The black art of pricing social costs.
At the Power-Gen International trade show in December, Questar Chairman & CEO Keith Rattie delivered a firebrand speech opposing the prospect of CO2 cap-and-trade legislation. To summarize, he said the Waxman-Markey climate bill is an “asinine” piece of legislation—which it is, as anyone who reads it quickly discovers. But more broadly, he said concerns about greenhouse gases (GHG) are based on incomplete science and politically motivated alarmism. If carbon constraints are adopted globally, they’ll force the global economy back to the 18th century, in terms of energy consumption and living standards. And it’s all unnecessary, he said, because market forces already have demonstrated the ability to reduce carbon intensity and improve efficiency.
It wasn’t the first time Rattie delivered a speech opposing GHG regulation, but it might’ve been the first time a Power-Gen keynote speaker elicited a standing ovation.
Rattie earned the ovation because his speech was refreshing and thought-provoking. Rather than taking a nuanced and politically safe approach to the topic, Rattie came with guns blazing. The Power-Gen audience appreciated this straight-shooting approach—especially given its timing on the first day of the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, and the accompanying green love fest taking place in the popular media and the industry.