Friday, July 2, 2010

Climateer Line of the Day: Carbon Traders Edition

At the big climate confab in Bali (the one before the meetings in Copenhagen, Bonn and Bangkok but after the gabfests in Nairobi and Montreal) the International Emissions Trading Association was the largest single Non-Governmental Organization with fully 7 1/2% of the 4483 NGO delegates. There were another 5000 of these jet-setters accredited to various national governments with maybe 1500 journalists reporting on the brutal conditions:
The hotel where British ministers will stay, the Westin Resort Nusa Dua, describes the experience of staying there as "sheer indulgence."
Hilary Benn, the environment secretary, Phil Woolas, junior environment minister, and Gareth Thomas, the junior minister for international development will each have £330-a-night suites around the hotel's "free form" pool, with their own teak-floored bedroom, living room and dining room....

It was at that meeting that big time carbon trading advisor  Lord Nicholas Stern (he of the eponymous Report) said:
"This (climate change) is much too important to leave to environment ministers"
-Sir Nicholas Stern
to Finance Ministers basking in Bali

Anyhoo I saw something yesterday that reminded me of a post from June of '09. Indulge me and I promise I'll get to the CLOD. Here's the prior post:
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
Which leads to the line of the day,
One of the arcane bits of fraudiana engendered by the Kyoto cap-and-trade system was the reduction of a couple of chemicals, HFC 22 and HFC 23.
The fraud is so rampant that even the U.N is embarrassed, and has proposed changes in the scheme.
The IETA responded with a couple press releases, one of which had this gem:
IETA is concerned about the politicized nature of the current public debate and the pressure that such politicization puts on the regulator.
I've been laughing for almost 24 hours.