Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Japan aims to limit speculation in emissions trade (or we could just tar-and-feather carbon traders)

There is no reason to believe that the same people who brought us the sub-prime mess, the asset-based commercial paper mess, $147 per barrel oil and everything else we've gone through this year, will do any better running the carbon trade as mercenary tax collectors.

Thinking of private tax collectors reminds me of an old American tradition:
Threaten to Tar-and-Feather 'em.
As far as I can tell, no British tax collector was actually tarred and feathered in the run-up to the stamp tax:
...The intent was clearly to intimidate. Dabbing hot tar on bare skin could cause painful blistering and efforts to remove it usually resulted in pulling out hairs. The use of solvents to loosen the tar was also unpleasant in the extreme, especially when a substance like turpentine came in contact with burned skin....source
From HistoryWiz:
...After the enactment of the Stamp Act, it was common to threaten or attack British government employees in the colonies. No stamp commissioner or tax collector was actually tarred and feathered but by November 1, 1765, the day the Stamp Act tax went into effect, there were no stamp commissioners left in the colonies to collect it....
This changed the next year.
From U. of Arizona Professor Benjamin Irvin for AmericanRevolution.com:
...Throughout New England, tar and feathers soon became the "popular Punishment for modern delinquents." By March, 1770, at least thirteen individuals had been feathered in the American colonies: eight in Massachusetts, two in New York, one in Virginia, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Connecticut. In all of these instances, the tar brush was reserved exclusively for customs inspectors and informers, those persons responsible for enforcing the Townshend duties on certain imported goods. Indeed, American patriots used tar and feathers to wage a war of intimidation against British tax collectors....
Well, enough history. Here's the carbon story from Reuters:
Japan's prime minister wants to limit speculative trading in his country's carbon emissions trading scheme, a senior policy negotiator said on Tuesday.

Kunihiko Shimada, principal international policy coordinator for the Ministry of the Environment, said Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said he wants to examine ways of curbing speculative trading in Japan's emissions trading trial scheme.

"This is a directive coming from the top...they have issues with speculative trading," Shimada told Reuters on the sidelines of a carbon markets conference.

"Transparency and avoiding speculative trading are key issues in the development of our emissions trading scheme," Shimada said, adding that strategy is still a work in progress....MORE