Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Climateer Investing on Carbon Trading and Traders

Our preference is "Cap-and-Tax (auction) with 100% Rebate" not Cap-and Trade.

The post immediately below, "Richard Sandor, Barack Obama and the Founding of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CLE.L)" got me to thinking about the carbon markets.
Proponents repeat the mantra that cap-and-trade is a "market based 'solution'". This is, of course, nonsense.

Just as an economist using the tools of science (mathematics) doesn't make economics a science, carbon traders using the tools of markets doesn't make carbon trading market based.

The carbon markets are an entirely artificial construct, beholden to political paymasters for their very existence. Which may be why so many political types are planning to profit from them.
Directly, think Al Gore's Generation Investment Management's investment in carbon project developer Camco or Lord Nicholas Stern's Vice-Chairmanship of IDEACarbon's parent IDEAGlobal or indirectly as a source of campaign contributions for pols still in office, or an unaccountable slush fund in the case of the U.N.

The word artificial led me to think of it's cousin, artifice. Here's the Oxford Pocket definition:
ar·ti·ficen. clever or cunning devices or expedients, esp. as used to trick or deceive others: artifice and outright fakery.
The securities attorneys among our readers will recognize the word from the common state security law usage "...employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud".
Here's the view from Russia, quoted in The Bored Whore of Kyoto:
"I don't know if climate change is caused by burning coal or sun flares or what," said the Moscow-based carbon cowboy. "And I don't really give a shit. Russia is the most energy inefficient country around, and carbon is the most volatile market ever. There's a lot of opportunity to make money."
Here's a former Goldman Sachs trader:
The whole reason for the existence of traders is to make as much money as possible, consistent with what's legal...I lived through this: if you didn't manipulate the market and manipulation was accessible to you, that's when you were yelled at.
-Former Goldman Sachs trader
New York Times, May 8, 2002
Here's Lord Stern at the Bali Climate Conference where the largest NGO contingent were the gang from the International Emissions Trading Association, 336 representatives including lawyers, financiers, emissions traders, consultants, certifiers and emissions trading experts... the IETA made up 7.5% of the 4483 Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) delegates registered for the U.N. shindig:
“Bali will set in motion a process that will define the structure
of the carbon markets for decades to come”
“By 2020 the global carbon market could be worth EUR 240-
450 billion”
-Sir Nicholas Stern
"This (climate change) is much too important to leave to environment ministers"
-Sir Nicholas Stern
to Finance Ministers basking in Bali

I'm with David Sokol (Chair, Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican Energy Holdings subsidiary) regarding the trade part of cap-and-trade:
Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican Energy on Waxman-Markey: "We Don't Much Care For It" (BRK.A)