Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pen Meet Paper Dec.7'09

Opinion by Helge Nome
The UN sponsored world climate conference in Copenhagen has begun. Nobody seems to know what the outcomes might be at this stage but it appears, as time goes by, that an increasing number of presidents and prime ministers are going to make a call there.
Canada, and Alberta in particular, are already in the hot seat as climate change copouts. Canada for not living up to Kyoto commitments and Alberta for producing “dirty” oil, in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, from its tar sands.
Climate change is a highly politicized issue with opinions ranging from no climate change, to natural climate change and human caused climate change. It is a confusing picture.
However, there is something that is raising a lot of red flags called “carbon credit trading”. The idea is quite simple: Emitters of carbon dioxide, such as large power generating plants, are putting a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and should be given maximum permissible emissions targets. A financial penalty should be imposed if those plants fail to meet their emission targets.
However, they will be given the opportunity to purchase carbon credits from other individuals/groups/organizations that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
These credits can then be deducted from the actual emission numbers for a plant to bring its net pollution of the atmosphere below its maximum permissible emission target.

For example, the owner of a growing forest could claim to be responsible for removing a certain amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year because the main building blocks of growing trees contain carbon. So a power generating plant should be able to buy the carbon credits estimated to be generated by this forest to go towards meeting its emission targets.
As usual, the devil is in the details: Because of the complexity of the situation, carbon credit trading markets operating on a world wide scale are proposed. And a market means traders, whose motives are?... Need I say more.
For those of us who follow financial markets, stock and bond market, etc., all the bells are ringing and red flags frantically flapping in the wind! Did you say “carbon credit markets”?!
This could become the biggest financial racket in the world to date. Market traders manipulate and skim profit from their transactions all the time. That is when they are not blatantly creating fraudulent financial “products” such as Asset Backed Commercial Toilet Paper and sell this junk to unsuspecting buyers. Next in line: Carbon Credits.
No, Thank You.

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