Friday, November 16, 2007

Nobel economist worries about recession, And Bogus U.N. Carbon Credits?

From the San Jose Mercury-News:

A Nobel prize-winning economist is trash-talking the former Fed Chairman and President Bush:
Joseph Stiglitz said the U.S. economy risks tumbling into recession because of the "mess" left by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. He also slammed the president for what he called "economic mismanagement."

"I'm very pessimistic," Stiglitz said. "Alan Greenspan really made a mess of all this. He pushed out too much liquidity at the wrong time. He supported the tax cut in 2001, which is the beginning of these problems. He encouraged people to take out variable-rate mortgages."

Stiglitz said the United States has a 50 percent chance of a recession and predicted that growth will slow to less than half of its 3 percent potential. A worldwide jump in credit costs following the collapse of the subprime mortgage market is choking off finance to American consumers, he said.

Greenspan, in a statement, defended his record and said Stiglitz's three criticisms are "inaccurate or incomplete."...MORE


Congress members skeptical of U.N. environmental effort:

Some in Congress are war of greenhouse-gas credits approved by the United Nations because they may not "be real," a key political adviser said.

A climate-protection bill introduced by Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent, and Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, wouldn't permit the use of credits from foreign projects approved by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said David McIntosh, an aide to Lieberman.

Lieberman and Warner are concerned that trading under the UN-managed Clean Development Mechanism, part of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, would allow U.S. companies to "contract with Chinese chemical manufacturers or landfills and those credits would not be real," McIntosh said. In other words, companies might contract for emissions reductions that would have been made anyway, he said.

The UN has attempted to boost the quality of its approved emission credits. In four meetings of the CDM executive board through Oct. 19, 48 percent of the emission-reduction projects submitted were registered and the rest sent for review, EcoSecurities Group said Oct. 6. That's down from a registration rate of 88 percent during the three previous meetings, the project manager said.

EcoSecurities shares fell as much as 49 percent that day on the potential for lower credit supply, while analysts including Per Lekander at UBS in London boosted their emissions-price estimate. CDM credits for 2008 fell today to 17.60 euros ($25.68) a metric ton from a record-high Thursday of 17.70 euros, on the Nord Pool exchange in Lysaker, Norway.

....Blocking U.S. money from flowing into China and India, where there are no restrictions on emissions, is "sort of half the concern," McIntosh said. "Senators Lieberman and Warner are sensitive to the concern here in the U.S. that money being paid by U.S. companies for emissions reductions is not merely resulting in activities in developing nations generating CDM credits that were happening anyway."

Refusing to allow U.S. companies to buy credits from China may boost the cost of curbing emissions, said Abyd Karmali, global head of carbon emissions at Merrill Lynch in London....MORE