Mitch Daniels does the right thing AGAIN!

Is there anything ‘My Man Mitch’ doesn’t do right? Isn’t it uncanny that he does them first?

This article in the WSJ highlight another effort from the “Green Police” to enact carbon caps through the back door.

Carbon Caps Through the Backdoor

Copenhagen was a flop. Congress’s cap-and-trade bill is stalled. The EPA has delayed its climate rules. If you think this means American business is escaping the threat of carbon restraints, think again.

Most of the climate debate focuses on Washington. This misses a more clever and committed force—environmental groups that impose their agenda on companies via pressure, legal threat and sympathetic regulators. A textbook example has been quietly unfolding in the insurance sector. The question is whether governors will stand by to let green activists effectively regulate their businesses.

Since the beginning of the climate debate, environmental lobbies such as Ceres (a coalition of activists and investors that pressures companies to go green) have expressed particular interest in insurers. Rather than nitpick every company to adopt climate-change policies, these organizations realized it would be more efficient to target a gatekeeper. Everybody needs insurance. If insurers could be bludgeoned into requiring policyholders adopt carbon-mitigation practices as a requirement for insurance, the activists would have imposed their will widely and quickly.

Yet under the direction of members such as Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg and Pennsylvania Commissioner Joel Ario—both climate crusaders—the task force turned itself into a national climate regulator. In particular, in unveiled its “Climate Risk Disclosure Survey,” a document insurers must complete and make public. This survey was not put forward for legislative approval, but rather presented as something state commissioners must issue unilaterally.

When I called the industry association CEO Chuck Chamness to ask him about this fight, he expressed the general frustration: “We are a good, green industry. What we don’t believe is that our industry should be made into an environmental traffic cop. If there is a need to change business behavior, go directly to the industry in question and regulate it. Don’t use us as leverage.”

Some states have already caught on to this end run around governors and legislatures. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was the first to object, directing his insurance department to refrain from administering the survey. Officials in Mississippi and Missouri have followed suit; Rhode Island says the survey won’t be mandatory.