officials did speak in detail about how CO2 regulations might work to their advantage.

"While we are not suggesting that a cap and trade program is the right answer, it is one of the many scenarios we modeled," said Jonathan Siegler, the company's vice president for strategy and mergers and acquisitions, according to a transcript.

"If a program similar to the Kyoto Protocol was put into effect in the US," Siegler said on the call, "it would impact TXU in the following ways. Based on the average allocations in the UK, TXU would receive allocations for 70 percent of its current CO2 emissions."

In other words, [attorney Steve] Susman said, the higher the emissions going in, the better for the company.

And elsewhere, Mitchell Schnurman suggests that allowing TXU to build its proposed coal burning power plants will provide a competitive edge that no other company would be able to overcome. According to David Litman, of Texas Business for Clean Air:

TXU getting its way would suck the oxygen out of the market because TXU's price basis would be so low, Litman says. Others couldn't match its costs because they couldn't build as many plants or have the same kind of existing environmental permits.

Hearings on the power plant permits are scheduled to resume June 27.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
TXU Coal Power Customers for sale at $18,750 for each baaaing sheeple head.

TXU has 2.4 million customers forced to buy power from them alone.
That's all it's got plus some aging coal plants. Oh yeah, it also has
$12,300,000,000 of debt too. Some gang is willing to pay
$45,000,000,000 to buy that mess and the only profit can come from the
sheeple with the electric noose around their necks.

Do the math and explain how each customer has to pay out of their
pockets $18,750 so that their new owners just break even on the
purchase price of themselves. (Oh yeah, there's still that $12.3
billion debt the sheeple have to pay, plus interest too.) Did somebody
say PV was going down in price?
"TXU also has about $12.3 billion in debt that likely would be assumed
by a buyer."
$45 Billion Bid for a Texas Utility in Biggest Buyout Ever
Published: February 24, 2007

10:46 PM