Monday, March 15, 2010

Wall Street Carbon Traders Facing Pink Slips

Finally some good news. Wall Street which had earlier been stretching its hands out with glee to grab the $2 trillion carbon trading jackpot, may now be forced to show the newly appointed carbon traders the door. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Wall Street was supposed to become the capital of a global carbon trading market worth a trillion dollars a year but now many who thought green trading desks would be the next big thing are fearing the pink slip.
US banks had looked forward to a huge "cap-and-trade market" a system where companies would buy and sell the right to emit gases blamed for warming the planet. Many hired carbon traders, picked up assets, and trained members of energy desks to deal in emissions markets.
But prospects for a broad US carbon market have dimmed. US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican working on a compromise climate bill, declared economy-wide cap-and-trade "dead" this month.
At least one bank with carbon trade assets has already been hit. EcoSecurities, a clean energy project developer and carbon trader, bought by JP Morgan Chase last year has closed its New York-based US office leading to a loss of up to 20 jobs.
JP Morgan has said a senior carbon trader, who had recently moved to Washington, is leaving the bank this month. Banks that that did not expand in advance of a cap-and-trade bill may not have to cut much staff, but long-anticipated expansions will not happen either.
"It's like all-out war," Peter Fusaro, an expert at Global Change Associates in New York, said about the political and market odds stacked against creation of a big carbon market. Many in green groups, banks and the government had hoped the United States would anchor a global market worth up to $USD2.0 trillion a year by 2020.
Without creation of a US market on emissions from tailpipes to smokestacks, the Obama administration must find different ways to meet President Obama's goal of cutting emissions 17 per cent by 2020 under 2005 levels.
Whether one believes in global warming or not, it is a sure thing that pollution is threatening fragile ecosystems of the planet. For all the nonsensical "clean-coal" technology talk, any chemistry major will tell you that one can never burn fossil fuels in a clean fashion. The U.S. is the world's largest consumer of energy, a majority of which (86% in 2005) is derived from burning fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas. It is no wonder that the U.S. is also the world's largest polluter, since the by products of burning fossil fuels includes poisonous chemicals like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide (which cause acid rain) as well as toxic metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic.
Actual NASA Picture of Smog Covering China
In addition, with the West having conveniently shifted its industrial plants out of sight to the East, the pollution smog has now moved to envelop the emerging markets of China & India. Major Chinese/Indian cities are now completely cloaked in smog from industrial and vehicular emissions. The situation in these cities is extremely grim, with an alarming increase in the rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases in local populations, especially in young children.
More reckless speculation using Carbon derivatives will not solve the problem. Innovative and environmentally sound green technologies like wind and solar will.

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