Resources on Carbon Trading




Factsheets
  • The Cap and Trade Trail of Failures - Download PDF

  • The Cap and Trade Charade for Climate Change - Download PDF

  • Summary: 13 Reasons Why Trading and Offset Use are NOT a Solution to Climate Change - Download PDF

  • Reality versus Theory--Debunking the Myths of Cap-and-Trade - Download PDF

  • Carbon "Offsets"--A lose-lose-lose scenario to address climate change - Download PDF

  • Summary of federal Waxman-Markey bill - June 2, 2009 - Download PDF




The Book(s)
  • "The main cause of global warming is rapidly increasing carbon dioxide emissions -- primarily the result of burning fossil fuels. Some responses to the crisis, however, are causing new and severe problems -- and may even increase global warming. This seems to be the case with carbon trading -- the main current international response to climate change and the centrepiece of the Kyoto Protocol." -- Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power, edited by Larry Lohman, published by Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Durban Group for Climate Justice and The Corner House, October 2006. - Download PDF


  • Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets , edited by Steffen Bohm & Siddhartha Dabhi, published by MayFlyBooks, 2009. - Download PDF


  • Trading Carbon , FERN, 2010. - Download PDF





Articles


Speaking Out Against Carbon Trading:
  • "Without so much as a farewell tip of the hat, President Barack Obama has pulled the plug on his much-promoted goal of comprehensive climate-change legislation. In his agenda-setting State of the Union address, he dropped any U.S. move toward EU-style cap and trade. Significantly, the word 'climate' was never uttered." -- "U.S. Shelves 'Cap and Trade' -- Policy Shift (and Congressional Opposition) Sink EU-Style Climate Exchange-Market In U.S.," Power-Gen Worldwide , Mar. 10, 2011.


  • "[C]arbon trading can create huge temptation for graft due to the amount of money it generates. The ingredients - multiple polluters, remote forests, invisible gases, financial speculators and hard-to-verify carbon offsets - make carbon trading a recipe for corruption...” -- "World ponders alternatives to troubled carbon market," Alternet , Jan. 24, 2011.


  • "The nation's first experiment in carbon emissions cap and trade has come to an end, but its mark on the climate change industry will be felt for some time to come.... CFIs once traded as high as $7.50 per metric ton of CO2-equivalent emissions, but as of last Friday, the exchange trading price was just 5 cents, the same price they've been at for more than a year. 'Quite frankly, the market has pretty much collapsed,' said James Hugh, who handles CCX transactions for the utility PSEG. 'There really isn't all that much to do there.'” -- "Chicago Climate Exchange Closes Nation's First Cap-And-Trade System but Keeps Eye to the Future," NY Times , Jan. 3, 2011.


  • "Barely a week ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid assured West Virginia governor-cum-senator Joe Manchin that any attempt to control greenhouse gases via a cap-and-trade system is dead and six feet under. Grassroots and left-leaning environmental organizations, however, claim the Nevada Democrat showed up nearly a year late to the funeral of the much-maligned, market-based measure. A majority of them aren’t mourning the evident demise of poor ol’ cap and trade.” -- "In Rubble of Cap-and-Trade, Big Green Taking a Beating," SolveClimate News , Nov. 23, 2010.


  • "Businesses seem to have called time on the US's only national carbon trading market, blaming an absence of legislation as emissions-trading laws remain mired in Congress. Cap and trade remains a loss-making business in the US and yesterday Jeff Sprecher, chief executive of IntercontinentalExchange, which owns the CCX, told the Financial Times that companies wanted to pull out. 'The voluntary market that was created has an expiration date of the end of this year in it,' he said. "The bulk of the users have said to us that they really don’t want to continue to trade voluntarily in the absence of any credit for their work by the current administration.” -- "US carbon trading could cease by the end of the year," BusinessGreen.com , Nov. 2, 2010.


  • "As climate regulation spreads, destroying the gas, known as HFC-23, has become a lucrative business, and over the past five years, financiers and industrial companies have begun turning those streams of waste into hefty returns... Critics have warned for years that this form of offsetting would encourage profiteering, with little or no value in efforts to curb climate change. More recently, opponents of offsetting have likened the system to the kind of financial engineering on Wall Street that helped precipitate the recent banking crisis... HFC-23 credits also make up about half the supply of international offsets approved by the United Nations to date. But in March, another nonprofit organization, CDM Watch, which is based in Brussels, raised allegations with the United Nations’ climate office that some plants were producing more refrigerant than they needed to meet market demand to cash in on credits for HFC-23... The controversy over offsetting is the latest blow to emissions trading, which has been racked by a spate of problems in Europe including cyberattacks, tax fraud and recycling of used credits.” -- "Cap-and-Trade Is Beginning to Raise Some Concerns," NY Times , Aug. 29, 2010.


  • "Some climate activists may be good enough rhetoricians to generate mild support for something on the lines of ACES or Kerry/Lieberman. But there is nobody who could actually generate enthusiasm for it. And those who come closest would not because they could not work up enthusiasm themselves. An argument a lot of people who want to separate rhetoric from policy make is that no policy that would actually tackle the climate crisis could win over the Tea Party. That misses the point. The question is how to stir up enough enthusiasm in people who already care about the climate crisis, so they will get up and convince others. It is not that attractive policy by itself will win their active support. It is that limp policy will kill any chance of stimulating excitement, enthusiasm and motion.” -- "Can the climate bill’s death help build a living climate movement?," Grist , Aug. 7, 2010.


  • "Environmentalists went with an all-or-nothing strategy for the 111th Congress. Nothing won. Now, green groups licking their wounds after spending tens of millions of dollars to pass a cap-and-trade bill must answer serious questions about whether they are capable of playing another round of hardball.” -- "Greens defend climate tactics," Politico , Aug. 5, 2010.


  • "[W]e have to ask for what we actually need, not what we calculate we might possibly be able to get. If we’re going to slow global warming in the very short time available to us, then we don’t actually need an incredibly complicated legislative scheme that gives door prizes to every interested industry and turns the whole operation over to Goldman Sachs to run. We need a stiff price on carbon, set by the scientific understanding that we can’t still be burning black rocks a couple of decades hence. That undoubtedly means upending the future business plans of Exxon and BP, Peabody Coal and Duke Energy, not to speak of everyone else who’s made a fortune by treating the atmosphere as an open sewer for the byproducts of their main business... But no one will come out to fight for watered down and weak legislation. That’s not how it works... And in any event it won’t work overnight. We’re not going to get the Senate to act next week, or maybe even next year. It took a decade after the Montgomery bus boycott to get the Voting Rights Act. But if there hadn’t been a movement, then the Voting Rights Act would have passed in… never. We may need to get arrested. We definitely need art, and music, and disciplined, nonviolent, but very real anger. Mostly, we need to tell the truth, resolutely and constantly. Fossil fuel is wrecking the one earth we’ve got. It’s not going to go away because we ask politely. If we want a world that works, we’re going to have to raise our voices.” -- "Tomgram: Bill McKibben, A Wilted Senate on a Heating Planet," TomDispatch.com , Aug. 4, 2010.


  • "Cap-and-trade was popular inside the Beltway—some business interests and many mainstream environmental groups insisted on it—but it is a total loser in the larger battle to excite and mobilize public opinion. Attacks by climate-change denialists took a toll, but the arcane nature of cap-and-trade made it hard to love, and its links to the financial industry, originally viewed as an asset, turned toxic after the housing bubble burst... Under a cap, the price on carbon would be murky, since it would be set in a vast trading market and determined by fluctuating factors like the economic growth rate, consumer and producer price elasticities and hedge bets by speculators. With the carbon fee, the carbon price would be set up front and its rising trajectory known in advance, allowing consumers and entrepreneurs to bank on the future value of saving energy. The price incentive to move away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels would penetrate every crevice of the economy, ensuring that few if any opportunities to reduce climate-changing emissions were left on the table. Fee-and-dividend is superior to cap-and-trade on grounds of both political appeal and economic efficiency... For over a dozen years, since before the 1997 Kyoto climate summit, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Pew Charitable Trust and other Big Green groups have been unshakably committed to cap-and-trade. Without bothering to consult grassroots activists or more maverick groups like Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, Big Green anointed cap-and-trade as its climate mantra and forged a high-minded Beltway alliance with corporate giants like Exelon and GM. The idea was to "put a price on carbon," but in secret... The fate of the climate—and perhaps the viability of EDF, NRDC et al. as well—may now turn on the environmental lobby's willingness to embrace the alternative that has been there all along: a revenue-neutral, steadily rising carbon fee, the proceeds from which would be redistributed to Americans via equal monthly dividends... A climate bill based on a revenue-neutral and rising carbon fee would not require a cap-and-trade market in carbon derivatives; would be transparent and hence less vulnerable to the K Street carve-outs that turned cap-and-trade bills into laughing stocks; could be imitated internationally (since carbon fees are fungible while carbon caps are not); and wouldn't require a PhD in complexity to grasp. Indeed, one such bill, America's Energy Security Trust Fund Act of 2009, sponsored by Connecticut Democrat John Larson, is all of twenty-one pages, versus upwards of 1,500 for the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that squeaked through the House last year and the similar Kerry-Lieberman bill that just died in the Senate. Yet the emission reductions under the Larson bill would be two to three times as great as those from Waxman-Markey... We can drive emissions reductions throughout the economy while protecting Americans' pocketbooks if we reframe the climate debate. Cap-and-trade is dead, and not a moment too soon. With its simplicity, its transparency and its economic rewards for everyone but die-hard polluters, fee-and-dividend could be a political winner. If environmentalists and others who care about averting climate catastrophe can unite around this approach, the public is ready to be convinced and, one hopes, mobilized. And, as two centuries of struggle for racial, labor and gender justice should have taught us, a mobilized public is essential to winning the climate battle.” -- "Senate Climate Bill Dies—Does the Environment Win?," The Nation , July 28, 2010.


  • "Remember the president's campaign pledge to represent the people, not the lobbyists? That's not what he's done on this issue. For several years the Beltway wisdom has been that it is impossible to pass a bill without the approval of historic polluters, particularly the utilities, which run coal-burning power plants, the nation's single largest source of climate-changing pollution. The administration and Congress did their best to get the industry's permission for new regulations. They proposed handing power companies hundreds of billions of dollars worth of allowances to pollute, additional billions to subsidize the development of technology to sequester carbon from coal-fired plants, and evisceration of federal authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon. Peter Orszag, the budget director, said giving away pollution permits would be "the largest corporate welfare program that has ever been enacted in the history of the United States." But no matter -- it wasn't enough.” -- "Four Ways to Kill a Climate Bill," Huffington Post , July 26, 2010.


  • "Months after the Waxman-Markey/Kerry-Lieberman bill died, Harry Reid and environmentalists have finally admitted it is dead, and may even be ready to remove its rotting corpse from the living room and give it a decent burial. Though the death was clearly murder by Republicans and "centrist" Democrats, malpractice from mainstream environmental groups helped kill a chance for the climate that a different treatment might have saved. The fundamental error was to try and pass a bill via deal-making rather than grass-roots pressure, partially on the assumption that the Obama administration shared environmentalist priorities, and would spend political capital to pressure reluctant Senators and Congress members to support the bill. This fundamental error led to pre-compromising the legislation, making concession after concession in hopes of attracting support. Note that no promises were obtained in return for these concessions. The bill was weakened in hopes of reciprocation, appeasement rather than compromise. In turn, this led to a bill about which supporters said things like "it could be worse," "it is a start". There was no way to generate grassroots enthusiasm for such a bill, and not much chance of generating enthusiasm even among most elites -- a few insiders and wannabe insiders being the exception. That deal-making approach in turn centered the bill around putting a price on carbon. Even a low price on carbon, riddled with loopholes, would set up a framework that could be built upon and improved -- or so many environmentalists assumed. From a policy standpoint this is nonsense. Reducing emissions requires an infrastructure transformation.” -- "The climate bill is dead. Long live the climate bill!," Grist , July 23, 2010.


  • "The headline has been written countless times, but this time it is true: carbon cap-and-trade of any sort will not come out of this Congress—and perhaps it never will. Instead of comprehensive economy-wide carbon cap that Senator John Kerry had urged—and that the House had already passed a year ago—or even the compromise utility-only cap bill that had been suggested as an alternative, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he would move forward next week on a bill that only deals with the BP oil spill and a few other low-profile energy policies. The reason was simple, according to Reid—politics... Over the past few years, most environmental groups have made climate change their number one priority. And within that—led by wonky organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and especially the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)—shooting for an economy-wide carbon cap was the number one tool... That was the great green pitch—trust me, I've been getting it almost every day, in various ways, for the past two years. That pitch failed... at the end of the day, the pitch failed—after November it's hard to imagine we'll soon get back to a more positive political atmosphere for climate action—and it might be time for a new one. When a pitcher can't close the game—I know this, I've been watching Brad Lidge for two and a half years—you give him the hook. 'It's hard to see cap-and-trade coming back anytime within the next decade,' Shellenberger told me.” -- "Cap and Trade is Dead (Really, Truly, I'm Not Kidding). Who's to Blame?," Time , July 22, 2010.


  • "The Senate’s antipathy to even the partial cap-and-trade proposed by Sen. Kerry will doubtless be spun as indicating that for the foreseeable future the well for climate legislation has been poisoned. The Carbon Tax Center says that the opposite may be true: with cap-and-trade out of the way at last, the political well can begin to be de-toxified so that the effective, equitable and transparent carbon fee-and-dividend can be seriously considered. For this to happen, however, the Big Green groups like EDF and NRDC that for years have dominated climate discourse among environmentalists, and that convinced Congressional Democrats and the White House that the only way to “put a price on carbon” in America was via carbon cap-and-trade, will have to abandon that approach and allow others, and themselves, to try a fresh start... Big Green’s pursuit of carbon cap-and-trade tethered the climate movement to complex financial instruments and branded us as servants of Wall Street elites. It opened the legislative floodgates to off-the-charts Beltway deal-making that rightly repulsed the public. Perhaps most importantly, the co-optation of climate advocacy by the cap-and-traders robbed us of the high moral ground we might have shared with abolitionists, suffragists, labor agitators and civil rights workers — true American heroes who fought to liberate our society of oppression and injustice.” -- "Arising from the Senate’s Ashes?," Carbon Tax Center , July 22, 2010.


  • "As signs grew that the Senate was in no mood to set up a trading system for curbing carbon dioxide emissions, as I noted how the climate policy debate had circled back lately to the emissions-capping plan for power plants that had been proposed in the 2000 Bush campaign for the presidency, I found myself thinking about the vacuum that’s persisted where President Obama should have been on this issue (if he planned to live up to his campaign commitments). Today Democrats conceded there was no chance for a broad energy bill this session... There is a path toward action that can avoid the paralysis around the cap-and-trade concept that has become the best friend of stasists seeking status-quo energy policy. Perhaps after the November elections, the path toward a new framing on the climate issue is possible. We’ll see.” -- "With No Obama Push, Senate Punts on Climate," Dot Earth, NY Times Opinion , July 22, 2010.


  • "The effort to advance a major climate change bill through the Senate this summer collapsed Thursday even as President Obama signed into law another top Democratic priority — a bill to restore unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who have been out of work for six months or more... Bowing to political reality, Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, said the Senate would not take up legislation intended to reduce carbon emissions blamed as a cause of climate change, but would instead pursue a more limited measure focused on responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and tightening energy efficiency standards... The decision was a major disappointment to conservation groups and lawmakers who had invested months in trying to negotiate legislation. The House last year passed its own climate change bill, a proposal that has created a backlash for some politically vulnerable Democrats. The outcome was also viewed as a setback by some utility executives who had hoped that Congress would set predictable rules governing carbon pollution.” -- "Democrats Call Off Climate Bill Effort," NY Times , July 22, 2010.


  • "Kerry-Lieberman relies on pollution trading schemes that could be fodder for Wall Street manipulation — schemes that look certain to undermine rather than advance carbon reduction efforts. At least initially, the proposed bill gives away pollution allowances rather than auctioning them. As a result, consumers could foot the bill while electric utilities reap potential windfall profits. The proposed legislation also relies on offset loopholes — often empty promises to “achieve” emissions reductions elsewhere. These are the sort of promises that have led, in other cases, to international fraud and abuse... We do not expect that climate legislation can ever be perfect. But, at a minimum, it does need to take us in the right direction.” -- "Bill puts polluters before climate," Politico.com , May 21, 2010.


  • "Environmentalism is dead. It has been co-opted and corrupted to the point of absolute strangulation, and what remains of the corpse is being devoured rapaciously by the necrophiliacs at your favorite corporate-controlled big enviro - yes, the list of cannibals is much longer than The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, and Repower America, and the responsibility lies with those not herein named to prove themselves worthy candidates for resurrection as organizations willing to serve the next seven generations instead of the next seven figures.” -- "Environmentalism is dead," Counterpunch.org , May 21, 2010.


  • "The main argument for supporting Kerry-Lieberman seems to be 'it's a crappy bill but once it passes it will get better'.... the Kerry-Lieberman supporters of today claim it will make it easier to tighten caps and cut emissions - while its actual provisions will make the climate problem worse.” -- "Kerry-Lieberman is worse than nothing, no matter how loudly supporters clap," Grist , May 19, 2010.


  • "I recently posted that Kerry-Lieberman is not worth fighting for. It also won't pass. This proposal is dead on arrival.” -- "Kerry-Lieberman has zero chance of passing," Grist , May 19, 2010.


  • "The Valley gave us the microprocessor, Google, and the iPod. The Street gave us the C.D.O., the A.B.S., and the C.D.S.—not to mention the kind of computerized trading that enabled last week’s stock-market nosedive. Not surprisingly, then, the whole notion of 'financial innovation' is being looked at with a gimlet eye, and Congress is now considering various ways to rein in the banking industry’s excesses. Given the tumult of the past few years, the barter system is starting to look good... But even a potentially useful idea like the creation of a carbon-permit market to fight global warming is already being dismissed as Wall Street’s 'next big scam.'” -- "Too Clever By Half?," The New Yorker , May 17, 2010.


  • "In introducing the "American Power Act" on May 12, 2010, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) seemed oblivious to the various public relations disasters the industries favored in their bill had suffered in recent weeks. In short order, we have witnessed: an explosion at a Massey coal mine in West Virginia, in which 29 workers were killed; BP's unfolding oil catastrophe, wherein 11 workers were killed in what is proving to be the worst offshore oil industry disaster in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico; and the contamination of the groundwater supply of much of southern New Jersey by a tritium leak from the aging Oyster Creek nuclear power plant. Unabashed, the two senators took to the podium accompanied by nuclear and coal industry titans (though nary an oil exec in sight) to introduce draft legislation that subsidizes nuclear power, "clean" coal (an oxymoron, if there ever was one), and incentivizes states' support for offshore oil drilling, while gutting the EPA's authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. In addition, despite an Interpol investigation into organized crime's involvement in forest carbon offsets and massive tax fraud in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, Senator Kerry promised the bill would provide "additional carbon offsets". Do we really need more than the 2 billion tons of carbon offsets per year already provided under the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill? The U.S. Government Accountability Office studied carbon offsets and found them impossible to verify. This quantity of carbon offsets means the U.S. could make no verifiable emissions reductions until at least 2030...” -- "Kerry, Lieberman Promote Offshore Oil, Coal, Nukes, Offsets in New 'Climate' Bill," Huffington Post , May 13, 2010.


  • "200 environmental, peace, consumer, religious organizations and small businesses today joined together to blast the Kerry-Lieberman "climate" proposal as a taxpayer bailout of the nuclear power industry and other dirty energy interests that would be ineffective at addressing the climate crisis.” -- "Kerry-Lieberman Dirty Energy Bill Is No Solution to Climate Crisis," NIRS.org , May 12, 2010.


  • " In the midst of what appears to be the worst offshore oil disaster in American history, U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) will today put forth a draft climate bill that will not solve the problems of global warming and continues pandering to the fossil fuel industry -- including expanded offshore oil drilling -- that created the problems in the first place... In response, Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kierán Suckling urged rejection of the proposal unless these problems are addressed. He issued the following statement: 'The climate proposal put forth today by Senators Kerry and Lieberman represents a disaster for our climate and planet. This proposal moves us one baby step forward and at least three giant steps back in any rational effort to address the climate crisis. The senators' proposal would entrench our addiction to fossil fuels by offering incentives for increased oil and gas drilling just days after what appears to be the worst offshore oil disaster in American history. Large domes, small domes, golf balls, garbage, chemical dispersants, fire -- none have succeeded in stopping the enormous flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Clearly, there are no 'safeguards' Senators Lieberman and Kerry could put into this bill to make offshore oil safe.” -- "Kerry-Lieberman Climate Proposal a Disaster for Climate," CommonDreams.org , May 12, 2010.


  • "It’s not accurate to call this a climate bill. This is nuclear energy- promoting, oil drilling-championing, coal mining-boosting legislation with a weak carbon pricing mechanism thrown in. And it guts the EPA’s current authority to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act... Rather than Obama’s cap and dividend plan that required polluters to pay and distribubted 80% of the money directly to families through the Making Work Pay tax credit, or the Cantwell-Collins CLEAR act which distributes monthly checks to households, the Kerry-Lieberman approach relies on distributing valuable free allowances from 2013 – 2029 to utilities, and then requiring that utilities use the money “exclusively for the benefit of the ratepayers.” But Congress won’t be defining “benefit”; rather, 50 different state utility commissions will. Some will do a great job, but most will allow utilities to structure expensive energy efficiency programs that benefit shareholders more than ratepayers.” -- "Kerry Nuclear Energy/Cap n’ Trade Bill," Public Citizen , May 12, 2010.


  • "Friends of the Earth’s president, Erich Pica, had the following response to the four-page and 21-page summaries of the 'American Power Act' cap-and-trade proposal by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman that leaked today: 'The bill described in these summaries would scrap crucial tools for solving the climate crisis while locking in billions in polluter payouts. It would be a step backward in the fight against climate disruption—great for polluters, but bad for people and the planet.'” -- "Dangerous Senate Bill Threatens to Stymie Fight Against Global Warming," Friends of the Earth , May 11, 2010.


  • "FRONTLINE/World journeys to the remote rainforests of Brazil, where several American companies have been on the hunt for an increasingly valuable new commodity -- carbon. But investing in big tracts of forest in order to soak up the carbon they may have to account for in proposed energy legislation is not without its costs.” -- "The Carbon Hunters," PBS Frontline , May 11, 2010.


  • "Global warming is our biggest environmental problem, and carbon offsets are one of our biggest barriers to a solution... the concept requires absolute and permanent knowledge of human activity everywhere on Earth. Were the Zambian farmers letting the land go fallow anyway? Will they avoid tilling forever? Will the purchased forest never see a chain saw or a wildfire? Tragically, the cap-and-trade bill passed last year by the House of Representatives allows up to 2 billion tons of carbon offsets per year for U.S. companies. This turned the bill into a joke, making it possible for carbon emissions to actually rise in America for the next two decades.” -- "Twelve things the world should toss out: Carbon Offsets," The Washington Post , May 9, 2010.


  • "It is important to remember that the pending climate bills represent only a very modest step forward in taking on the climate problem. At 17 percent by 2020, the emission reductions are small compared to the cuts called for by scientists to stabilize the climate, and even then, the generous opportunity provided in the bills to count forest and farmland conservation against pollution reduction requirements means that pollution may be offset rather than actually cut. Attempting these far reaching rollbacks of long-standing and proven environmental policy is a particularly bad idea in the context of climate change. We know climate change presents greater challenges than any environmental problem confronted to date, imperiling the nation's security and economy as well as public health.” -- "Climate Shouldn't Kill Clean Air," Huffington Post , Apr. 29, 2010.


  • "In Copenhagen, leaders of endangered nations like Bolivia and Tuvalu argued passionately for the kind of deep emissions cuts that could avert catastrophe. They were politely told that the political will in the North just wasn't there. More than that, the United States made clear that it didn't need small countries like Bolivia to be part of a climate solution. It would negotiate a deal with other heavy emitters behind closed doors, and the rest of the world would be informed of the results and invited to sign on, which is precisely what happened with the Copenhagen Accord. When Bolivia and Ecuador refused to rubber-stamp the accord, the US government cut their climate aid by $3 million and $2.5 million, respectively.” -- Naomi Klein, "A New Climate Movement in Bolivia," The Nation , April 22, 2010.


  • "Pledges made at December's UN summit in Copenhagen are unlikely to keep global warming below 2C, a study concludes. Writing in the journal Nature, analysts at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research in Germany say a rise of at least 3C by 2100 is likely. The team also says many countries, including EU members and China, have pledged slower carbon curbs than they have been achieving anyway... An additional factor flagged up in the analysis is that many countries have accrued surplus emissions credits under the Kyoto Protocol. Countries such as Russia and other former Eastern bloc nations comfortably exceeded their Kyoto targets owing to the collapse of Communist economies in the early 1990s. Without a binding global agreement preventing the practice, these nations would be allowed to put these "banked" credits towards meeting any future targets - meaning they would have to reduce actual emissions less than they promised. These "hot air" credits could also be traded between nations.” -- "'Paltry' Copenhagen carbon pledges point to 3C world," BBC News , April 21, 2010.


  • "Today, the concept [of cap-and-trade] is in wide disrepute, with opponents effectively branding it 'cap and tax,' and Tea Party followers using it as a symbol of much of what they say is wrong with Washington. Mr. Obama dropped all mention of cap and trade from his current budget. And the sponsors of a Senate climate bill likely to be introduced in April, now that Congress is moving past health care, dare not speak its name.” -- "'Cap and Trade' Loses Its Standing as Energy Policy of Choice," NY Times , March 25, 2010.


  • "Why did America's leading environmental groups jet to Copenhagen and lobby for policies that will lead to the faster death of the rainforests--and runaway global warming? Why are their lobbyists on Capitol Hill dismissing the only real solutions to climate change as "unworkable" and "unrealistic," as though they were just another sooty tentacle of Big Coal? At first glance, these questions will seem bizarre. Groups like Conservation International are among the most trusted "brands" in America, pledged to protect and defend nature. Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world's worst polluters--and burying science-based environmentalism in return. Sometimes the corruption is subtle; sometimes it is blatant. In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate, waiting to be exposed... While I witnessed these early stages of ecocide, I imagined that American green groups were on these people's side in the corridors of Capitol Hill, trying to stop the Weather of Mass Destruction. But it is now clear that many were on a different path--one that began in the 1980s, with a financial donation. Christine MacDonald, an idealistic young environmentalist, discovered how deeply this cash had transformed these institutions when she started to work for Conservation International in 2006... She soon began to see--as she explains in her whistleblowing book Green Inc.--how this behavior has pervaded almost all the mainstream green organizations. They take money, and in turn they offer praise, even when the money comes from the companies causing environmental devastation... the addiction to corporate cash has changed the green groups at their core. As MacDonald says, "Not only do the largest conservation groups take money from companies deeply implicated in environmental crimes; they have become something like satellite PR offices for the corporations that support them." It has taken two decades for this corrupting relationship to become the norm among the big green organizations... Yet the "conservation" groups in particular believe they are being hardheaded in adhering to the "political reality" that says only cuts far short of the climate science are possible. They don't seem to realize that in a conflict between political reality and physical reality, physical reality will prevail. The laws of physics are more real and permanent than any passing political system. You can't stand at the edge of a rising sea and say, "Sorry, the swing states don't want you to happen today. Come back in fifty years." The US climate bills are long-term plans: they lock us into a woefully inadequate schedule of carbon cuts all the way to 2050. So when green groups cheer them on, they are giving their approval to a path to destruction--and calling it progress... The green groups have become "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party, regardless of how pathetic the party's position is," Suckling says in despair. "They have no bottom line, no interest in scientifically defensible greenhouse gas emission limitations and no willingness to pressure the White House or Congress." It will seem incredible at first, but this is--in fact--too generous. At Copenhagen, some of the US conservation groups demanded a course of action that will lead to environmental disaster--and financial benefits for themselves. It is a story buried in details and acronyms, but the stakes are the future of civilization... In practice, the REDD program is filled with holes large enough to toss a planet through... When you claim an offset and it doesn't work, the climate is screwed twice over--first because the same amount of forest has been cut down after all, and second because a huge amount of additional warming gases has been pumped into the atmosphere on the assumption that the gases will be locked away by the now-dead trees. So the offset hasn't prevented emissions--it's doubled them... And the news gets worse. Carbon dioxide pumped out of a coal power station stays in the atmosphere for millenniums--so to genuinely "offset" it, you have to guarantee that a forest will stand for the same amount of time. This would be like Julius Caesar in 44 BC making commitments about what Barack Obama will do today--and what some unimaginable world leader will do in 6010. In practice, we can't even guarantee that the forests will still be standing in fifty years, given the very serious risk of runaway warming. You would expect the major conservation groups to be railing against this absurd system and demanding a serious alternative built on real science. But on Capitol Hill and at Copenhagen, these groups have been some of the most passionate defenders of carbon offsetting. They say that, in "political reality," this is the only way to raise the cash for the rainforests, so we will have to work with it. But this is a strange kind of compromise--since it doesn't actually work. There is a broad rumble of anger across the grassroots environmental movement at this position. "At Copenhagen, I couldn't believe what I was seeing," says Kevin Koenig of Amazon Watch, an organization that sides with indigenous peoples in the Amazon basin to preserve their land. "These groups are positioning themselves to be the middlemen in a carbon market. They are helping to set up, in effect, a global system of carbon laundering...that will give the impression of action, but no substance. You have to ask--are these conservation groups at all? They look much more like industry front groups to me." ... So it has come to this. After decades of slowly creeping corporate corruption, some of the biggest environmental groups have remade themselves in the image of their corporate backers: they are putting profit before planet. They are supporting a system they know will lead to ecocide, because more revenue will run through their accounts, for a while, as the collapse occurs... This will be a difficult and ugly fight, when we need all our energy to take on the forces of ecocide. But these conservation groups increasingly resemble the forces of ecocide draped in a green cloak. If we don't build a real, unwavering environmental movement soon, we had better get used to a new sound--of trees crashing down and an ocean rising, followed by the muffled, private applause of America's "conservationists."” -- "The Wrong Kind of Green," The Nation , Mar. 4, 2010.


  • "Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, completed the reversal of his stance on global warming today on Meet the Press. When asked by NBC’s David Gregory if climate change is real, the former champion of strong climate action... said a cap-and-trade system of market-based limits on global warming pollution would be a 'disaster'.” -- "Completing Global Warming Flip-Flop, Pawlenty Calls Cap-And-Trade A ‘Disaster’," Think Progress, The Wonk Room , Feb. 21, 2010.


  • "Citing financial worries, the State of Arizona has backed out of a broad regional effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the West through a cap-and-trade system. In an executive order issued last week, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said a cap-and-trade system — which would impose mandatory caps on emissions and allow pollution credits to be traded among companies — would cripple Arizona’s economy. Instead, the state will support initiatives to expand the use of solar power, nuclear power and other renewable energy sources, said Benjamin Grumbles, the head of the state’s environmental agency.” -- "Arizona Quits Western Cap-and-Trade Program," New York Times , Feb. 11, 2010.


  • "If you were searching for a parable about the dangers of tactical absolutism (you know, my-way-or-the-highway type thinking), the rise and fall of cap-and-trade legislation would be a good place to start. In the months leading up to the passage of the Waxman-Markey climate bill in the House last summer, many influential enviros were in a don’t-rock-the-boat mood. Privately, most greens agreed that the legislation was deeply flawed, especially its giveaway of 85 percent of polluter permits and its cave-in to agribusiness interests. But the conventional wisdom among green mandarins was that any discussion of other options was politically naïve, quixotic even. The cap and trade defenders were often so convinced of their own sophistication that they descended to condescension.” -- "Whatever's Clever," Earth Island Institute , Feb., 2010.


  • "Investigative reporter Mark Schapiro's most recent article, "Conning the Climate" provides an inside look into how Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects are validated and verified, as well as the many problems that arise. Schapiro aptly describes validation as the "Achilles' heel of the system" due to the flawed concept of additionality. Not only is additionality unprovable, but the project validator, known as a Designated Operational Entity (DOE) in UN speak, has to rely on the project developer's explanation. By the way, did I mention that the project developer hires the validator?... Once the UN CDM Executive Board registers a project, carbon credits can be sold on the market as a type of futures contract, representing the estimated reduction of greenhouse gas emissions sometime in the future. Yet, what happens if during the verification stage it is found that the emissions reductions were spurious? Or if it is later found that the verification was false? Nothing happens, as there is no way to remove credits from the market and no one is held liable for junk credits. Although negotiators foresaw this issue when the CDM was being developed, they decided to sidestep the problem by not addressing it. The end result is that "we're conning the climate," according to my colleague Sanjeev Kumar from WWF's European Policy Office. Emissions go up instead of down.” -- "CDM Auditing Process Cheats the Climate," International Rivers , Feb. 4, 2010.


  • "President Obama on Wednesday urged the Senate not to shelve climate change legislation, a day after he acknowledged that the chamber may proceed with a package of energy measures that omits limits on greenhouse gas emissions... But imposing mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions faces major Senate hurdles. Obama, at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire Tuesday, for the first time acknowledged that the Senate might drop emissions caps and proceed with only more popular energy provisions.” -- "Obama to Senate: Don't give up on climate bill," The Hill , Feb. 3, 2010.


  • "A new corporate responsibility report issued by the shoe and apparel manufacturer Nike highlights the progress the company has made in reducing its environmental footprint and the ways in which its climate change strategy is evolving — including its decision to abandon carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates as means of achieving carbon neutrality... Offsets have come under scrutiny of late, and some question whether renewable energy certificates – which are supposed to stimulate the creation of new renewable energy projects – are simply a payment to a project that would have occurred anyway. 'Rather than purchase renewable energy certificates to achieve climate neutrality, which have become increasingly controversial,' the report stated, 'we believe it is more meaningful to invest in energy efficiency and in distributed energy projects that reduce our reliance on grid energy and help stabilize energy costs for the long term.'” -- "Nike Makes Environmental Strides and Abandons Carbon Offsets," New York Times, Blog Green Inc. , Feb. 2, 2010.


  • "Veteran journalist Mark Schapiro has covered environmental and international stories for over 20 years. Today he joins Fresh Air to talk about the cap and trade carbon economy, how it works in Europe, and why the financial industry embraces it. Schapiro is the editorial director for the Center for Investigative Reporting and recently helped launch Carbon Watch, a year-long project which investigates emission reduction proposals, the carbon trading market and the special interests behind environmental legislation.” -- "Cap And Trade And The New Carbon Economy," NPR , Jan. 28, 2010.


  • "'You are choosing the path focused on corporate greed,' climate scientist James Hansen has told carbon traders in a open letter which he and climate activists attempted to deliver to a carbon trading conference in New York today.” -- "James Hansen rails against cap-and-trade plan in open letter," The Guardian U.K. , Jan. 12, 2010.


  • "... the core issue can be defined independent of climate. It concerns how society can phase out its addictive use of fossil fuels and move on, in the most economically efficient and equitable way, to a clean energy future. Conservatives, independents and liberals should be united in this fight... Yet Washington appears intent on choosing a path defined by corporate greed. Unless the public gets engaged, the present Administration may jam down the public’s throat just such an approach, which, it can be shown, is not a solution at all... Cap-and-trade is a hidden tax. An accurate name would be cap-and-tax, because cap-and-trade increases the cost of energy for the public, as utilities and other industries purchase the right to pollute with one hand, adding it to fuel prices, while with the other hand they take back most of the permit revenues from the government. Costs and profits of the trading infrastructure are also added to the public’s energy bill. Fee-and-dividend, in contrast, is a non-tax. The fee collected at the first sale of oil, gas and coal in the country does increase the price of fossil fuel energy. But 100 percent of the fee is distributed monthly to the public as electronic deposits to the bank account or debit card of all legal residents, with half shares for children, up to two children per family... This one-two punch, evisceration of my article via a nonsensical title and an opposing piece by Nobel Prize winner Krugman, was not enough. By the time readers were ready for their second cup of coffee, at 10:45 a.m., an article titled “Unhelpful Hansen” appeared on Krugman’s heavily trafficked blog. Compare the difficulty of negotiating national carbon fee (tax) rates with the difficulty of convincing China that they should have Waxman-Markey-like cap-and-trade. Because of our historical energy profligacy, versus China’s energy penury, a U.S. cap — even expressed as a percentage reduction — has no moral standing in China. On the other hand, the Chinese leadership appears to be smart enough to realize that a rising carbon price is just what their country needs as the underpinning to policies aimed at a clean energy future. International agreement requires principally that the United States and China agree to apply such internal fees across the board on fossil fuels at the mine or port of entry. Agreement on such action is in the best interests of both nations, making it far easier to reach than agreements on caps. With the United States and China acting in concert on a carbon fee, Europe, Japan and other nations would surely follow... We can cure our fossil fuel addiction and in the process reduce emissions that cause climate change. It requires that we take actions for the public interest, not for special interests.” -- "The People vs. Cap-and-Tax," SolveClimate.com , Jan. 13, 2010.


  • "For financiers, the prospects of a trillion dollar [carbon] market to manage, broker and manipulate is positively titillating. Goldman Sachs will be present at the summit, eager to have their foot in the carbon game when things get moving. Already facing a congressional inquiry for their role in the dubious sport of derivative trading and credit default swaps, they will not be denied their place at the carbon-trading trough. Coincidentally, Goldman's offices are across the street from the Embassy Suites in Manhattan. It is also interesting to note that the main venue for carbon trading in the US - the Chicago Climate Exchange - is the brainchild of the same person, Richard Sandor (also slated for appearance at this event), who was instrumental in devising the whole concept of hedge funds and market speculation. The potential $3 trillion market in carbon could provide a huge new opportunity for exactly the kind of market gaming that brought us the recent financial collapse. (If you think a housing bubble is bad, just wait until these players start gambling on things that don't even have a home address, for example: top soil that doesn't get turned, trees that are not cut down, or carbon molecules)... The failure of "world leaders" in Copenhagen last month had one unexpected, yet grand, consequence. It made clear, with stark revelation, that those so-called leaders who gathered in the halls were not yet ready to admit what has become so strikingly clear to those brave climate activists who came together outside: We cannot spend, or consume, or manipulate our way out of this mess; We must take account of our behavior and make the radical shifts that the problem demands. As you will see exhibited again this week in New York, there is increasingly more wisdom, knowledge, and maturity outside on the cold streets than exhibited in the warm conference rooms of the world. Agreement or no agreement, climate bill or no climate bill, nothing will change for the better until we move beyond market fundamentalism.” -- "Carbon Trading Nonsense," CommonDreams.org , Jan. 11, 2010.


  • "At the center of forest preservation is a new and controversial global carbon market that would allow polluting industries to offset their emissions with credits from programs that 'sequester' or prevent the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. The EU already operates such a market, and the U.S. Congress is expected to pass legislation next year that would mandate emission limits for American industries and create its own carbon market. But what constitutes a 'carbon neutral commodity?'  In this video report, a joint project with the Center for Investigative Reporting, Mark Schapiro looks at why U.S. companies are so set on counting forests as offsets, and why the plan remains highly controversial.” -- "FRONTLINE: Carbon Watch: Trading Trees," PBS: Frontline , Jan. 7, 2010.


  • "The chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said Tuesday that it's unclear whether Congress will be able to pass cap and trade legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions this year. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said there's no consensus on what form a cap-and-trade system would take, but strong desire exists in both the Senate and House to pass other energy-related bills that would curb pollution blamed for global warming.” -- "Bingaman: Cap and trade bill unlikely this year," AP on Yahoo! Green , Jan. 5, 2010.


  • "The White House remains firmly behind an economywide cap-and-trade system, which would curb greenhouse gas emissions and create a market for polluters to buy and sell carbon allowances. 'We think that a cap-and-trade mechanism is the best way to achieve the most cost-effective reductions,' a senior administration official told reporters last week. But Kerry raised eyebrows last week when he seemed to hint at some flexibility over the issue. 'I can't tell you the method or the means or amount by which we might price carbon,' he told reporters in Copenhagen. 'We haven't resolved that issue yet.' A move away from cap and trade would bitterly disappoint the environmental community and many powerful utility companies, which have lobbied hard for the system.” -- "Senate Democrats to W.H.: Drop cap and trade," Politico , Dec. 27, 2009.


  • "Last weekend's minimalist Copenhagen global climate accord provides a great opportunity. The old deceitful, ineffectual approach is severely wounded and must die. Now there is a chance for the world to get on to an honest, effective path to an agreement. The centrepiece of the old approach was a "cap-and-trade" scheme, festooned with offsets and bribes - bribes that purportedly, but hardly, reduced carbon emissions. It was analogous to the indulgences scheme of the Middle Ages, whereby sinners paid the Church for forgiveness. In today's indulgences the sinners, developed countries, buy off developing countries by paying for 'offsets' to their own emissions and providing reparation money for adaptation to climate change. But such hush money won't work. Yes, some developing country leaders salivated over the proffered $100 billion per year. But by buying in, they would cheat their children and ours. Besides, even the $100 billion hush money is fugacious. The US, based on its proportion of the fossil fuel carbon in the air today, would owe $27 billion per year. Chance of Congress providing that: dead zero. Maybe the UK will cough up its $6 billion per year and Germany its $7 billion per year. But who will collect Russia's $7 billion per year? Most purchased 'offsetss to fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions are hokey. But there is no need to flagellate the details of this modern indulgences scheme. Science provides an unambiguous fact that our leaders continue to ignore: carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning remains in the climate system for millennia. The only solution is to move promptly to a clean energy future... Cap-and-trade is a hidden tax, increasing energy costs, but with no public dividend. Its infrastructure costs the public, who also fund the profits of the resulting big banks and speculators. Cap-and-trade is advantageous only to energy companies with strong lobbyists and government officials who dole out proceeds from pollution certificates to favoured industries. Fee-and-dividend, in contrast, is a non-tax - on average it is revenue-neutral.” -- James Hansen, "Copenhagen has given us the chance to face climate change with honesty: A carbon-use dividend for everybody must replace the old, ineffectual 'cap-and-trade' scheme," The Guardian UK , Dec. 27, 2009.


  • "Cap and trade is as disingenuous and fruitless as gradual emancipation, and the Markey/Kerry bill is the moral equivalent of the Missouri Compromise, ostensibly aimed at righting a great wrong, while in substance guaranteeing maintenance of the institution that perpetuates that wrong. The purpose of Markey/Kerry is to ease the minds of those desperate for climate action, even as the extension of coal burning is written into federal law. Its premise is that emancipation from fossil fuels must, perforce, be a gradual undertaking of small steps acceded to by our enemies, with a final accounting made the responsibility of some other generation.” -- "The moral equivalent of slavery," Grist , Dec. 21, 2009.


  • "Forget 'Big Oil' - this is 'Big Carbon' making the most of a 'business opportunity' that was created by the first climate treaty at Kyoto in 1997. The frenzied negotiations we have just seen were never about 'saving the planet'. They were always about money. At stake was this new 'climate change industry' which last year ripped off £129billion from the global economy and is heading for that trillion-pound bonanza by 2020 - but only if the key parts of the Kyoto treaty could be renewed. With the treaty due to expire by 2012, unless it was replaced, the money tree would fail. Hence, all the power and vested interests of big business were brought into play, stoking up the panic over climate change to create an atmosphere where the parties could keep the money flowing. Carbon Trading is barely 13 years old yet the scale of the industry is astonishing... The actual emissions don't change, it's merely a matter of how much you have to pay for them. For example, in 2006, the NHS spent £6million on carbon permits to keep patients warm. This was the real business in Copenhagen last week. The game was given away by the head of carbon markets for Merrill Lynch, Abyd Karmali - who is also president of the Carbon Markets and Investors Association. As campaigners worried about the prospect of the talks failing, Karmali was happily explaining that the envoys would probably decide to extend the 'Kyoto Protocol' even if they could not reach an agreement on emission cuts. And it is those words which revealed what was really going on. The carbon permits come mainly from rich industrialists in the Third World and state enterprises in China, created out of mythical savings in carbon emissions. This is precisely what is happening in the west-India state of Gujarat, where the giant Tata conglomerate - which is closing down the Corus steel works in Redcar - is building a giant new coal-fired power plant. It is four times the size of the proposed Kingsnorth power station in Kent, to which the Greens so violently objected. Tata's new plant, which is the same design as Kingsnorth, will increase India's carbon emissions by 643million tons over its lifetime, and produce in a year CO2 equivalent to an eighth of the entire UK electricity industry. Yet because it is more efficient than conventional plants, it is deemed to reduce the average carbon emissions of India's electricity generation system per unit of electricity supplied. By this convoluted reasoning, not only does it qualify for cheap, green development loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, it will be given over £500million in free carbon credits by the UN to be sold, via brokers and financiers who all take their cuts. They will be bought by the likes of British electricity generators. That is but one example of the insane system created by the Kyoto treaty, which was renewed in Copenhagen last week.” -- "ANALYSIS: Saved - the trillion-pound trade in carbon," DailyMail UK , Dec. 21, 2009.


  • "Gore was just as tough on activists who have embraced him as a hero, demanding they set aside their pride and their principles and embrace a deal – no matter how imperfect. He said he recognised their frustration with the glacial pace of negotiations. He agreed that cap-and-trade schemes to cut carbon emissions were an imperfect solution – Gore confessed to favouring a carbon tax – but the current efforts for a deal were the best prospect of avoiding catastrophic climate change.” -- "Al Gore rallies the troops in Copenhagen," The Guardian UK , Dec. 16, 2009.


  • "[Annie Leonard's] new nine-minute Story of Cap and Trade [] received 400,000 hits in the two weeks after its December 1 launch... But critics abound, so what trends can we discern from the sometimes venomous feedback to Story of Cap and Trade, and what do these tell us about US and global climate politics? Consider three categories: libertarian climate change denialists; Big Green groups and other carbon trading supporters; and self-interested green capitalists...” -- "Countering Critics of a Cap-and-Trade Critique," Mobilization for Climate Justice , Dec. 16, 2009.


  • "What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside... The point is that an economic team made up exclusively of callous millionaire-assholes has absolutely zero interest in reforming the gamed system that made them rich in the first place... There's no other way to say it: Barack Obama, a once-in-a-generation political talent whose graceful conquest of America's racial dragons en route to the White House inspired the entire world, has for some reason allowed his presidency to be hijacked by sniveling, low-rent shitheads. Instead of reining in Wall Street, Obama has allowed himself to be seduced by it, leaving even his erstwhile campaign adviser, ex-Fed chief Paul Volcker, concerned about a "moral hazard" creeping over his administration.” -- "Obama's Big Sellout," Rolling Stone , Dec. 9, 2009.


  • "THE International Monetary Fund has backed carbon taxes over the emissions trading system favoured by the Rudd government, saying they would deliver greater reduction in emissions and more certainty... The IMF says the recent experience in both Australia and the US in trying to legislate climate change highlights the political difficulties in making energy-intensive industries pay for the carbon they emit. The fund says the consensus among economists favours carbon taxes over emissions trading. It says the experience of Europe's emissions trading system during the current economic downturn highlighted the weakness of these systems. The price of carbon has dropped from E29 a tonne to E13 since July 2008 because of weakening demand for permits. 'Had a carbon tax rather than the ETS been in place in the EU, the reduction in abatement costs would not have brought about a fall in carbon prices but instead have led to a larger reduction in emissions,' the report says.” -- "Carbon taxes deliver more emission reductions: IMF," The Australian , Dec. 5, 2009.


  • "On November 30th, I spent part of my day lying on the ground in the middle of a busy intersection in the heart of Chicago's financial district with my arms locked into big plastic tubes that connected me to 11 other people. Our arms, in the tubes, were linked to form a big circle of bodies and tubes, around the outside of a large banner reading "The air is not for sale!". We chose that particular spot, under the shadow of the Chicago Climate Exchange's offices, and caddy corner to the Chicago Board of Trade, to denounce the marketing of carbon as a fraud, an ineffective and unjust response to the crisis of climate change. So, while I was lying on the pavement in the middle of the LaSalle and Adams Street, looking up at the sky, I contemplated the big picture of carbon trading, recalling some lines from the seminal "Durban Declaration" for Climate Justice: "History has seen attempts to commodify land, food, labor, forests, water, genes and ideas. Carbon trade follows in the footsteps of this history and turns the earth's carbon cycling capacity into property to be bought and sold in a global market. Through this process of creating a new commodity, carbon, the earth's ability and capacity to support a climate conducive to life and human societies is now passing into the same corporate hands that are destroying the climate." While it is presented as a "solution" to the crisis, a way to reduce emissions, it is in truth no more than a mechanism for expanding corporate control over the commons... Even worse, it seems, the charade has robbed us of our own will and integrity, leaving us feeling entirely impotent, because, we are told, it is not our own personal force, our own strength, wisdom and common sense that will lead us forward, but rather, the blind, entirely amoral "market forces" we are to put our faith in.” -- "Taking Action Against Carbon Trade: What the Clouds Say," CommonDreams.org , Dec. 5, 2009.


  • "Gore arrived in Kyoto toward the end of the conference, at a point when the US refusal to sign on to mandatory emissions cuts threatened to derail the proceedings. Gore was widely credited with saving the day; specifically he offered that the US would sign on to a Kyoto Protocol under two conditions. First, mandated reductions in emissions had to be limited to roughly half of what was originally proposed, and second, emissions cuts would be implemented through the market-based trading of “rights to pollute” among various companies and between countries. This was the beginning of carbon trading (a.k.a. “cap-and-trade”) as an instrument of international policy. While the US, of course, never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the rest of the world has had to live with the consequences, namely a cumbersome but corporate-friendly carbon trading system that has utterly failed to bring needed pollution reductions, and an even more unwieldy and unjust scheme for allowing companies to offset their emissions by investing in nominally low-carbon projects in the global South. While the future of the Kyoto Protocol is burdened by all the complexities of North-South politics, the continued resistance of the US government to internationally binding limits on global warming pollution raises even more fundamental questions. Is there any alternative to a mutually agreed-upon effort to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions? Just what is the US bringing to the table in Copenhagen beside a vague pledge to reduce emissions by 2020 that still falls short of many countries’ 2012 commitments under Kyoto? (Obama’s recent statement that the US will reduce emissions approximately 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, along the lines of the bill that passed the House of Representatives in June, is only equivalent to a 4-5 percent reduction from 1990 levels, the baseline established in Kyoto. EU countries, in contrast, agreed in Kyoto to an 8 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2012.) An article in the September/October issue of the journal Foreign Affairs may offer some important clues as to what we should expect to see in Copenhagen. In an article titled “Copenhagen’s Inconvenient Truth,” CFR Senior Fellow Michael Levi outlined what may be the US government’s long-standing strategy for Copenhagen. 'The odds of signing a comprehensive treaty in December are vanishingly small,” Levi wrote last summer, in time for the journal’s early September publication, urging even then that those concerned about the climate problem needed to “rethink their strategy and expectations” for Copenhagen. Levi’s alternative proposal is for international emissions standards to essentially be replaced by a patchwork of country-specific policies with the modest, and fundamentally inadequate, goal of reducing world emissions of carbon dioxide by half, “ideally from 1990 levels, by 2050.” Under Levi’s scenario, China would step up investments in renewable energy and “ultra-efficient conventional coal power,” India would become a pioneer in smart grid technology, and countries whose emissions are mainly from deforestation (especially Indonesia and Brazil) would be offered incentives to protect forests and raise agricultural productivity. The main contribution of the US would be to push for a detailed agreement on “measurement, reporting and verification,” one of the few areas where US technology may still hold an advantage.'” -- "Repackaging Copenhagen," Counterpunch , Dec. 4, 2009.


  • "[A]s lawmakers delve into the uncertain details of how far new regulations should go and the balance between systemic risk and market innovation, questions surrounding the effectiveness of the market to regulate carbon emissions may swing momentum in the opposite direction, critics of the current climate measure say. The more senators are educated about the complicated derivatives market, the more they may back away from the cap-and-trade structure. 'By the time we're done with financial regulatory reform, everybody's head is going to be spinning and they're going to be saying, Oh my gosh, how can you prevent this from happening again?' Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said last month... 'People are moving more toward something that's much more streamlined,' Cantwell said. 'The bottom line is you don't want to have added volatility to the market when trying to solve [the emissions] problem. And that's clearly what the futures trading does. It adds volatility. What you want is a predictable price so that people can move forward and diversify.' ... The need to assure senators that there are proper financial regulations in place before creating a massive carbon market is likely one of the reasons for moving financial reform first. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has indicated the Senate will move to the financial measure early next year, with climate and energy to follow in the spring... Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), a key swing vote on the climate bill, said putting greater financial reform in place will not satisfy the problems of setting up a carbon market. 'Some will make the case that if you do financial reform that setting up a Wall Street trading system on carbon securities is less dangerous,' Dorgan said. 'I am not interested in setting up a trillion-dollar carbon securities market to tell us what the price of energy is going to be.' Tyson Slocum, director of energy at Public Citizen, said the current cap-and-trade bill creates another large role for Wall Street, which may not play well with Main Street... A poll released yesterday by the U.S. Climate Task Force found that while most voters knew very little about cap and trade or cap and dividend, when the concepts were explained to them, 66 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents and 46 percent of Republicans favored the cap and dividend or carbon tax approach... Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said it would be good to take a break between two bills where senators have considerable differences. 'Once health care is over, we've got to take everyone's temperature,' she said. 'I'm pretty new but I've got to tell you, after you do one really, really big, really, really hard thing that makes everybody mad, I don't think anybody is excited about doing another really, really big thing that's really, really hard, that makes everybody mad.' ... 'I think what it does, it gives the Congress a chance to really look at this issue anew,' [Senator] Graham told reporters before the Thanksgiving recess. 'We've learned, you know, Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer don't have 60 votes. ... So once you price carbon, have a good nuclear title, offshore drilling for oil and gas -- every barrel found here is one less to buy, so it gives us a chance, I think, to come up with a new policy.'” -- "Financial Reform Debate May Influence Future of Climate Bill," New York Times , Dec. 2, 2009.


  • "Our goal in releasing the film was to make a simple point: climate change is, as Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review on Climate Change, noted, the largest market failure we have ever known. And yet, in spite of this, we’re looking to cap-and-trade, a “market solution” that has failed to deliver results, in a time of grave economic crisis, to save the planet from an environmental meltdown. The film—for which I was a content advisor—has generated significant discussion on Grist (see here and here) and elsewhere, and we’re glad for that. If there was ever an issue that merited broad, even heated, public debate, this is it. We’d far rather people argue about cap-and-trade and other policy options than ignore them or silently go along with the crowd, even when their guts tell them the solution on the table is inadequate to the task. In recent years, groups such as mine and many others have worked with allies on Capitol Hill to advance a set of principles that would have gotten us to 350 parts per million CO2—the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere—without carbon offsets, without nuclear power, without international carbon trading, and with environmental justice protections. But these principles were dismissed by some of our erstwhile allies as wildly unrealistic, and we were all told to stand in line instead behind the big boys and accept a bill introduced by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) that allowed for 2 billion tons of carbon offsets—a staggering figure that would mean no verifiable emissions reductions by the U.S. for about two decades—among other outrageous giveaways to the coal and nuclear industries and no mention of a target of 350 parts per million CO2. The definition of 'renewable energy' under the Waxman-Markey bill was transformed from the solar panels and windmills of our dreams to the biomass and waste incinerators of our nightmares. The EPA’s authority to regulate large coal burners was gutted. The giveaways were duplicated, with minor modifications—primarily in restoring EPA authority (though that, too, was a bargaining chip, Sen. John Kerry (D- Mass.) offered up)—in the Senate bill that was introduced by Kerry and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Here’s a full detailed critique of the Kerry-Boxer bill delivered by various public-interest, environmental, and faith-based groups. Currently, the Kerry-Boxer bill has stalled. While the health-care and financial-reform debates are a factor, it is also likely it has something to do with public opinion. The U.S. Climate Task Force and Future 500 just released the results of a new poll by Hart Research that found Americans favor a carbon tax over cap-and-trade by a margin of two to one. The poll found support for a tax over cap-and-trade in all age and income brackets. It also found support for cap-and-trade was lower among those who paid the most attention to climate issues. Now is not the time to go along, hat in hand, with what some say is 'the best we can get.' We’ve got to ask for what we and the rest of the planet need. The stronger the demand for real solutions—solutions that achieve ecological sustainability and do so fairly—the easier it will be for those in the political process to inch in that direction, too. Let’s continue the discussion, welcome the voices of those most impacted by climate change, invite in businesses that are serious about sustainability, and encourage our leaders to follow our lead.” -- "The Story of Cap and Trade: This moment demands better solutions," Grist , Dec. 4, 2009.


  • "The same team that put out “The Story of Stuff,” a wildly popular film on the perils of American consumerism, has a new short film on the Internet called “The Story of Cap & Trade.” Like its predecessor, the new film uses humor and animation to raise awareness, this time about the potential complications of creating a national or international cap-and-trade system to curtail carbon emissions... The problems with the system, the film argues, include free permits to pollute that governments hand out to various industries, as well as loopholes that allow companies to cut down trees but simultaneously claim credits.” -- "New Short Film Critiques Cap-and-Trade," Green Inc., NYTimes.com , Dec. 2, 2009.




  • "Look at the Kyoto Protocol. It took ten years to get even semi-implemented but in fact emissions -- even the growth rate of emissions -- actually accelerated after that agreement. The thing they are trying to do in Congress, these things will take so long and be so ineffective that we are better off stepping back and taking a year to devise a scheme that would actually work. You don't even need a year. British Columbia showed that when they passed a law for (carbon) taxes, a 100% refund via payroll deduction and five months after the law was passed the system was functioning smoothly and the public liked it. Taking a step down the wrong path is not saving anything -- you've got to reverse and get on a system that works... What 350 does is tell you that some policies just do not make sense. In particular the cap and trade with offsets and governments continuing to increase their use of coal and to allow the beginning of the use of unconventional fossil fuels; like the US building a pipeline to Canada for importing tar-sands oil, that doesn't make sense. There is no way you are going to get (back) to 350 if you do those things.” -- "Storm Front: An Interview With the Nation's Foremost Climate Scientist James Hansen," Huffington Post , Dec. 2, 2009.


  • "Australia's Senate on Wednesday defeated the government's plan to implement a carbon pollution trading system to fight global warming, dashing hopes of setting an example for other nations at U.N. climate change talks next week. The scuttled proposal would have placed Australia alongside the European Union and a handful of other places that have or are considering "cap-and-trade" systems to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and burnished Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's international reputation as a leader on the issue... In Tokyo, Japan's Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa said Wednesday that recent emission reduction targets announced by the U.S. and China, the two biggest polluters, would add momentum to the negotiations because, 'any framework that the U.S. and China won't join is meaningless.' Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Ozawa also said Japan's Cabinet is discussing a proposal to impose a "green tax" on fossil fuels to combat global warming, but he did not give details.” -- "Australia's Carbon-Trading Legislation Fails," Huffington Post , Dec. 2, 2009.


  • "In the days leading up to Copenhagen, it seems that everyone has been talking about false market based climate ‘solutions’ such as carbon offsetting and trading. A couple of weeks ago, I cycled over to the Green Festival in San Francisco... to find out why carbon offsetting continues to be promoted as a solution, despite evidence that it can actually worsen emissions, and provide psychological cover for carbon-heavy lifestyles... CheatNeutral.com, the company created by Christian Hunt, Alex Randall and Beth Stratford, promises to ‘offset’ your indiscretions by channeling your fee to another couple so as to 'buy' their fidelity... But would San Francisco, the sex positive playground of the West, the home of the polyamorous burning man hipster, the Lusty Lady and the Barbary Coast take the bait, buy the snake oil and pay to break their partner’s heart? Or would it click that carbon offsetting is a dangerous distraction from the changes in behaviour that are now essential if we are to avert a future catastrophic crumbling of civilisation? Perhaps both.” -- "Carbon Offsets or Car Ban, Off Streets? A Tussle over the Meaning of Green," On the Level: Car Free Blog , Dec. 2, 2009.


  • "A downturn in the export-dependent global economy thus brings about a significant downturn in carbon emissions as well. It spells relief for the climate. In 2009, the drop in the level of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) has been the largest in the last 40 years. The thousands of ships marooned by lack of global demand in ports such as New York, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, and Seoul means a significant reduction in the use of high-carbon Bunker C oil, which is used in 80% of ocean shipping. The cutback in air freight has meant a significant reduction in the use of aviation fuel, which has been the fastest growing source of GHG emissions in recent years... Accordingly, the assumption of most policymakers in the North that consumption trends can continue — and that the only challenge is the transformation of the energy mix and the adoption of technofixes such as biofuels, "clean coal," nuclear power, carbon sequestration and storage, and carbon trading — is not only based on illusions but positively dangerous. Indeed, the climate problem cannot be addressed strategically without addressing the inherently environmentally destabilizing dynamics of capitalism — its incessant drive, motivated by the search for profit, to transform living nature into dead commodities.” -- Walden Bello, "Climate and Capitalism in Copenhagen," Foreign Policy In Focus , Dec. 1, 2009.


  • "[B]uyer beware: cap and trade proposals now on the table will open up a whole new derivatives market in carbon, a market open to gaming, corruption, and the creation of a new 'carbon bubble' that, when it bursts, could take down far more than just our economy. Furthermore, the quality of carbon offsets within the cap and trade program are, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, virtually impossible to verify. Nevertheless, the U.S. cap and trade bills on the table now allow for 2 billion tons of carbon offsets per year -- roughly equivalent to 27 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Initial calculations suggest that allowing for 2 billion tons of offsets per year would mean that polluters in the U.S. could use cheap carbon offsets to avoid curtailing their own significant greenhouse gas emissions until 2026... The bottom line is this: climate change is serious, and we can't afford to hand the fate of the planet over to the very polluters, banks, and traders that have gotten us into this mess. If we don't wake up soon to the flaws of cap and trade and work on real solutions now, all species -- our own included -- may go the way of the dodo.” -- "Cap And Trade Should Go The Way Of The DoDo Before We Do," Huffingtong Post , Dec. 1, 2009.


  • "A group of roughly 30 climate activists, joined by award-winning NASA scientist and outspoken climate change expert, James Hansen, chanted as they went: 'The earth, the earth, the earth is on fire. We don't need no cap and trade, the market is a liar.' The soggy climate activists were camped out in front of the headquarters of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the largest environmental advocacy groups in the country. The activists accuse the NRDC of collaborating with polluters through its involvement with the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, or U.S. CAP... U.S. CAP played a pivotal lobbying role in drafting the massive Waxman-Markey climate bill in the House which, while calling for modest emission reductions, will also create an exponentially lucrative carbon trading market. And many of the largest financial institutions that have been deemed "too big to fail" (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America) are expected to cash in on what some activists have begun to call a new system of 'climate profiteering'.” -- "Natural Resources Defense Council Targeted By Environmental Activists," Huffingtong Post , Nov. 30, 2009.




  • "Dr. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies is one of the most outspoken advocates of taking immediate action to stop anthropogenic global warming. In a new editorial penned for the U.K.’s The Observer, Hansen rails against the cap and trade schemes being considered, believing them to be ineffectual. Cap and trade systems have been shown to be ineffective in combating manmade climate change and reducing CO2 emissions. The European Union has enacted such a system and it has not produced the desired results. Despite this, next month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) will seek to form some sort of a global consensus on cap and trade. Hansen writes that, 'The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – 'goals' for emission reductions, 'offsets' that render ironclad goals almost meaningless, the ineffectual 'cap-and-trade' mechanism – must be exposed.'” -- "James Hansen: Governments advocating for cap and trade are 'lying through their teeth,'" Examiner.com , Nov. 30, 2009.


  • "The protection of creation is an awesome - and some would say sacred - obligation shared by all. It is thus morally irresponsible to tie the fate of our planet to the whims of Wall Street speculators seeking profits on a trillion dollar market. But this is what is occurring with the decision to employ a cap and trade approach - the buying and selling of "pollution permits" - to address the climate crisis. A cap and trade system would only create a dangerous illusion of progress, wasting the precious little time humanity has to right its course before tipping points are irrevocably crossed. As we see this as nothing less than a crime against the earth and all of life, we feel compelled by conscience to nonviolently resist such desecration." CommonDreams.org , Nov. 30, 2009.


  • 'A Carbon Tax — Plus Corporate Welfare' by Jeffrey A. Miron, senior lecturer on economics at Harvard: "A system that does not auction the permits – which is what the bills before Congress propose – is a carbon tax plus welfare for those who get the free permits (e.g., coal-burning power plants and farmers in Midwestern states)... A carbon tax is superior to cap-and-trade with free permits, both because it avoids handouts to politically favored groups and because it allows lower tax rates on income, thereby reducing the distortions from taxation... Those who fear higher carbon prices under CAT can take comfort in the fact that CAT will inevitably contain expansive “offset” provisions. These provide extra carbon permits to emitters who adopt carbon-reducing activities such as planting trees. Offsets are easy to manipulate and hard to monitor, so CAT will limit emissions far less than implied by its notional caps.” -- "Obama's Climate Goals vs. the Senate's - Room for Debate Blog," NYTimes.com , Nov. 27, 2009.


  • 'A Giant Piñata for Polluters': "...the proposals before Congress would give away the vast majority of permits free of charge and provide numerous other incentives to fossil fuel industries – all without a cap on carbon stringent enough to address the problem. Instead, cap-and-trade legislation has become a giant piñata for polluting industries. The bills lock in coal, the biggest generator of planet-warming emissions, for the next decades and hand the industry more than $60 billion to figure out the technology to make it cleaner – an idea that, despite the industry’s $47 million PR spending spree to promote it, many are now casting doubt upon. A coal-industry favorite, Representative Rick Boucher (D-Va.) bragged that the House bill 'strengthens the case for utilities to continue to use coal.'” -- "Obama's Climate Goals vs. the Senate's - Room for Debate Blog," NYTimes.com , Nov. 27, 2009.


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  • "All this mainstream criticism should spell the end for what is clearly a bad idea. But many still doggedly endorse the carbon market, including major green groups in the influential Climate Action Network (CAN), which has lobbied most visibly on the Kyoto Protocol. Why? Some would say, pragmatism: it’s the only game in town, according to Sierra Club Canada director Elizabeth May: ‘I would have preferred a carbon tax, but that is not the agreement we have. The reality is that Kyoto is the only legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. When you’re drowning and someone throws you a lifeboat, you can’t wait for another one to come along.’ But according to Michael Dorsey, professor of political ecology at the US’s Dartmouth College, there is another reason for CAN’s support: some of its leaders have personal involvement in the industry. He lists many prominent greens closely connected to carbon trading firms.” -- "A timely death?: Carbon trading is a charade that will do nothing to reduce global warming. Could it be doomed by the financial meltdown, wonders Patrick Bond, or will Barack Obama help sustain it?," New Internationalist , Jan. 2010.


  • "As faith in government action dwindles, however, climate activists are treating Copenhagen as an opportunity of a different kind. On track to be the largest environmental gathering in history, the summit represents a chance to seize the political terrain back from business-friendly half-measures, such as carbon offsets and emissions trading, and introduce some effective, common-sense proposals — ideas that have less to do with creating complex new markets for pollution and more to do with keeping coal and oil in the ground.” -- Naomi Klein, "Climate Rage," Rolling Stone , Nov. 11, 2009.




  • "Two lawyers for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have created a video that is highly critical of the climate change legislation passed by Congress and endorsed by President Obama. In the video, Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel say the effort to push forth the bill can be equated to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster when scientists' warnings were ignored and resulted in catastrophe... Citing the cap and trade program used in Europe, the two point out that the system that has already been implemented there has raised energy costs and done nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, Europe’s emissions have exceeded the caps put in place. Carbon offsets, whereby a company could pay to ‘offset’ its own carbon emissions are shown to be a measure which are not quantifiable and accomplish nothing. The filmmakers refer to offsets as 'The Big Rip-Off.'... Former United States Vice President Al Gore has been a big proponent of carbon offsets, oftentimes citing his own purchase of them to offset his own large carbon footprint. Such purchases have been made through a company on which he serves as chair, Generation Investment Management. Highlighting the big money involved in carbon offsets, it has been said that Gore will become the first 'carbon millionaire' in part thanks to his investments in offset schemes.” -- "EPA lawyers equate cap and trade to Challenger disaster," Examiner.com , Nov. 10, 2009.


  • "The Environmental Protection Agency has directed two of its lawyers to makes changes to a YouTube video they posted that is critical of the Obama administration’s climate change policy. The agency, citing federal policies, told the two lawyers, Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, who are married and based in San Francisco, that they could mention their E.P.A. affiliation only once; must remove language specifying Mr. Zabel’s expertise and their years of employment with the agency; and must remove an image of the agency’s office in San Francisco. They have been told that if they do not edit the video to comply with the policy, they could face disciplinary action. The video, titled “The Huge Mistake,” was produced and posted in September. But the agency did not issue its warning until The Washington Post published a widely cited opinion article by the couple on Oct. 31 that raised concerns, echoing those in the video, about cap-and-trade legislation that the Obama administration supports. Ms. Williams and Mr. Zabel say cap and trade, in which the government sets a limit on gases that contribute to global warming and then lets companies trade permits to meet it, can be easily gamed by industry and fail to reduce the emissions linked to global warming.” -- "Environmental Agency Warns 2 Staff Lawyers Over Video Criticizing Climate Policy," New York Times , Nov. 9, 2009.


  • "Supporters of the climate bill passed by the House and the similar bill under consideration in the Senate -- including President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders -- say that the cap-and-trade approach would guarantee greenhouse-gas reductions. But this claim ignores the flaws inherent in both bills that would undermine even their weak emissions-reduction targets and would lock in climate degradation. We are speaking out as parents, citizens and attorneys, but our analysis is informed by more than 20 years each at the Environmental Protection Agency's San Francisco Regional Office, including Allan's extensive experience overseeing California's cap-and-trade and offsets programs for the EPA... What guarantees failure of the proposed climate bills, however, are their provisions for carbon offsets, a concept not used in the acid rain program. Both bills allow all required greenhouse-gas reductions for almost 20 years to be met with carbon offsets rather than actual reductions in use of the capped sources. Offsets -- considered indispensable to keeping cap-and-trade affordable -- are supposed to be "additional" reductions beyond what is legally required. But experience with offsets in Europe and California has shown that ensuring real "additionality" is not an achievable goal... Together, the illusion of greenhouse-gas reductions and the creation of powerful lobbies seeking to protect newly created profits in permits and offsets would lock in climate degradation for a decade or more. The near-term opportunity to create an effective international framework would also be lost.” -- "Cap-and-trade Mirage," The Washington Post , Oct. 31, 2009.


  • "Taxpayers have put more than $24 trillion on the line to resuscitate Wall Street after the economic meltdown of last year. With the help of this massive taxpayer support, the nation's largest banks are posting record profits. The problem is that many of these banks have resumed their old habit of using other people's money to gamble with the same risky unregulated derivatives that led us into this crisis. In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and with job losses and home foreclosures mounting, it's no wonder the rest of us are asking how this can be allowed to continue. Look no further than the powerful lobbying arm of the financial services sector, which has spent at least $220 million this year lobbying Congress to stave off new rules to prevent another collapse. That is over $500,000 in lobbying for every member of Congress, which might help explain why, to date, nothing has been fixed in our porous financial regulatory system.” -- Sen. Maria Cantwell, "Wall Street Has a Gambling Problem," Huffington Post , Oct. 30, 2009.


  • "WORST: Cap and trade with giveaways AWFUL: Cap and trade with auction BAD: Cap and trade with dividend ("cap and dividend") BETTER: Carbon fee and rebate ("tax and dividend") BEST: Mandated shift to clean solutions Simply put, we’re being offered the worst option by congress and it’s not currently political possible to see a better bill pass. Environmental groups push for awful, bad or better, depending on the size of the group (bigger groups push for worse). We need the best if we’re to truly solve things." -- "US Climate Legislation 'Worse Than Nothing' We Should Oppose It And Demand Far Better!," EnergyJustice.net , Oct. 2009.


  • "Obama's climate bill is emblematic of his Administration's neoliberal contours. While the bill does mandate that carbon emission rights must be purchased, the "cap-and-trade" legislation bends over backwards to avoid actually costing polluters anything. This is clear first in the actual cap, which is quite high relative to that required by the international Kyoto Protocol. The ACESA requires reductions of 17 percent in total emissions from 2005 by 2020. Kyoto, which is itself considered by climate scientists to be light in its requirements, demands a 5.2 percent reduction over 1990 levels by 2012. The first indication the current bill lacks real teeth is that the "ceiling" to be imposed on greenhouse emissions is a very high one... But even more telling is the "auction" issue, a major sticking point during the drafting process... the Democrats have agreed that it will be some time before polluters pay a dime for the climate impacts of their emissions... A final neoliberal element of the bill can be seen in Obama's own reaction to it. While apparently satisfied, there is an element in the House's version of the bill he hopes the Senate will strip-namely the imposition of tariffs on imports from countries that fail to limit or price carbon dioxide emissions. This is especially telling because the proposed tariffs would not take effect until 2020, giving developing countries a full decade to ease into local carbon-reduction schemes. However, the neoliberal orientation of Obama's economic staff is not about to countenance trade barriers that fail to benefit U.S. corporations invested in overseas export platforms.” -- "Hug Them While They Last: Rising tree mortality is the latest market byproduct," Z Magazine , Oct. 2009.


  • "A bill aimed at putting new limits on carbon emissions and setting up a cap-and-trade system will start its passage through the Senate on Wednesday, with just two months until global leaders meet to hammer out a new climate change agreement in Copenhagen... But the legislation faces a much bumpier ride through the Senate than it did through the House. It will face stiff opposition from Democrats from coal and agricultural states, as well as from many Republicans, who dismiss the legislation as a “job killer”... The Senate legislation could conceivably be stripped of any cap-and-trade requirements and become just an energy bill... Already, Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat facing a tough re-election battle in Arkansas and the new head of the influential Senate agricultural committee, has described cap and trade as a “complete non-starter”. John Barrasso, a Republican senator from Wyoming, said the only people who would understand the cap-and-trade system were “the elite on Wall Street”. “I’m concerned that a cap and tax is going to be a recipe for green-collar crime,” he said in a recent forum. With these challenges, few in Washington expects the Senate to have passed any climate change bill before the Copenhagen summit.” -- "US climate bill faces stiff Senate opposition," Financial Times UK , Sept. 29, 2009.


  • "A year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers touched off a global crisis, concern that wild financial speculation and trading abuses would undermine a U.S. greenhouse gas emissions market has put the 'trade' part of the proposed national cap-and-trade program on trial. Distrust of commodity traders and suspicion about the motives behind Wall Street's brassy support for a sprawling global market are fueling skepticism on both the political left and right that trading emissions allowances can curb the economic cost of addressing climate change.” -- "The Possibility of Carbon-Trading Fraud Elbows Into Senate Climate Debate," New York Times , Sept. 25, 2009.


  • "The purpose of climate change legislation should not be to close the deficit or to give Wall Street another commodity to trade. The purpose should be to affect the economic transformation away from fossil fuels. The next generation of energy entrepreneurs is ready to build large-scale wind farms and solar facilities, but they can’t raise the money. A cap-and-trade system that enriches traders but doesn’t guarantee a continually increasing price on carbon will not help create the green industries and the green jobs of tomorrow. It has been 30 years since the first congressional hearings on the topic of climate change. Compared with health care, the issue is a mere adolescent. And yet the planet can’t afford 30 more years of discussion. A carbon tax shift is a climate policy that is transparent and easy to understand. It can be designed to be revenue neutral and therefore politically palatable. Gore’s first idea was the best one. We should go back to it.” -- "Gore's carbon tax makes good sense," Politico , Sept. 23, 2009.


  • "New York, NY – Early Friday morning, at the end of the first week of the High Level meetings during Climate Week in New York, a caravan of police-escorted limousines and SUVs carrying UN delegates was delayed as they approached the 42nd street bridge en route to the UN complex on eastern Manhattan. A 25-foot banner reading 'UN: Cap + Trade is a Dead End' was deployed as the motorcade drew near. A group referring to itself as the “Greenwash Guerrillas” claimed credit for the banner, and prior to a hasty departure threw leaflets down onto the stalled traffic articulating their demands: We know a highly-developed campaign has been launched in the United States by the worst transnational corporate polluters, Wall Street financiers, and well-funded professional enviros along with their lesser-funded camp-followers to pass a bill, any bill, possessing the namesake of ‘the climate’; ... We recognize that Wall Street financiers, responsible for a world-wide economic recession due to a speculative bubble collapse, have set their sites on a $14 trillion carbon trading system as a means of reviving their fortunes...” -- "Greenwash Guerrillas drop anti-carbon trading banner, halting UN motorcade," It's Getting Hot in Here , Sept. 25, 2009.


  • "Representatives of groups including Climate SOS and Rising Tide North America presented a 14-foot banner representing the climate bill currently being debated in the US Congress, which many consider essential for strong US participation in Copenhagen. The banner depicts a two trillion dollar note, representing the size of the new market in carbon dioxide emissions allowances that would be established by the Waxman-Markey climate bill that passed the House of Representatives in late June... Hundreds of environmental groups are critical of the current US climate bill. Many view the bill’s cap and trade provisions as a dangerous false solution, that is inherently unstable and ultimately incapable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions... The 'trillionaires for bad math' argue that the House bill 'just doesn’t add up', pointing out that it falls far short of scientifically valid targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; removes the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act; and incorporates massive corporate giveaways into its cap-and-trade program. Corporations would be able to defer needed emissions reductions for decades under the bill’s offset provisions.” -- "Climate Justice Activists Interrupt Danish Minister to deliver “US Climate Bill” in Advance of Copenhagen Negotiations," It's Getting Hot in Here , Sept. 23, 2009.


  • "Climate SOS, New York Climate Action Group, and members of Rising Tide North America protested what they called 'a greenwashed U.S. climate agenda' at the opening of NYC Climate Week... Citing the overwhelming embrace of business CEOs at the upcoming climate summit, largely closed to the public, Smolker states: 'At the national and international level, special interest corporate lobbyists have held a stranglehold on climate policymaking. 'Solutions' being offered are those most profitable and convenient to corporate polluters and their acquiescent faux 'Green' NGO allies. The panoply of cap-and-trade, emissions offsets, genetically engineered organisms, and carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS) form a pipe-dream constellation of false solutions...' 'This focus on corporate-friendly solutions is leading us to certain annihilation,' states Dr. Maggie Zhou of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. The recently passed House climate bill HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), has been described by eminent world climatologist James Hansen 'worse for the environment than doing nothing.' So many concessions were offered as it went through the House of Representatives that the bill was rendered entirely inadequate, setting weak targets that rely on risky market based cap-and-trade which has already proven itself failed in Europe. So many offsets are proposed that no real reductions would occur nearly 25 years. Meanwhile, the US claims to be providing international leadership! We are in a crisis that threatens all of life on this planet, and yet the priority seems to be supporting corporate welfare and creating new markets rather than saving ourselves.'” -- "Scientists, Activists Kick off Climate Week NYC In Protest of Corporate Control Over Climate Policy," Mobilization for Climate Justice , Sept. 21, 2009.


  • VIDEO: "The Huge Mistake: Climate Change Solutions 2009,” Carbonfees.org , Sept. 19, 2009.




  • "During his confirmation hearing last year, Scott O'Malia, a Republican Senate aide nominated to be a commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [may oversee carbon offsets], testified that while working for an energy firm years earlier, the 'Enron debacle' had opened his eyes 'to the very serious consequences of...inadequate oversight.' O'Malia, who'd been nominated by President George W. Bush, added, 'I learned firsthand the devastating impacts a flawed market design can have on consumers and markets.' What he didn't tell senators was that he'd learned all this as a lobbyist for a company engaged in Enron-like misconduct that had pushed for deregulation of energy trading. His appointment to the CFTC, an important watchdog agency that oversees the trading of agricultural and energy futures, was subsequently blocked for reasons unrelated to his nomination. But now O'Malia is back. The former lobbyist has been nominated to the CFTC once again, this time by President Barack Obama, who's following a traditional practice and allowing the top Senate Republican—in this case, minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)—to select candidates for certain seats on independent agencies.” -- "Trading Places: From Ex-Lobbyist to Market Watchdog," Mother Jones , Sept. 17, 2009.


  • "CTC Washington rep James Handley shares his notes from yesterday’s Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on price volatility and cost containment for cap & trade... Sen. Corker: Rube Goldberg notion – vehicle. price volatility. Why don’t climate chg advocates level and say we need higher C price? floor would reward investors. Why not tax? (I restrained my impulse to applaud.) Claussen: Would support carbon price / tax if high enough to get redxns. Offsets are low cost reductions. Sen. Corker: Isn’t a tax a better approach? Aren’t int’l offsets just wealth transfer abroad? Why not recycle revenue into our economy?” -- "Senate Warned: Cap & trade Volatile, Offsets Ineffective," Carbon Tax Center , Sept. 16, 2009.


  • "Many climate activists are captive of the notion that this bill - any climate bill, is a start, a first step, and can always be improved later. There are two fallacies with that: 1. Global warming is proceding with such rapid pace, we do not have time for trial and error, or for slow initial action. 2. This legislation actually locks us onto a damaging path, that could make global warming even worse. First, the time window. Many scientists are now warning that we have a very short time window (if any) left to take decisive actions to bring down greenhouse gas levels, before climate amplification mechanisms proceed too far along and take the matter out of our control. Dr. James Hansen warned there may only be a few years window for taking critical actions, and a Jan 2009 McKinsey report concluded that, 'Delays in action of even 10 years would mean missing the 2 degrees Celsius target.' ... Second, ACESA locks in many damaging provisions that will sabotage any climate mitigation effect its proponents hope/claim would be achieved... Much better frameworks exist, e.g., rule based, direct regulations that mandate efficiency or performance, and feed-in-tariffs and/or renewable energy standards, all of which can work additively to a revenue-neutral carbon tax-dividend (or tax-swap by reducing income/payroll tax), charging a simple, uniform carbon tax (per ton of CO2) based on carbon content, and returning the tax revenue to consumers in equal dividends or reduced other taxes, in a way that is equitable and uncoupled to carbon consumption. Lower income families will come out ahead under such a system, bringing home more than enough cash to compensate for the higher prices of goods and services as a result of the carbon tax passed on to them. Such a system is simple, robust, transparent, cost effective, equitable and just, provides a reliable price signal (that further strengthens with time) for carbon reduction, while avoiding the inherent risks of a highly volatile carbon market. Compared to cap and trade, carbon tax is considered the superior option by most economists, and by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The recent speedy implementation of such a mechanism in British Columbia, followed by the successful re-election of the implementer (and his party), demonstrates its political viability. France also recently unveiled such a system, and the entire Scandinavia has been applying stiff carbon taxes for years (currently $187/ton CO2 in Sweden – compare that with around $10/ton starting price for ACESA) while their economies did not suffer.” -- "A Climate Bill Written by and for Polluters," Secure Green Future , Sept. 15, 2009.


  • "The legitimacy of the $100 billion (£60 billion) carbon-trading market has been called into question after the world’s largest auditor of clean-energy projects was suspended by United Nations inspectors. SGS UK had its accreditation suspended last week after it was unable to prove its staff had properly vetted projects that were then approved for the carbon-trading scheme, or even that they were qualified to do so. The episode will be embarrassing for European lawmakers in the run-up to the global climate summit in Copenhagen, where they will attempt to lure big polluters such as America and China into a binding agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol.” -- "Carbon-trading market hit as UN suspends clean-energy auditor," The Times Online UK , Sept. 13, 2009.


  • "The more I look at Congress' legislation to address climate change with a cap-and-trade program, the more it looks like a Rube Goldberg device - one of those amusing contraptions that employ all manner of moving parts in a complicated, convoluted process that performs a simple task.” -- "Climate bill is too complex: The convoluted cap-and-trade proposal looks bound to fail. A carbon tax could do the job without so many moving parts," The Philadelphia Inquirer , Sept. 1, 2009.


  • "Where the picture turns as murky as whisky-brown Southern California smog is how Sholtz, a then thirtysomething go-getter, was able to deceive the very air-pollution market she helped conceive, and the lessons that holds for keeping financial crooks out of the trillion-dollar, greenhouse-gas trading system that President Obama has trumpeted as a key to curbing global warming. Unless you’re in the arcane field of emissions trading, chances are you’ve probably never heard of Sholtz. Last April, the former Pasadena entrepreneur was convicted in federal court of fraud relating to a multimillion-dollar deal for credits in Southern California’s novel smog-exchange. Despite pleas that she sock Sholtz with years behind bars, US Central District Court Judge Audrey Collins gave her just a year in home confinement... Unfortunately, some fairytales end miserably and in 2002 nine of Sholtz’s clients complained to the AQMD that the fast-riser known for her wonkish lingo and oft-clingy outfits had defrauded them in what would become a convoluted bankruptcy of her firms, with claims in the $80 million range... On April 9, 2005, her lawyer, Richard Callahan, emailed the US Attorney’s Office a two-page letter entitled “Areas of Possible Cooperation for Anne Sholtz.” Callahan wrote that his client would share “credible firsthand information” on four different subjects if it would help Sholtz’s plea agreement. Sholtz, Callahan wrote, knew about a “major US bank” that was engaged in money-laundering, check kiting, manipulation of subpoenaed documents, and even murder. In a direct reference to the “Eagle” scheme and others, Callahan said Sholtz had details about “fraud, money laundering [and] wire fraud by people claiming to work for the US government … in the ‘extraction of assets’ overseas ...” The last tipoff was a humdinger. Callahan said that Sholtz had knowledge of “repeated and flagrant violations” inside the air district’s RECLAIM program that resulted in retribution — and threats of more of it — against potential whistleblowers, and the release of over one million excess pounds of nitrogen oxide when AQMD personnel knew how to offset it. By 2007, RECLAIM had transacted about 40 million pounds of air pollution credits, reports show, so one million pounds in unauthorized discharges would be no small addition. Sholtz, Callahan added, also knew about “manipulation of data [or presenting it in a misleading fashion] to choose projects that would lead to personal gain for … (AQMD) Board Members …” -- "An air of deceit: Was convicted smog-credit swindler Anne Sholtz part of shady international ‘money repatriation’ schemes?," Pasadena Weekly , Aug. 20, 2009.


  • "TRADING of emission permits around the world will become a financial rort that fails to reduce carbon emissions - and will ultimately be scrapped in favour of a simple carbon tax, a former senior official in the Clinton administration has forecast. Robert Shapiro, former US undersecretary of commerce and author of Futurecast, predicted that the US Senate would reject the emissions trading scheme proposed by President Obama, which is now before it. Speaking by video to the Trade 2020 conference convened by Austrade and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Dr Shapiro said ''cap and trade'' systems as proposed by the US and the Australian governments to limit carbon dioxide emissions and allow trade in permits do not work as intended. ''Cap and trade has proved very vulnerable to vested interests, and therefore too weak to deliver the necessary emission reductions'', he said. ''Cap and trade creates trillions of dollars of new financial instruments to be traded, and subjected to the next financial fads. China and India will never accept a cap and trade regime.'' A better solution is to impose a carbon tax on emissions and return the revenue from it to households so people are not made worse off, Dr Shapiro said. A similar approach in Sweden has cut emissions there by 8 per cent since 1990 while GDP rose about 40 per cent.” -- "Carbon tax better: Clinton Official," The Age AU , Aug. 27, 2009.


  • "Australia's Senate passed a renewable energy law today, a few days after opposition and minority parties joined forces to kill the federal government’s carbon-trading plan.” -- "Australian Senate Embraces Renewable Energy After Dumping Cap-and-Trade," Solveclimate.com , Aug. 20, 2009.


  • "Cap-and-Trade's Unlikely Critics: Its Creators Economists Behind Original Concept Question the System's Large-Scale Usefulness, and Recommend Emissions Taxes Instead.” -- Wall Street Journal , Aug. 13, 2009.


  • The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Jon Stewart Jizz-Ams in Front of Children - Cap'n Trade
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  • "A new burst of coal-fired power plant construction now underway – the largest in decades – will put 43 new coal plants on American soil in the next five years, and all of them will escape the performance standards written into the climate bill now moving through Congress. The 43 plants are either already under construction, near construction or permitted. They fall under a designation called 'progressing projects' in a report [] published by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and under provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) bill now awaiting Senate action, they would all be grandfathered in without direct restriction on their CO2 emissions.” -- "43 New Coal Plants Would Escape Climate Bill CO2 Standards," SolveClimate , July 16, 2009.


  • "The fact is that the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. Their bill is an astoundingly inefficient way to get a tiny reduction of emissions. It's less than worthless, because it will delay by at least a decade starting on a path that is fundamentally sound from the standpoints of both economics and climate preservation.” -- Dr. James Hansen, "G-8 Failure Reflects U.S. Failure on Climate Change," Huffington Post , July 9, 2009.


  • "New analysis by the Breakthrough Institute concludes that the American Clean Energy & Security Act (ACES) could create a vast new carbon derivatives market subject to financial speculation and create a powerful alignment of economic incentives among the financial industry, carbon offset producers, and utilities and fossil fuel companies to weaken or oppose measures to reduce emissions in capped U.S. sectors.” -- "Climate Bill Analysis Part 19: ACES Could Align Economic Interests to Weaken Climate Legislation," Breakthrough Institute , July 8, 2009.


  • "Offsetting half our emissions (which means paying other countries to cut them on our behalf) makes a mockery of the [U.K.] government’s climate change programme... If the rich persist in offsetting 50% of this cut, the poorer countries would have to reduce their emissions by 6989mt to absorb our offsets. To meet a global average of 0.672t, they would also need to chop their own output by a further 10838mt. This means a total cut of 17827mt, or 125% of their current emissions. I hope you have spotted the flaw. An 85% cut by 2050 could produce completely different outcomes. If most of the cut took place at the beginning of the period, our cumulative emissions would be quite low. If, as the US Waxman-Markey bill proposes, it takes place towards the end, they would be much higher. Carbon offsetting makes sense if you are seeking a global cut of 5% between now and forever. It is the cheapest and quickest way of achieving an insignificant reduction. But as soon as you seek substantial cuts, it becomes an unfair, impossible nonsense, the equivalent of pulling yourself off the ground by your whiskers. Yes, let us help poorer nations to reduce deforestation and clean up pollution. But let us not pretend that it lets us off the hook.” -- "Pulling YourselfOff the Ground By Your Whiskers," Monbiot.com , July 14, 2009.


  • "[I]nstead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion- dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that [Goldman Sachs] gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an 'environmental plan,' called cap-and-trade. The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance... Goldman started pushing hard for capandtrade long ago, but things really ramped up last year when the firm spent $3.5 million to lobby climate issues. (One of their lobbyists at the time was none other than Patterson, now Treasury chief of staff.) ... The bank owns a 10 percent stake in the Chicago Climate Exchange, where the carbon credits will be traded. Moreover, Goldman owns a minority stake in Blue Source LLC, a Utahbased firm that sells carbon credits of the type that will be in great demand if the bill passes. Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, who is intimately involved with the planning of cap-and-trade, started up a company called Generation Investment Management with three former bigwigs from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, David Blood, Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris. Their business? Investing in carbon offsets... Well, you might say, who cares? If cap-and-trade succeeds, won't we all be saved from the catastrophe of global warming? Maybe — but capandtrade, as envisioned by Goldman, is really just a carbon tax structured so that private interests collect the revenues. Instead of simply imposing a fixed government levy on carbon pollution and forcing unclean energy producers to pay for the mess they make, cap-and-trade will allow a small tribe of greedy-as-hell Wall Street swine to turn yet another commodities market into a private taxcollection scheme. This is worse than the bailout: It allows the bank to seize taxpayer money before it's even collected. 'If it's going to be a tax, I would prefer that Washington set the tax and collect it,' says Michael Masters, the hedgefund director who spoke out against oilfutures speculation. 'But we're saying that Wall Street can set the tax, and Wall Street can collect the tax. That's the last thing in the world I want. It's just asinine.'" -- "Inside The Great American Bubble Machine," Rolling Stone , July 2, 2009.


  • "Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power company, stands to rake in roughly an extra $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year if the House climate change bill passes, according to the company's own estimates.” -- "Internal Memo: Nuclear Power Company Could Make A Billion A Year From Climate Change Law," Huffington Post , June 23, 2009.


  • "Friends of the Earth launched an advertising campaign today against the energy and climate change bill that is expected to come to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives later this week. 'Corporate polluters including Shell and Duke Energy helped write this bill, and the result is that we’re left with legislation that fails to come anywhere close to solving the climate crisis. Worse, the bill eliminates preexisting EPA authority to address global warming—that means it's actually a step backward.'” -- "Friends of the Earth Launches Ad Campaign Opposing House Climate Bill," Friends of the Earth , June 23, 2009.


  • "During the final days of the drafting of a 946-page climate bill, Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.) won support for an amendment that deleted a single word and inserted two others. The words could be worth millions of dollars to U.S. oil refiners. The Green amendment deleted the word "sources" and inserted "emission points." In the arcane world of climate legislation, that tiny bit of editing might one day give petroleum refiners valuable rights to emit carbon dioxide when it otherwise might not have been allowed. Refiners could get the extra allowances in return for cutting carbon emissions by 50 percent at a single point of a vast refinery complex instead of slashing emissions by 50 percent for the entire facility... Point Carbon, a market analysis firm, estimates that the current House draft earmarks $254 billion in allowances -- one sixth of the estimated total value of allowances from 2012 through 2030 -- and gives them to industries most sensitive to carbon pricing, including coal-based electric power generators, energy-intensive manufacturers vulnerable to foreign competition, oil refineries and the automobile industry... The biggest chunk of free allowances, worth $500 billion, would go to local electricity and natural gas distribution companies, with strings to make sure the firms use them to shield consumers from higher costs. Other industries also benefited. The allowances Dingell won for the auto industry would be worth $12 billion over six years, according to Point Carbon. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) led the effort to protect coal-fired utilities and mining firms. He persuaded Waxman and Markey to accept a more modest reduction in emissions overall and to set aside 35 percent of allowances to help residential and industrial consumers of coal-fired power. He also won agreement for extra allowances and money -- about $1 billion a year -- to develop carbon capture-and-storage projects that will eventually be needed to cut carbon emissions of coal plants.” -- "High-Stakes Quest for Permission to Pollute: Interest Groups Press Congress for Cap-and-Trade Allowances in Climate-Change Legislation," Washington Post , June 5, 2009.


  • "Senator Merkley sees real potential for change for the better, but fears that we won’t seize the opportunity. 'There is the possibility that we will end up with a framework that is ineffective, that has offsets, that doesn’t have a firm cap. … Or, we could end up with something that could really transform our use of energy. Obviously, we’re going to have to work real hard to get from the former to the latter.'” -- "An Energy Smart Senator Speaks Up," GetEnergySmartNow.com , June 2, 2009.


  • "The Waxman-Markey bill would allow the use of up to 2 billion offsets each year, up to three-quarters of them from international sources. The use of these offsets would allow U.S. polluters to boost emissions by nearly two-fifths by 2012 and would not force cutbacks below today's levels until 2027.” -- "Carbon trading's inconvenient truth," SF Chronicle , May 26, 2009.


  • "Note the hidden assumption... that solving global warming equals cap-and-trade (or if you are a DFH a carbon tax). If it is priceless, it is hopeless... [Offsets] make profits for large corporations and revenue for governments and consultants. They provide employment for public and private jugglers of red tape. They let politicians make weak climate bills look stronger than they really are. They help build self-esteem among mainstream environmentalists. They just don?t lower greenhouse gas emissions or help solve the climate crisis.” -- "Offsets are still counterfeit carbon credits," Gristmill , June 1, 2009.


  • "Enron immediately embarked on a massive lobbying effort to develop a trading system for carbon dioxide, working both the Clinton administration and Congress. Political contributions and Enron-funded analyses flowed freely, all geared to demonstrating a looming global catastrophe if carbon dioxide emissions weren’t curbed. An Enron-funded study that dismissed the notion that calamity could come of global warming, meanwhile, was quietly buried. To magnify the leverage of their political lobbying, Enron also worked the environmental groups. Between 1994 and 1996, the Enron Foundation donated $1-million to the Nature Conservancy and its Climate Change Project, a leading force for global warming reform, while Lay and other individuals associated with Enron donated $1.5-million to environmental groups seeking international controls on carbon dioxide.” -- "Enron's Other Secret," Financial Post , May 30, 2009.


  • "The usual argument for Waxman-Markey is that, though imperfect, it is better than doing nothing. The cap-and-trade portion is worse than doing nothing. Because of the flaws I’ve mentioned, it essentially requires no emission reduction in practice for at least a decade. Any short term benefits come from non cap-and-trade provisions, such as the Renewable Energy Standard. The long term effects are even worse. The point of supporting a weak bill in area like this would be to build political infrastructure. Even if the standards were low, we could fight to plug better numbers into existing regulations. But with Waxman-Markey we not only have to fight to change the numbers. We have to replace most of the architecture - downstream caps with upstream ones, offsets with requirements for real reductions, giveaways with auctioning. If we pass Waxman-Markey we still end up with a whole climate bill to pass. And that climate bill will need to be fought for under worse conditions than starting from scratch. We will have to win auctions when powerful political actors are accustomed to free permits. We will have [to] repeal offsets against the opposition of the entire corporate and foreign policy establishment. We will have [to] fight to move downstream caps upstream over the objections of a large establishment who will have made huge investments in gaming the complicated loophole-ridden structure.” -- "Waxman-Markey: bill would do more for climate without cap-and-trade provision," Gristmill , May 21, 2009.


  • "As passed through the Energy & Commerce Committee, the American Clean Energy and Security Act sets targets for reducing pollution that are far weaker than science says is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. The targets are far less ambitious than what is achievable with already existing technology. They are further undermined by massive loopholes that could allow the most polluting industries to avoid real emission reductions until 2027. Rather than provide relief and support to consumers, the bill showers polluting industries with hundreds of billions of dollars in free allowances and direct subsidies that will slow renewable energy development and lock in a new generation of dirty coal-fired power plants. At the same time, the bill would remove the President’s authority to address global warming pollution using laws already on the books.” -- "Broad Coalition Criticizes Climate Bill," Greenpeace , May 21, 2009.


  • "President Barack Obama has long argued that America should join Europe in regulating planet-cooking carbon. But he has left the details to Congress. And the negotiations to craft a bill that might actually pass have not been pretty. The most straightforward and efficient approach to reducing carbon emissions—a carbon tax—was never seriously considered... On May 15th Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, the Democratic point-men on climate change in the House of Representatives, unveiled a bill that would give away 85% of carbon permits for nothing, with only 15% being auctioned... most polluters, having just been promised hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of permits for nothing, are elated. So it is not just the owners of ski resorts and businesses with negligible carbon footprints that are queuing up to praise the bill. Duke Energy, a power generator with lots of coal-fired plants, is also enthusiastic.” -- "Handouts and loopholes: America's climate-change bill is weaker and worse than expected," The Economist , May 21, 2009.


  • "If fully utilized, the emissions 'offset' provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act would allow continued business as usual growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions until 2030, leading one to wonder: where's the cap in the 'cap' and trade?.” -- "Climate Bill's Offsets Provisions May Let U.S. Emissions Rise for Next Twenty Years," Breakthrough Institute , May 21, 2009.


  • "The carbon trading program in the approved ACES bill is also laden with free pollution credits and offsets that lift pressure off coal-burning power companies for the next decade or more. No wonder the United Mine Workers of America is pleased with the outcome. See our analysis of the bill posted earlier this week for details on how ACES gives coal a competitive future and this post for an analysis of the allowance giveaways.” -- "Climate Bill Wins Enough Votes to Pass, But at What Cost?," SolveClimate , May 21, 2009.


  • "One of the least discussed flaws in the Waxman-Markey bill's attempt to tackle the climate crisis also illustrates the fundamental problem with cap-and-trade. The bill strips the EPA[1] of much of its existing authority to regulate greenhouse gases, in return for the new, weaker authority granted under Waxman-Markey. The existence of this authority is one of the strongest levers that can be used to push through new climate legislation, and it should not be given up in return for something this weak... The offset provisions, along with reduced targets during the first ten years, guarantee this bill will produce few or no emission reductions if passed. In the name of not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good, Waxman-Markey lets the perfect become the enemy of the good. It trades actual emissions reductions for acceptance that cap-and-trade is the right means of reducing emissions. And ultimately filling up political space is what cap-and-trade does. When a cap-and-trade bill is on the table most of the conversation and political activism around climate change is concentrated on cap-and-trade. Should we accept this version of cap-and-trade or fight for a stronger one? Or do some heretics want to question cap-and-trade? (When a cap-and-trade bill is off the table, most political effort is aimed at getting one on the table.) ... When environmentalists and environmental groups put most of their climate efforts into winning an emissions price that is a tremendous misplacing of priorities. But it is even worse when the mainstream chooses to support counterproductive means.” -- "Sucking the lemon we sold. The USA and Carbon Trading," Gristmill , May 31, 2009.


  • "To the extent free permits combined with pass-through requirements actually work as a back door cap-and-dividend, they undermine the incentive they are supposed to provide to reduce emissions. Whereas a real cap-and-dividend (or tax-and-dividend) combines real incentives with consumer protection by providing cash payments, rather than price reductions... If money is really expected to be passed through to consumers, then why is it not done by auctioning the permits, and writing checks to consumers in the same proportion as utility bills and gas prices will supposedly be reduced under the current legislation? Every adjustment for regional impact, and income level done via lower bills could be done by adjusting the relative size of the checks. The answer is simple: under the system actually proposed entities receiving free permits expect most of the profits and savings to stick to their paws, rather than being passed along.” -- "Waxman-Markey giveaways pit consumer protection against climate protection:Poor design creates zero sum game," Gristmill , May 26, 2009.


  • "The House Energy and Commerce Committee looks poised to vote on the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act later today. As this bill has developed, from an already compromised draft bill through massive compromising to reach a bill submission to committee markups, it has reached the point as to whether it is more appropriately called the 'Assuring Coal Energy Subsidies' Act... Let us summarize, this is 77 percent for subsidizing directly and indirectly the burning of polluting fossil fuels and 13 percent for energy efficiency and renewable energy.” -- "A Coal Subsidy Act?" Get Energy Smart NOW! , May 21, 2009.


  • The Waxman-Markey "bill stinks. I'll spare you the many odiferous details and just highlight three particularly bad aspects: 1) It won't protect the poor from price-hikes as the price of carbon is slowly internalized into our energy bills, but will protect polluting industries by allowing them free pollution permits; 2) It opens the door to fraud and shell games instead of real climate action by setting up a huge carbon derivatives market; 3) It makes a mockery of our common understanding of 'renewable energy,' favoring dirty smokestacks over truly clean, renewable energy.” -- Daphne Wysham, "Good News, There's a Climate Bill -- Bad News, It Stinks," AlterNet , May 19, 2009.


  • "Cap and trade... is almost perfectly designed for the buying and selling of political support through the granting of valuable emissions permits to favor specific industries and even specific Congressional districts. That is precisely what is taking place now in the House Energy and Commerce Committee... Even some early devotees of a system of tradable emissions permits believe that it will not work for carbon dioxide, by definition a planetary problem. A straightforward tax on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted by any source, they say, would provide a more predictable price and a simpler system to police. 'If a philosopher king could design a system, he or should might pick a taxation system,' said Robert Hahn, a White House economist under Mr. Bush who backed the acid rain program but is skeptical that it will work for the much more pervasive problem of carbon dioxide... In 1971, W. David Montgomery, a Harvard graduate student in economics, fleshed out the idea of emissions trading in his doctoral thesis... He supported the acid rain trading program, but said it was based on 'unique historical and economic circumstances' that did not apply to the much more difficult problem of carbon dioxide emissions. Mr. Montgomery, now a vice president at Charles River Associates International, a consulting firm, said Mr. Waxman's proposal would ultimately act like a tax on carbon-producing industries, disguised by a complex cap-and-trade system. 'It is a steel fist of regulation covered by a velvet glove of emission trading,' Mr. Montgomery said. 'Why not just impose a carbon tax?'” -- "From a Theory to a Consensus on Emissions," New York Times , May 17, 2009.


  • "Cap-and-trade, to the extent that it works, drives behavior through price. Polluters decide on whether to make capital investments to reduce greenhouse gas pollution based on what they expect the price of permits to be in the future. And given the short term horizon used by most managers, and required by stock markets, such decision makers are eager to project future prices as low, so they can invest in their core business rather than pollution control. As a result volatility (that is prices that tend to fluctuate) and especially extreme dips in permit prices lead to underinvestment in emission reductions. The RECLAIM failure in Southern California is one example of how low prices and volatility can undermine a cap-and-trade system. The ETS actually increased emissions from 2005 through 2007. This happened in a period when total EU emissions were falling. (Traded emissions under ETS did fall in 2008. But this was in the face of the beginng of a depression. The total drop was much less than for the EU as a whole.) Cap-and-trade on a large scale tends towards volatility.” -- "Cap-and-trade permit giveaway hurt Waxman-Markey effectiveness," Gristmill , May 15, 2009.


  • "Reps. Bob Inglis of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona on Wednesday became the first Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation imposing a carbon tax on producers and distributors of fossil fuels. The bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, would set a tax of $15 a ton of carbon dioxide produced in its first year in effect, with the tax rising to $100 a ton over three decades... Inglis and Flake oppose the cap-and-trade measure, saying it would create a huge federal bureaucracy to regulate the sale and trade of carbon credits — on the heels of catastrophic financial services failures because of lax government oversight. 'We stand a chance of being a significant possible replacement of cap and trade when cap and trade fails,' Inglis said. 'It's a carbon-credit trading scheme similar to the Wall Street fiasco we've just seen, complete with a Federal Reserve Board of Carbon Credits.'" -- "Republican lawmakers back carbon tax (yes, that's right)," McClatchey Newspapers , May 13, 2009.


  • "Introducing cap-and-trade in good economic times would be suspect. Introducing it during the worst global recession since the Great Depression is stark, raving, mad... Finally, the legacy of cap-and-trade is not going to be a greener world. It's going to be the world's largest new stock market, trading exclusively in a stock called carbon credits, where the mega-profits will be made by speculators, hedge funds, and the same financial and investment houses that just finished crashing the global economy." -- "Cap, trade charade," Edmonton Sun , May 28, 2009.


  • "The real puzzle here is did the Obama administration leak the [OMB] memo itself in order to get off the hook. Have they determined that the whole concept carries too much economic risk and therefore too much political risk to pursue at this point in time or was it leaked by lower level opponents that are just trying to torpedo the program. I don’t suppose we will soon know the answer to that question. I do think that we can discern a very difficult road ahead for any type of climate legislation.” -- Tom Lindmark, "Did Cap-and-Trade Die Today?," Istockanalyst , May 13, 2009.


  • "The recent announcement of two pieces of important clean energy legislation in the Congress have put the carbon tax versus cap-and-trade debate on the national front burner. This disagreement as to the most effective remedy to confront the climate change crisis may seem like just another controversy among Washington energy wonks. It is, in fact, a vital moral question that could help decide whether our planet's fate is life or death. Even in the midst of economic meltdown this crisis of our irreplaceable earth must be confronted. The time has come for the communities of faith and for all those concerned about ethics to grasp the value of the carbon tax from this perspective. Exacting a financial penalty from those who are responsible for the scorching of the earth seems to be a requirement of any elemental morality... Such a bizarre [cap-and-trade] arrangement would seem to violate the most fundamental ethical principle of taking responsibility for one's own hurtful actions, first of all, by ceasing from them and then, where possible, making reparations. We teach this basic moral principle to our children that if, for example, they are hitting other children in the sand box, they must stop their actions and apologize to those hurt. It would not be acceptable to have them pay off one of their, perhaps poorer, playmates to lessen their violent activity against the kids on the playground in their stead. The cap-and-trade idea also recalls the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, which was seized on by Martin Luther and became a major catalyst of the Protestant Reformation. It allowed the thief, the adulterer, the murderer and the defrauder of the poor to secure forgiveness of his sins by buying his way out of the allegedly purifying flames of Purgatory rather than demanding a radical change of his life to a true 'path of righteousness'... This same shell game informs many of the cap-and-trade practices as opposed to the simple moral principle that he who does the harm to the earth must also pay for it directly. In place of such a direct penalty this moral obligation cannot be traded or auctioned off to some other entity, including poor developing countries, who are paid off to proportionally reduce their carbon production in place of the original carbon perpetrators. As Archbishop Tutu recently wrote: 'The polluter must pay.'" -- Father Paul Mayer, "The Carbon Tax: A Moral Issue," Huffington Post , Apr. 8, 2009.


  • "The Thune Amendment effectively kills cap and trade as a mechanism for reducing emissions. I have little doubt that the legislation will go forward, and it likely will pass in some form and do many things. Its just that reducing emissions won’t be among them. Cap and trade is dead, but the charade will go on.” -- Roger Pielke Jr., "The Thune Amendment," Prometheus , Apr. 1, 2009.


  • "If polluters indeed use the maximum allowable number of offset credits [allowed under Waxman-Markey], domestic emissions in 2012 would increase by 38% rather than decrease by 3%, the reduction that the cap sets. Emissions would not dip below 2005 levels until 2026, 17 years from today (see Figure). If all eligible offsets were used, the 20% reduction supposed to happen by 2020 would not actually be reached until 2036. The reduction in 2050 would be only 50% rather than the stated 83% (see Figure). These reductions are clearly not enough to prevent global temperature from rising by more than two degrees Celsius (3.6o F), a threshold that many scientists believe will lead to dangerous consequences, if crossed.” -- Payal Parekh, "Waxman-Markey Bill: No Cuts until 2016!," International Rivers , Apr. 15, 2009.


  • "Carbon trading is fundamentally derivatives trading. Currently, most carbon is sold as simple futures contracts (a type of derivative)... 'Subprime carbon' -- called 'junk carbon' by traders -- are contracts to deliver carbon that carry a higher risk of not being fulfilled, and thus may collapse in value. They are comparable to subprime loans or junk bonds, debts that carry a higher probability of not being paid... carbon markets will be much more dominated by speculators. Currently, the vast majority of carbon funds are set up by investors simply to make a profit; less than one-third of carbon funds have been established by companies to help them comply with carbon caps.” -- "Subprime Carbon? Re-Thinking the World's Largest New Derivatives Market," Friends of the Earth , Mar. 2009.


  • "It may have worked for SO2, but cap and trade is the wrong answer to the climate change question.” -- "Why cap and trade is not the answer," Carbonfees.org , Mar. 2009.


  • "One of the top economists in the US has today urged political leaders to abandon the "reckless gamble" of the Kyoto Protocol's approach to carbon trading and instead adopt carbon taxation as a proven and more effective means of putting a price on carbon. Professor William D Nordhaus of Yale University is one of the first economists to study the impacts of climate change and an advisor to the US government on the Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Experts. He said that carbon taxes would provide greater price certainty to businesses, make it easier to encourage emerging countries to enter into an international deal on climate change and would be less susceptible to corruption than alternative cap-and-trade measures.” -- Business Green , Mar. 11, 2009.


  • "President Obama’s budget doesn’t have enough support from lawmakers to pass, the Senate Budget Committee chairman said Tuesday. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said that it would be a “distant hope” to expect the climate change plan to pass unless it includes help for industries that would be hit hard by limits on carbon emission production.” -- Walter Alarkon, The Hill , Mar. 11, 2009.


  • "The United States should not impose a cap-and-trade system to battle climate change this year because it amounts to a painful tax during a deep recession, senators argued Wednesday. Kent Conrad, the Budget Committee's Democratic chairman, fretted over the impact of Obama's budget on both companies and poorer people if utilities pass on the costs of government pollution permits to their customers. 'The budget as written probably can't pass here,' Conrad warned Chu..” -- AFP , Mar. 11, 2009.


  • "From a political standpoint, Conrad indicated that a number of senators who are on the fence or close to it when it comes to climate change legislation may jump ship if they stand to lose the opportunity to influence the legislation.” -- New York Times , Mar. 11, 2009.


  • "The head of the UN body charged with leading the fight against climate change has conceded that Barack Obama will face a "revolution" if he commits the US to the deep carbon cuts that scientists and campaigners say are needed.” -- The Guardian , Mar. 11, 2009.


  • "The cost of energy for consumers would be driven higher in President Barack Obama's proposed budget by a carbon cap-and-trade system that is projected to raise about $80 billion a year starting in 2012. The budget assumes the U.S. adopts the cap-and-trade system... 'Let's just be honest and call it a carbon tax that will increase taxes on all Americans who drive a car, who have a job, who turn on a light switch, pure and simple,' said the Republican leader in the House, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio.” -- "Carbon trading to raise consumer energy prices," The Wall Street Journal , Feb. 27, 2009.


  • "Set up to price pollution out of existence, carbon trading is pricing it back in. Europe’s carbon markets are in collapse... Intended to price fossil fuels out of the market, the system is instead turning them into the rational economic choice... Like medieval pardoners handing out unlimited indulgences, governments have created a glut. Reformation must follow. Wanted — a modern Martin Luther to nail a shaming truth to industry’s door: Europe’s whizz-bang carbon market is turning sub-prime.” -- "Carbon markets are collapsing," The Hindu , Feb. 24, 2009.


  • "With the global economy in meltdown, and faith in Wall Street wizardry at a low — to say the least — it’s perhaps an odd time for a push to put the fate of the planet into the hands of the market... To move money around in such a market would require project developers, financers, verifiers, registries, and consultants — all of whom are now well aware of their stake in climate policy. Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, insurance companies like AIG and private equity firms had virtually no reps on Capitol Hill working on global warming policy in 2003; by last year, they had about 130 climate lobbyists, the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms shows.” -- "Carbon as a Commodity," The Center for Public Integrity , Feb. 24, 2009.


  • "Steven Chu, the new secretary of energy... said that while President Obama and Congressional Democratic leaders had endorsed a so-called cap-and-trade system to control global warming pollutants, there were alternatives that could emerge, including a tax on carbon emissions or a modified version of cap-and-trade. Dr. Chu said reaching agreement on legislation to combat climate change would be difficult in the current recession because any scheme to regulate greenhouse gas emissions would probably cause energy prices to rise and drive manufacturing jobs to countries where energy is cheaper. 'The concern about cap-and-trade in today’s economic climate,' Dr. Chu said, 'is that a lot of money might flow to developing countries in a way that might not be completely politically sellable.'" -- New York Times , Feb. 11, 2009.


  • "Alluding to the climate change bill that failed in the Senate last June, Ms. Boxer said that her committee would be 'starting afresh.' What better way to do that than by giving a tax on carbon a fair hearing?” -- "Climate Change Solutions: Sen. Boxer is open to everything -- except what might work best," The Washington Post , Feb. 16, 2009.


  • "It says a lot about the changing climate in business circles and in Washington that Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson yesterday came out in favor of a carbon tax in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center... [He stated:] 'It is important to remember that a cap-and-trade system requires a new market infrastructure for traders to trade emissions allowances. This new "Wall Street" of emissions brokers will take the emphasis away from the goal of reducing carbon emissions and focus its attention on trading on price volatility. For businesses and consumers, these market gatekeepers and resultant price swings add cost and they create uncertainty. Also, cap-and-trade systems, because of their complexity, have inherent problems with verification and accountability. They require a vast expansion of administrative and regulatory officials to ensure emissions allowances are not exceeded. This is another cost for businesses and consumers to bear.' Tillerson said that a tax doesn't carry those burdens.” -- Exxon Chief Embraces Carbon Tax, WashingtonPost.com , Jan. 9, 2009.


  • "Policies being discussed in national and international circles now, which focus on 'goals' for emission reduction and 'cap and trade', have the same basic approach as the Kyoto Protocol. This approach is ineffectual and not commensurate with the climate threat. It could waste another decade, locking in disastrous consequences for our planet and humanity... 'Cap and trade' generates special interests, lobbyists, and trading schemes, yielding non productive millionaires, all at public expense. The public is fed up with such business.” -- "A Letter to Obama," James Hansen, The Guardian UK , Dec. 29, 2008.


  • "Conservatives don’t support tax increases that are veiled as 'cap and trade' schemes for pollution permits. But offer us a tax swap, and we could become the new administration’s best allies on climate change. A climate-change bill withered in Congress this summer because families don’t need an enormous, and hidden, tax increase. If the bill’s authors had instead proposed a simple carbon tax coupled with an equal, offsetting reduction in income taxes or payroll taxes, a dynamic new energy security policy could have taken root.” -- "An emissions plan conservatives could warm to," Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Arthur B. Laffer, New York Times , Dec. 27, 2008.


  • "Carbon taxes are currently in place, with frequent exemptions, in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, British Columbia, and select U.S. cities...Connecticut Representative John Larson has sponsored U.S. legislation that would impose an excise tax on any taxable carbon substance sold by a manufacturer, producer, or importer. The bill currently has support of 12 fellow Democrats. 'It's gaining momentum every single day,' Larson said on Tuesday. 'Twelve members may not seem like a lot, but [three of] these are influential members of the Ways and Means Committee.'” -- "Hansen to Obama: Support a Carbon Tax," Worldchanging.com , Dec. 15, 2008.


  • "[The Poznan negotiations] won't result in adequate CO2 reductions in the time we have. The last minute demands of the power plant and industrial sectors are a likely predictor of what we can expect in the States as groups battle for a strong climate bill in Congress. Lets face it, the U.S. fossil fuel lobby makes the European coal companies look like wimps. So what to do? I don't think we'll get meaningful policy in Washington, D.C. or in Copenhagen without a more fundamental shaking of the system. We must try new strategies and magnify the public demand for transformational rather than incremental change.” -- "Message from Poznan: Time for Mass Mobilization to Stop Global Warming," Betsy Taylor, Huffington Post , Dec. 15, 2008.


  • "Michael Wara of Stanford, together with Kevin Smith of Carbon Trade Watch and Platform and others, have won the Economist magazine's online debate on carbon offset trading against Henry Derwent of the International Emissions Trading Association, businessman Mark Trexler and others. Some 55 per cent of readers voted in favor of the resolution: 'This house believes that carbon offsets undermine the effort to tackle climate change'.” -- "Economist Debates: Carbon Offsets," The Economist , Dec. 16, 2008.


  • On a US debate site, in response to the question "Will carbon trading work?", 72 per cent are voting no, with only 28 per cent for. -- "Will Carbon Trading Work?" OpposingViews.com , Dec. 16, 2008.


  • "If President Barack Obama wants to stop the descent toward dangerous global climate change, and avoid the trade anarchy that current approaches to this problem will invite, he should take Al Gore's proposal for a carbon tax and make it global. A tax on CO2 emissions -- not a cap-and-trade system -- offers the best prospect of meaningfully engaging China and the U.S., while avoiding the prospect of unhinged environmental protectionism.” -- "We Need a Global Carbon Tax: The cap-and-trade approach won't stop global warming," Ralph Nader & Toby Heaps, Wall Street Journal International , Dec. 3, 2008.


  • "[G]rassroots climate activists took over the Washington DC office of Environmental Defense. The activists stated that they had targeted ED, one of the largest environmental organizations in the world, because of the organization’s key role in promoting the discredited approach of carbon trading as a solution to climate change.” -- "Climate Activists Invade DC Offices of Environmental Defense, Daughter of ED Founder Accuses NGO of Pushing False Solutions to Climate Change," It's Getting Hot in Here , Dec. 1, 2008.


  • "'A new president is a hopeful idea, and I know he cares about the climate. But a couple things [Obama] said he's going to do are not actually the right course.' [Ulla Nilsen] referred to the European Union's cap-and-trade program, in which companies are issued tradable carbon credits that lead to a cap on carbon dioxide, a plan that she said is failing. She added that there's such a program in the Northeastern United States that isn't working either, and she thinks Obama is contemplating a similar national program. So she wants to reach him to express her concerns, and to present him with her gift [of a quilt].” -- "Oaklander's quilt for Obama," Oakland Tribune , Nov. 30, 2008.


  • Watch Jeffrey Sachs of The Earth Institute at Columbia University give a critique of carbon trading on a panel discussing "The Kyoto Mechanisms - Key to Combating Climate Change?" -- The Earth Institute , Oct. 9, 2008.


  • "Both Obama and McCain believe in instituting some form of cap and trade plan for industrial carbon emissions as a means of enforcing a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. A cap and trading system would require substantial time and resources to execute, however, and has yet to be proven effective where it has been instituted elsewhere, notably Europe. A combination of regulations, shifting subsidies from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy sources, and investing in their development could be a more effective way to accomplish the same decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.” -- Mary Ellen; John Harte, "Nuclear Power, Clean Coal, Cap and Trade, Biofuels: Comparing and Contrasting Obama And McCain on Energy," Huffington Post , Oct. 24, 2008.


  • Steve Rayner, a lead author in Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently wrote in Wired Magazine: "Cap and trade won't work. The market for carbon offsets is widely touted as the best way to curb greenhouse gases. This would be fine if time were unlimited. However, the best available science suggests that we need to stabilize emissions by mid-century. That's too soon for carbon prices to rise enough to drive the R&D necessary to enable cleaner alternatives to compete with fossil fuels." -- Take Climate Change Seriously, Wired , Sept. 22, 2008.


  • "Officials with the [LA Department of Water and Power] utility, which serves 4 million residents, project it will have to pay $700 million annually in fees for burning coal under the cap-and-trade system being considered. That will divert money it currently spends on expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, said David Nahai, the DWP's general manager." -- LA utility wary of California's emissions strategy, USA Today , July 31, 2008.


  • "Gore has previously supported cap-and-trade schemes, which could raise revenue to subsidize renewable projects. But he said Thursday he also likes the idea of cutting the payroll tax and creating a new tax on carbon emissions, which would give a leg up to low-carbon sources." -- Al Gore lays down green challenge to America, San Francisco Chronicle , Jul. 18, 2008.


  • "Gore called for a cut in payroll taxes and the creation of a carbon tax. 'We should tax what we burn, not what we earn,' Gore said. 'This is the single most important policy change we can make.'” -- Gore Calls for 100% Green Power in 10 Years, earth2tech , Jul. 17, 2008.


  • "Based on our experience as environmental enforcers..., we believe that the California Air Resource Board’s confidence in cap-and-trade is misplaced and that carbon fees provide the more effective and efficient path to the goals of AB 32, California’s landmark climate protection law." -- GUEST JUICE: Cap & Trade - Misplaced Confidence, California Energy Circuit , Jul. 11, 2008.


  • EPA Lawyers call for Carbon Fee, May 4, 2008 - Download PDF


  • "As the United States moves toward taking action on global warming, practical experience with carbon markets in the European Union raises a critical question: Will such systems ever work?.... in Europe, which created the world’s largest greenhouse gas market three years ago, early evidence suggests the whole approach could fail. Carbon dioxide emissions are still rising in many industries, not falling." -- The Trouble with Markets for Carbon, New York Times , James Kanter, Jun. 20, 2008.


  • "The headlines tell the story. 'European Union’s efforts to tackle climate change a failure.' 'UN effort to curtail emissions in turmoil.' 'Truth about Kyoto: huge profits, little carbon saved'. 'It isn’t working . . . $3 billion to some of the worst carbon polluters in the developing world.' 'Critics say offsets may slow the changes needed to cope with global warming'. 'Rich states failing to lead on emissions'. 'Carry on polluting.' In the last two years, investigative journalists have highlighted a story of growing failure in all the most high-profile official efforts to address climate change – the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS), and many regional programmes – and in the 'carbon market' framework they all share... 'The EUETS has done nothing to curb emissions,' notes Peter Atherton of Citigroup Global Markets. It benefits utilities, hedge funds and energy traders while constituting 'a highly regressive tax falling mostly on poor people' and other consumers. Coal plants, observes Deutsche Bank, ironically 'receive more allowances than eco-friendlier' fuels. According to a consultant to the British government, 'by 2015, the UK’s electricity system will look remarkably similar regardless of . . . how the EUETS plays out.'... Private consultancy Point Carbon complains that the new Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative carbon-marketing scheme planned for the northeastern US states has hobbled itself before it has even got under way by allocating an oversupply of pollution rights to electricity generators." -- Carbon Trading: Solution or Obstacle?, The Corner House , Larry Lohmann, Jun. 18, 2008.


  • "Unless we find cost-effective ways of reducing the role of fossil fuels, a cap-and-trade system would ultimately break down. It wouldn't permit satisfactory economic growth. Nor would it work internationally. Developing countries, the largest source of new emissions, won't abandon fossil fuels unless there are competitive alternatives. If we're going to use price to try to stimulate those new technologies, let's at least do it honestly. Most economists think that a straightforward tax on carbon would have the same incentive effects for alternative fuels and conservation as cap-and-trade without the rigidities and uncertainties of emission limits. A tax is more visible, understandable and democratic." -- Let's Just Call It 'Cap and Tax,' Newsweek , Robert J. Samuelson, June 9, 2008.


  • "'Cap and trade' sets up a system that offers endless opportunities to game the system and make even more money by burning fossil fuels, while claiming to be curbing global warming fast enough to avert climate chaos. By the time the system has matured and we learn that it did not work, the billionaires created by the system will be living comfortably in the globally-warmed mountains of Switzerland while the rest of us are learning to deal with more and bigger Katrinas, creeping inundation of all the world's coastal cities, and widespread famine from crop failures caused by drought. This disaster is being created right before our eyes by the 'leading environmentalists' in the United States." -- A Disaster Brought To You By the Nation's Leading Environmentalists, Rachel's Democracy & Health News , Peter Montague, Issue: #962, June 5, 2008.


  • "CLIMATE change is 'the greatest market failure the world has ever seen'. That is the view of no less an authority than Nicholas Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank, and he has a point... The permits are tradable, and the potential for making a profit from buying or selling them has encouraged a whole landscape of speculators, hedge funds, carbon brokers and complex financial instruments to spring up (see "Dirty, sexy money")... With the credit crisis still biting and a global recession looming, a cynic might say the financial market is the last thing we should be calling on to mend the climate. If we cannot trust financiers with something as apparently straightforward as the housing market, why should we imagine they can triumph at controlling global pollution? Yet we all have a vested interest in them succeeding, and the carbon market is growing fast... It is also far from clear that carbon trading will benefit the climate in the long term. By reducing the short-term costs of cutting emissions it could be undermining research and development into the low-carbon and energy-efficient technologies without which the problem will never be properly solved. Bizarrely, no one has thought to address this issue.” -- Can carbon capitalism save the world?, New Scientist.com , Apr. 19, 2008.


  • Many fear that "carbon capitalism is already out of control, delivering big profits while doing little to halt global warming. They are deeply sceptical of the notion that market forces can fix climate change. 'To believe that is to believe in magic,' says Tom Burke, a former director of Friends of the Earth in the UK and adviser to several British environment ministers... [B]etween now and 2012 European companies are expected to buy about $25 billion worth of carbon credits. With this sort of money up for grabs, it is no surprise that what began as a niche market is now attracting major financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Barclays Capital. Climate Care has just been bought by JP Morgan... most of the dams issued with CERs were either completed or already under construction before the application for carbon credits was made - suggesting they were going to be built anyway, without the incentive of carbon credits. For instance, the Xiaogushan dam [] in Gansu province began construction in 2003. Later it qualified for carbon credits. Once sold, those credits will allow their purchasers, probably in Europe, to pump out some 3 million tonnes of CO2 that they would not otherwise have been allowed to emit.” -- Carbon trading struggles to cut our emissions, New Scientist.com , Apr. 19, 2008.


  • "The United Nations is facing scathing criticism from the world's indigenous communities for its attempts to promote carbon trading as a tool to address climate change concerns... Janet Redman, lead author of a new study released by the Washington, DC-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) last month, tends to agree, especially with respect to the World Bank's role in facilitating carbon trading programs. "It is making money off of causing the climate crisis and then turning around and claiming to solve it," she said of the Bank... Out of its $2 billion carbon finance portfolio, the Bank has directed nearly 80 percent to projects involving polluting industries.” -- Carbon Trading Blasted by Indigenous Groups, One World US , May 5, 2008.


  • "The vast majority of indigenous peoples feel that the REDD [see No Carbon Market for Forests] will not benefit Indigenous Peoples, but in fact will result in more violations of Indigenous Peoples' rights. It will increase the violation of our rights to our lands, territories and resources; cause forced evictions; prevent access and threaten indigenous agriculture practices; destroy biodiversity, cultural diversity, traditional livelihoods and knowledge systems; and cause social conflicts. Under REDD, States and carbon traders will take more control over our forests.” -- Petition to the Permanent Forum members, PROTEST: United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Colonos , May 2, 2008.


  • "As Congress debates whether to limit carbon-dioxide emissions, one of the most vocal supporters of such legislation -- the nuclear-power industry -- is poised to reap a multibillion- dollar windfall if restrictions take effect.” -- Carbon Caps May Give Nuclear Power a Lift, Wall Street Journal , May 19, 2008.


  • "[W]e could be looking at deregulation déjá vu. And the consequences won't just be higher power bills. If California, which leads the country in addressing the threat of global warming, gets this program wrong, it could discredit efforts to fight the problem nationwide, if not worldwide... The PUC is expected to finalize its recommendations in August, after which they'll be considered by the air board. If it goes ahead with cap and trade, you might get a shock from your power bill. And be sure to keep plenty of candles on hand.” -- California's cap-and-trade won't work, LA Times , Mar. 10, 2008.


  • “The emerging alliance of business and environmental special interests may well prove powerful enough to give us cap-and-trade in CO2... it would make money for some very large corporations. But don't believe for a minute that this charade would do much about global warming.” -- Cap and Charade: The political and business self-interest behind carbon limits, Wall Street Journal, March 2007.


  • Companies “will doubtless fudge numbers to maximize their credits; some companies stand to make a great deal of money under a trading system. ... This presents opportunities for Enron-style market manipulation.” -- Time to tax carbon, Los Angeles Times , May 28, 2007.


  • "The world's biggest carbon offset market, the Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism (CDM)... is intended to reduce emissions by rewarding developing countries that invest in clean technologies. In fact, evidence is accumulating that it is increasing greenhouse gas emissions behind the guise of promoting sustainable development. The misguided mechanism is handing out billions of dollars to chemical, coal and oil corporations and the developers of destructive dams - in many cases for projects they would have built anyway." -- Discredited strategy, The Guardian , May 21, 2008.


  • "California deregulated its electricity industry in 1998, and shortly afterward the lights went out. Apparently, regulators hadn't realized how easy it would be for unscrupulous traders such as Enron to manipulate the state's power market once it was open to competition; the results were rolling blackouts and skyrocketing electricity charges... We bring up this painful history because the state is about to embark on a new program that will radically impact utility regulation... regulators are designing a cap-and-trade program... This is a staggeringly complex undertaking that will once again create opportunities for dishonest traders to manipulate the market... If California, which leads the country in addressing the threat of global warming, gets this program wrong, it could discredit efforts to fight the problem nationwide, if not worldwide.” -- California’s Cap-And-Trade Won’t Work, LA Times, Mar. 10, 2008.


  • New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, spoke out that “I think it’s time we stopped listening to the skeptics who say, ‘But for the politics,’ and start being honest about costs and benefits.” -- The Real Climate Debate: To Cap or to Tax?, New York Times, Nov. 2, 2007.


  • "Cap-and-trade is an easier political sell because the costs are hidden — but they’re still there. And the payoff is more uncertain. Because even though cap-and-trade is intended to incentivize investments that reduce pollution, the price volatility for carbon credits can discourage investment, since an investment that might make sense if carbon credits are trading at $50 a ton may not make sense at $30 a ton. This price volatility can also lead to real economic pain. ... The market for trading carbon credits will be much more complex and difficult to police than the market for the sulfur dioxide credits that eliminated acid rain. And there are political issues — because the system is subject to manipulation by elected officials who want to hand out exemptions to special interests. ... Politicians tend to prefer cap-and-trade because it obscures the costs. Some even pretend that it will lower costs in the short run. That’s nonsense. The costs will be the same under either plan — and if anything, they will be higher under cap-and-trade, because middlemen will be making money off the trades.” -- Bloomberg Calls for Tax on Carbon Emissions, New York Times, Nov. 2, 2007.


  • “Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest oil refiner, has said carbon taxes are preferable to emissions-trading systems like the one adopted by the European Union. `A carbon tax is certainly the least complex' of the two options, Sherri Stuewer, Exxon Mobil's vice president of health, safety and environment, said last week. Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in December 2002, agreeing to reduce emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels from 2008-2012. Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 were 33 percent above its Kyoto target, government figures released last month show.” -- Quebec Approves Carbon Tax to Cut Greenhouse Gases, Bloomberg.com, Jun. 2007. [Note: we believe a fee would be better for California.]


  • "I strongly favor a 'tax and dividend' approach. The entire carbon tax should be given back to the public, an equal amount to each person. No bureaucracy is needed to figure this out. If an early carbon tax averages say $1200 per person (it can be collected in various ways -- at the well-head, carbon emission permit auctions, etc.) a monthly $100 deposit can be made automatically in everyone's bank account..” -- Dear Governor Greenwash, Gristmill , James Hansen, May 29, 2008.


  • “As lawmakers on Capitol Hill push for a cap-and-trade system to rein in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, an unlikely alternative has emerged from an ideologically diverse group of economists and industry leaders: a carbon tax... a coalition of academics and polluters now argues that a simple tax on each ton of emissions would offer a more efficient and less bureaucratic way of curbing carbon dioxide buildup...” -- Tax on Carbon Emissions Gains Support, Washington Post, Apr. 1, 2007. [Note: we believe a fee would be better for California.]


  • “Since the Kyoto agreement, the concept of permit trading has gathered momentum. Companies are researching schemes to pay others to preserve or increase their own emissions. The World Bank is attempting to price emissions to jump-start a trading market. Even the Environmental Defense Fund plans to make money by brokering carbon trades... The recognition is growing, moreover, that trading is simply inadequate to the climate crisis. 'International carbon trading is a scam that is going to give emissions trading a bad name,' said John Henry, a Washington-based entrepreneur who made sizable profits brokering trades for the domestic US sulfur dioxide trading program. Henry explained the domestic sulfur dioxide trading program worked because virtually all those emissions came from 2,000 smokestacks - a manageable number to monitor. Moreover, the program operated under an enforceable national regulatory system. By contrast, carbon is emitted from millions of sources all over the world - far too many to monitor. And there is no international regulatory system to enforce emission limits... Schemes like ''emissions trading'' look neat on paper. Unfortunately, they will not slow the melting of the earth's glaciers, the breakup of Antarctic ice shelves, rising sea levels, warming-driven migrations of disease, the intensification of El Ninos, and the relentless increase in floods, droughts, and severe storms.” -- Trading away our chances to end global warming, Boston Globe, Ross Gelbspan, May 16, 1999.


  • “Will current plans to expand carbon trading in the US and elsewhere work? No. Because carbon trading: - is aimed at the wrong objective; - squanders resources on the wrong things; - requires knowledge and institutions that do not exist; - is antidemocratic; - interferes with positive solutions; and - puts ideology above experience.” -- Six Soundbites on Climate Markets, The Corner House , 2008.


  • “And maybe that is the broader lesson of the debacle: Don't rush into a market solution when there are serious questions about whether the market will work. Both economic analysis and British experience should have rung warning bells about California's deregulation scheme; but those warnings were ignored — just as similar warnings are being ignored by enthusiasts for market solutions for everything from prescription drug coverage to education.” So said economist and Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman in the New York Times, discussing California’s other failed “free market” experiment—electricity deregulation. -- California Screaming, New York Times , Dec. 10, 2000.



The Economics:
  • "Abstract: Human induced climate change has become a prominent political issue, at both national and international levels, leading to the search for regulatory ‘solutions’. Emission trading has risen in popularity to become the most broadly favoured government strategy. Carbon permits have then quickly been developed as a serious financial instrument in markets turning over billions of dollars a year. In this paper, I show how the reality of permit market operation is far removed from the assumptions of economic theory and the promise of saving resources by efficiently allocating emission reductions. The pervasiveness of Greenhouse Gas emissions, strong uncertainty and complexity combine to prevent economists from substantiating their theoretical claims of cost effectiveness. Corporate power is shown to be a major force affecting emissions market operation and design. The potential for manipulation to achieve financial gain, while showing little regard for environmental or social consequences, is evident as markets have extended internationally and via trading offsets. At the individual level, there is the potential for emissions trading to have undesirable ethical and psychological impacts and to crowd out voluntary actions. I conclude that the focus on such markets is creating a distraction from the need for changing human behaviour, institutions and infrastructure.” -- Clive L. Spash, "The Brave New World of Carbon Trading," MPRA Paper No. 19114, 20:25 , Dec. 2009.


  • “In newly released documents, the U.S. Department of the Treasury placed a hefty price tag on what the Obama administration's desired cap and trade legislation would cost American taxpayers. The documents would seem to go completely counter to estimates the Obama administration had previously provided and in fact exceed them considerably. The document shows that the cap and trade climate change legislation the administration desired would be a financial boon for the federal government that 'could generate on the order of $100 to $200 billion annually.' At $200 billion, that is a staggering cost of $1,761 per American household. In a story about the document release CBS News said that is 'the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15%.'” [Note: Document assessed Obama's 100% auction scheme, not Waxman-Markey bill passed by House.] -- "Obama administration puts $1,761 per household price tag on cap and trade," Examiner.com , Sept. 17, 2009.


  • "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put cap-and-trade legislation on a forced march through the House, and the bill may get a full vote as early as Friday. It looks as if the Democrats will have to destroy the discipline of economics to get it done. Despite House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman's many payoffs to Members, rural and Blue Dog Democrats remain wary of voting for a bill that will impose crushing costs on their home-district businesses and consumers. The leadership's solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics. Their gambit got a boost this week, when the Congressional Budget Office did an analysis of what has come to be known as the Waxman-Markey bill. According to the CBO, the climate legislation would cost the average household only $175 a year by 2020. Edward Markey, Mr. Waxman's co-author, instantly set to crowing that the cost of upending the entire energy economy would be no more than a postage stamp a day for the average household. Amazing. A closer look at the CBO analysis finds that it contains so many caveats as to render it useless. The reality is that cost estimates for climate legislation are as unreliable as the models predicting climate change. What comes out of the computer is a function of what politicians type in. A better indicator might be what other countries are already experiencing. Britain's Taxpayer Alliance estimates the average family there is paying nearly $1,300 a year in green taxes for carbon-cutting programs in effect only a few years. Americans should know that those Members who vote for this climate bill are voting for what is likely to be the biggest tax in American history. Even Democrats can't repeal that reality.” -- "The Cap and Tax Fiction," Wall Street Journal , Jun. 26, 2009.


  • “Most economists believe a carbon tax… would be a superior policy alternative to an emissions-trading regime. In fact, the irony is that there is a broad consensus in favor of a carbon tax everywhere except on Capitol Hill... Al Gore supports the concept, as does James Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the George W. Bush administration, Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute supports such an initiative, but so does Paul Anderson, the CEO of Duke Energy.” -- Green, Kenneth P., et. al., Climate Change: Caps vs. Taxes, American Enterprise Institute , Jun. 3, 2007. [Note: we believe a fee would be better for California.]


  • “[A] given long-term emission-reduction target could be met by a tax at a fraction of the cost of an inflexible cap-and-trade program.” -- Policy Options for Reducing CO2 Emissions, Congress of The United States Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Feb. 12, 2008.


  • “[E]xcessive volatility or unduly high prices of quotas on carbon emissions might disrupt the economy severely.” -- Carbon Markets Create a Muddle, Financial Times , Apr. 26, 2007.


  • "A surge in emission permit prices in the EU carbon market in the wake of spiralling oil, gas and coal prices may force a rethink of the rules to prevent carbon compliance getting too expensive, Deutsche analyst Mark Lewis says. This would most likely mean a relaxing of the restrictions on the use of Kyoto offset credits, particularly Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) generated under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)... 'A more generous quota may have to be allowed … to cushion against the risk of an excessive price spike,' Bloomberg reports Lewis saying.” -- CERs may get new boost from oil, Carbon Positive , Jun. 20, 2008.


  • “'Unfortunately, the Economic Analysis Supplement [of the California Air Resources Board Proposed Scoping Plan], in its current form, gives the appearance of justifying the chosen package of regulatory measures rather than evaluating it or looking at policy options,' wrote Janet Peace and Liwayway Adkins of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.” -- Peer Review of the Economic Supplement to the AB32 Draft Scoping Plan, CARB Website , Nov. 2008.


  • California's Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that "economic analysis played a limited role in development of [California's] scoping plan, and [] despite its prediction of eventual net economic benefit, the scoping plan fails to lay out an investment pathway to reach its goals for GHG emissions levels in 2020.” -- LAO's Critique of the AB 32 Scoping Plan Economic Analysis, Legislative Analyst's Office , Nov. 21, 2008.



The Failures of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS):
  • "Emissions trading is the European Union’s flagship measure for tackling climate change, and it is failing badly. In theory it provides a cheap and efficient means to limit greenhouse gas reductions within an ever-tightening cap, but in practice it has rewarded major polluters with windfall profits, while undermining efforts to reduce pollution and achieve a more equitable and sustainable economy.” -- "EU Emissions Trading System: failing at the third attempt," Corporate Europe Observatory , Apr. 7, 2011.


  • "The thefts at OTE were one of at least six attacks on operators of the EU emissions trading system across eastern and central Europe in the past three months. All told, cyberthieves swiped allowances worth more than €50m before panicked authorities in Brussels were forced to pull the plug and halt spot market trading...more than three weeks after the suspension, only six of the 30 national registries that comprise the system have reopened for business. Traders say the market is now riven with distrust. More broadly, the thefts have battered the credibility of the EU’s chief instrument in the fight against global warming.” -- "Carbon trading: Into thin air," Financial Times UK , Feb. 14, 2011.


  • "The loss of carbon credits worth 28m [pounds] to cyber attacks lays bare the faults of a highly flawed trading system.” -- "The carbon market - gone in a puff of smoke?," The Guardian U.K. , Jan. 24, 2011.


  • "The EU's flagship Emissions Trading System is failing to deliver vital green investment, after a collapse in carbon prices magnified by the recession, MPs warn in a report out today. The Environmental Audit Committee is calling on the Government to consider measures that would guarantee a minimum price for carbon, such as a new carbon tax... Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee said: 'Emissions trading should be helping us to combat climate change, but at the moment the price of carbon simply isn't high enough to make it work. The recession has left many big firms with more carbon allowances than they need and carbon prices have collapsed. If the Government wants to kick-start serious green investment, it must now step in to stop the price of carbon flat-lining. Ministers should seriously explore the possibility of a carbon tax and must press the EU to tighten up the overall caps in the Emissions Trading System.' The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is central to the UK's efforts to cut emissions, but is currently failing to reduce carbon dioxide levels. The cap on emissions in Phase I (2005 - 2007) was too weak and allowances were over-allocated. Caps in Phase II (2008 - 2012) were supposed to be tighter, but have been seriously undermined by the impact of the recession. Big firms were allocated free emissions allowances on the basis of business-as-usual projections made before the downturn. As economic activity has slowed as a result of the recession many firms have found themselves with more carbon allowances than they need. This has suppressed the price of carbon [see fig 2 in the report] and made green investment look much less attractive.” -- "EU CARBON MARKET FAILING TO DELIVER VITAL GREEN INVESTMENT - MPs WARN, NEW REPORT: The role of carbon markets in preventing dangerous climate change," U.K. Parliament , Feb. 8, 2010.


  • "Fraudsters used faked e-mail messages to obtain access codes for individual accounts on national registries that are part of the European Emission Trading System, then carried out a number of transactions before they were discovered, according to a number of European authorities. In the case of Germany, seven of about 2,000 users who received the fake e-mail messages gave the hackers access to their accounts. About 250,000 allowances, with a value of about 12 euros each — about $16 — were improperly transferred on Jan. 28, according to Hans-Juergen Nantke, a spokesman for the German Emissions Trading Authority... President Obama has recommended that the United States adopt a similar system to control greenhouse gases. But in Europe, where the system is most advanced, it has had a rocky start. Coal-burning utilities have earned windfall profits from the system, while the prices of credits have never been high enough for long enough to force utilities and businesses to replace conventional power with significant quantities of renewable energy and other clean sources.” -- "Hackers Hit Europe's Carbon Market," Green Inc. Blog, NY Times , Feb. 4, 2010.


  • "In the wake of the weak climate agreements reached in Copenhagen a little over a week ago, the price of carbon has dropped substantially. The main exchange for the carbon emissions allowances that are traded as part of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System saw carbon dioxide emissions drop to €12.4 ($17.90) a metric ton Monday. Prices have been volatile throughout the ETS’s first five years. Permits had reached a high of €30 ($43) in summer 2008 before dropping to €8 ($12) earlier this year... The fact that prices for those allowances are so low in the cap-and-trade systems that already exist might be troubling for proponents of such a system’s ability to mitigate climate change... The EU system and any future U.S. system are supposed to encourage a movement away from dependence on high-emitting, fossil-fuel based production by making those activities more expensive relative to cleaner alternatives. It is all about motivation. But for businesses to be sufficiently motivated to reduce their emissions they need a price incentive. Carbon around 13 euros per ton is not expected to provide that push, and many analysts believe that, ultimately, prices will need to be much higher than they have been for cap and trade in carbon to achieve its ends. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook for 2009 said carbon prices should be at $50 (€35) a ton in 2020 and $110 (€67) in 2030 in order to provide the incentives that will push companies to invest in cleaner technologies.” -- "Low Carbon Prices: Just a Phase or an Indictment of Cap and Trade?," SolveClimate.com , Dec. 29, 2009.


  • "Carbon prices plunged yesterday in the aftermath of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, dealing a blow to the credibility of the European Union's carbon-trading scheme.” -- "Carbon prices fall in wake of Copenhagen," Financial Times UK , Dec. 22, 2009.


  • "Household gas and electricity bills are expected to rocket fourfold to nearly £5,000 a year by the end of the decade to meet Government-imposed green targets... Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: 'The £5,000-a-year energy bill may seem like an outside possibility, but we have to remember that energy bills doubled in the past five years alone and that the huge investment needed just to keep the lights on will alone add £548 a year to our bills.' Already energy bills are loaded up by five separate charges to help fund the battle to combat climate change and become greener. They are the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, the Renewables Obligation, the Community Energy Saving Programme and shortly there will be a levy on investing in clean coal projects.” -- "Watchdog revises cost of green energy improvements," DailyMail UK , Jan. 2, 2010.


  • "The United States snubbed Kyoto because fast-emerging China and India could grow without facing restrictions on their emissions. But the E.U. sped ahead anyway, developing a plethora of new targets, subsidies and mechanisms to comply with the treaty, including a complicated system to cap carbon dioxide and to trade emissions permits... ArcelorMittal, a giant steelmaker, and Royal Dutch Shell, the oil and gas group, are among companies that have threatened to slow down investment inside the 27-nation bloc unless the rest of the industrialized world, and the United States in particular, adopt similar carbon-capping systems. So far, New Zealand is the only country outside Europe to have passed into law a national plan to trade emissions, leaving the bloc looking increasingly isolated. Jürgen R. Thumann, the president of BusinessEurope, a powerful confederation of industry and employer groups, has criticized the system as the most 'costly climate policy program in the world.'” -- "Europe Bypassed on Climate Summit," New York Times , Dec. 1, 2009.


  • "Under the EU's ETS, the European Commission allocates carbon permits to member states. But Poland and Estonia complained that they hadn't been given enough permits and the European Court of First Instance ruled that the commission has exceeded its powers. The court said it was up to member states rather than the EU to set emissions targets. The price of carbon permits immediately dropped following the ruling. This in turn reduces the incentive for firms to invest in energy efficiency in cases where it becomes cheaper to buy low-cost permits." -- "Harrabin's notes: Trading down," BBC News , Sept. 24, 2009.


  • "A suspected scam involving the trading of carbon credits could cost businesses that unwittingly took part millions of pounds in legal fees and penalties. The scam, first uncovered by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in January, culminated in the arrest of seven people this month. It allegedly involves an elaborate scheme known as a carousel fraud, where goods are imported into Britain Vat-free and then sold on to a series of companies, each of which is liable to pay the standard rate of Vat on the purchase... So far, HMRC has valued the scam at £38m. But tax-fraud experts suspect this is only the tip of the iceberg. Previous carousel fraud rings involving mobile phones and computer chips are estimated to have cost the exchequer as much as £8 billion. The potential liability for businesses is significant because the government has the right to reclaim the Vat on any carbon trade it deems suspicious. Exactly how much is at stake is difficult to quantify, as millions of carbon trades are made each day through various exchanges. As carbon trading is only about five years old, there are no hard and fast rules governing best practice. HMRC’s anti-fraud squad says businesses should follow the common commercial practices of “knowing your customer”, “knowing your supplier” and “knowing your products”. However, business groups said this was not good enough because at present anyone can register as a carbon trader. “Even though the government has removed Vat from carbon trades, that doesn’t mean criminals won’t find another way of committing fraud. Businesses need specific guidance on carbon trading to ensure that they are protected and to reduce their exposure to any criminal activity,” said the Engineering Employers’ Federation. Tessa Laws, a partner at Rosenblatt, the law firm, said that until a carbon trading code of conduct is in place, the best advice to businesses is simply 'buyer beware'." -- "Firms face Vat shock after carbon credit scam is smashed," Times Online UK , Aug. 30, 2009.


  • "British customs officials arrested seven people near London on Wednesday Thursday who are suspected of dodging taxes that should have been paid for selling large amounts of carbon dioxide permits — the main currency in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. The suspected fraud amounted to £38 million, or nearly $63 million, the British tax agency, HM Revenue & Customs, said in a statement. “It is thought that the proceeds of this crime have then been used to finance lavish lifestyles and the purchase of prestige vehicles..." -- "Carbon Traders Arrested for Tax Fraud," The New York Times blog , Aug. 20, 2009.


  • "Fraud investigators arrested nine people on Wednesday over a suspected £38m carbon credit trading scam in one of the clearest signs yet of criminals targeting international schemes to combat climate change. Trading in carbon credits – allowances for companies to produce greenhouse gases – has been dogged by problems, from legal but ethically dubious practices to alleged scams involving fictitious products.” -- "Nine held in carbon trading swoop," Financial Times.com UK , Aug. 19, 2009.


  • "As part of the revision of the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS), the Commission was required to compile a list of sectors and sub-sectors that are deemed to be at risk of carbon leakage, that is, relocation to third countries without any carbon constraints. These sectors will continue to receive their emissions allowances for free in the post-Kyoto Protocol period until 2020, up to a benchmark of the best-performing 10%.” -- "Commission faces revolt over 'carbon leakage' plans," EurActive.com , May 26, 2009.


  • "Ukraine is in advanced talks to sell some $3.5 billion more sovereign carbon emission rights under the Kyoto Protocol to three companies, the government said on its website this week... Critics have called AAUs "hot air," arguing that most were generated through restructuring in eastern Europe in the 1990s, when polluting industries in ex-communist countries were shutting anyway, rather than by new investment in clean energy.” -- "Germany set to cut industry power bills," Reuters , May 26, 2009.


  • "Berlin is preparing to help domestic industries overcome the economic crisis by cutting the electricity bills of the country’s largest energy users... The bulk of any relief is likely to be found by reimbursing companies for the cost of carbon dioxide emissions trading certificates that utilities currently price into their electricity bills. Germany successfully argued at an EU summit in December that energy-intensive industries should be not be forced to buy emission permits between 2013 and 2020 because companies would otherwise shift production overseas. Berlin now wants to go further by compensating energy-intensive companies in the intervening years.” -- "Germany set to cut industry power bills," Financial Times UK , May 25, 2009.


  • "A new report has served to confirm the fears of many consumer groups and charities - that millions of UK households are having to cut back on their food bills and other essential simply to pay for their gas and electricity.” -- "Millions making big sacrifices to pay utilities bills, new research confirms," UK Net Guide , Mar. 20, 2009.


  • "The rise of schemes to 'green' AAU Kyoto emission allowances comes with concerns over their true environmental integrity, according to a paper published in the latest edition of JI Quarterly. Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) are allowances for carbon emissions allocated to developed countries up to their target level under the Kyoto Protocol... Because of the collapse of industry in the former Soviet bloc economies in the 1990s, most eastern European countries including Russia have seen greenhouse emissions decline compared to the Kyoto base year of 1990. Hence, they have large surpluses of AAUs of around 6.5 billion tonnes to sell without having taking any action to cut greenhouse emissions. Because their AAUs are lacking in environmental integrity, green investment schemes have sprung up under pressure to use these surpluses, known as 'hot air', responsibly.” -- "Doubts over 'green AAU' integrity," carbonpositive , May 1, 2009.


  • "The price of European Union allowances to emit carbon dioxide has collapsed and it has reached a level where even the greenest of utilities might be tempted to flirt with a hod of dirty brown coal. Mills and factories throughout Europe are dumping their allowances on the market and grabbing the cash.” -- The Times UK , Feb. 18, 2009.


  • "The European Commission will not intervene to support the market for European carbon emissions where futures prices have nosedived along with the economic downturn...” -- "Europe to Leave Collapsing Carbon Prices to Market," Reuters, Planet Ark , Feb. 16, 2009.


  • "The European Union started with the most high-minded of ecological goals: to create a market that would encourage companies to reduce greenhouse gases by making them pay for each ton emitted into the atmosphere. Four years later, the carbon trading system has created a multibillion-euro windfall for some of the continent's biggest polluters, with little or no noticeable benefit to the environment so far...” -- "EU carbon trading system brings windfalls for some, with little benefit to climate," International Herald Tribune , Dec. 9, 2008.


  • “Key lessons from the CDM include: (1) the resources necessary to obtain project approval may reduce the cost-effectiveness and quality of projects; (2) the need to ensure the credibility of emission reductions presents a significant regulatory challenge; and (3) due to the tradeoffs with offsets, the use of such programs may be, at best, a temporary solution." Recommendations: "Congress may wish to consider the follwing lessons from the CDM: (1) that it may be possible to achieve the CDM's sustainable development goals and emissions cuts in developing countries more directly and cost-effectively through a means other than the existing mechanism; (2) that the use of carbon offsets in a cap-and-trade system can undermine the system's integrity, given that it is not possible to ensure that every credit represents a real, measurable, and long-term reduction in emissions; and (3) that while proposed reforms may significantly improve the CDM's effectiveness, carbon offsets involve fundamental tradeoffs and may not be a reliable long-term approach to climate change mitigation." -- International Climate Change Programs: Lessons Learned from the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme and the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism, U.S. Government Accountability Office , Nov. 18, 2008.


  • “[T]he price of buying permits to emit carbon dioxide in Europe — a system the European Union uses to discourage companies from polluting — have fallen by half compared with the price a year ago, largely because of slower growth. Wind costs more than $2.5 billion per gigawatt to build, compared with $600 million for gas. Carbon permits and subsidies can narrow that gap, but the current low prices mean that it is cheaper to burn coal, even after paying penalties for the carbon dioxide emissions." -- Slump May Limit Moves on Clean Energy, New York Times , Nov. 24, 2008.


  • “A flagship European scheme designed to fight global warming is set to hand hundreds of millions of pounds to some of Britain's most polluting companies, with little or no benefit to the environment, an investigation by the Guardian has revealed. Dozens of multinational firms stand to benefit from the windfall, which comes from the over-allocation of carbon permits under the European emissions trading scheme [Phase II]... The over-allocation comes from the way the government calculated the likely emissions of each site owned by the companies in the scheme... Campaigners say the allocations were also influenced by industry group lobbying. A source at a major UK car manufacturing firm, which has been allocated more than double the number of permits it needs, told the Guardian they were given out based on 'magical logic'." -- Britain's worst polluters set for windfall of millions, The Guardian UK , Sept. 12, 2008.


  • “The newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reports that nuclear power companies in Finland are enjoying massive subsidies from emissions trading rights. It reports that companies producing electricity with coal and other emission-causing fuels pass on the value of emission rights to their electricity prices, even though they receive the bulk of the rights free of charge... Also, power utilities that do not cause emissions follow the same pricing practices. According to Helsingin Sanomat, Finland's four nuclear power units bring owners an extra 500 million euros annually from non-existent emissions." -- Emissions Trading Windfall For Nuclear Plants, YLE News , Jun. 23, 2008.


  • “Driven by rising demand, record high oil and natural gas prices, concerns over energy security and an aversion to nuclear energy, European countries are expected to put into operation about 50 coal-fired plants over the next five years, plants that will be in use for the next five decades... The European Union, through its emissions trading scheme, has tried to make power plants consider the costs of carbon, forcing them to buy 'permits' for emissions. But with the price of oil so high, coal is far cheaper, even with the cost of permits to pollute factored in..." -- Europe Turns Back to Coal, Raising Climate Concerns, New York Times , Apr. 23, 2008.


  • “Earlier this month, Ted Nordhaus posted 'The ‘Serious Business’ of Kyoto: EU to ‘overshoot’ its emissions reductions targets? Read between the lines.' His analysis rightly takes the EU to task for overselling its GHG-emissions-reduction activities, in the hope that the U.S. will buy what they’re selling and leap aboard the sinking ship of carbon cap-and-trade. Nordhaus reveals that the EU’s claims to leadership and projected success on the GHG-reduction front are based on assumptions that will likely prove embarrassing in hindsight." -- Nordhaus on Europe's Scheming, National Review Online , Mar. 25, 2008.


  • Of the 65% of companies surveyed by Point Carbon earlier this year [2007] which claimed that the ETS had led them to abate their emissions (up from 15% the previous year), most were planning to buy credits rather than cut their own emissions….European emissions overall are not falling, which suggests there may not be as much switching out of coal, or as much technological innovation, as had been hoped. Chinese CERs are too cheap and the carbon price is too low and too volatile. Even when it was bouncing around at €15-25, it did not seem to encourage much new investment." -- Trading Thin Air, The Economist , May 31, 2007.


  • “Overall, EU emissions have not been curbed since the Kyoto treaty was signed in 1997. Under current policies the EU-15 will certainly not meet its Kyoto target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 8% on 1990 levels by 2012. But on current trends, emissions in the EU-15 will have actually increased by 5% by 2030." -- Europe’s dirty secret: Why the EU Emissions Trading Scheme isn’t working, Open Europe , Aug. 2007.


  • "Even a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the EU’s ETS is far from being the most cost effective way to reduce net carbon emissions. Adding up simply the transfer cost and the administrative cost suggests a cost to the UK economy of £530 million a year (without including the knock-on costs of higher energy prices). This is unacceptably high, given that there is no evidence that the scheme is actually limiting emissions across the EU… ” -- The High Price of Hot Air: Why the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is an Environmental and Economic Failure, Open Europe .


  • “[T]he [European] commission assumes that the ETS, which awards 'permits to pollute' to industry, will deliver a practical means to achieve its target. These permits have to date been given away, resulting in massive windfalls for energy-intensive industries. It now proposes to auction the greater part of these pollution licences, although heavy lobbying has resulted in a series of opt-outs and delays. In effect, the EU is offering polluting industries an extended period of grace. This despite the mass of evidence, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change downwards, that the next 15 years will be the crucial period for action on climate change.” -- Permission to pollute: Far from tackling climate change, the EU's timid plans are rewarding those on the wrong track, The Guardian, Jan. 2008.


  • “The price of phase two allowances [in the EU-ETS] has risen to a level high enough to get some power generators to switch from coal to gas at the margin when the gas price is moderate; but not high enough to get them to replace coal-fired power stations with gas-fired ones—nor to encourage much of the innovation that carbon trading had been expected to spawn.” -- The Carbon Market is Working, But Not Bringing Forth as Much Innovation as Had Been Hoped, The Economist, May 31, 2007.


  • A new study "estimates that the windfall to electricity generators in just the five states of UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland over the current five year phase of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) [Phase II] could be between 23 and 71 billion Euros ($US 36 -111 billion ).” -- EU carbon market sets up another round of windfall profits for dirtiest power generators, World Wildlife Fund, Apr. 7, 2008.


  • “National governments are already allowed to auction up to 10% of emissions permits but WWF estimates that the proportion sold, in practice, is closer to 4%... European Commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich added that part of the problem had been the response from power companies. 'If they can pass on the costs to the customers, they will do it. Then they have a certain number of free certificates which they can sell on the market,' she said.” -- EU 'windfall for power companies', BBC News, Apr. 7, 2008.


  • The death of Durban environmentalist Sajida Khan in July 2007 calls attention to the consequences of the climate justice struggle, highlighting failures of the carbon trading scheme with a chronology of how the EU ETS developed . -- Privatization of the Air Turns Lethal: Pay-to-Pollute Principle Kills South African Activist Sajida Khan, Patrick Bond, The Corner House , Dec. 2007.



The (In)Efficacy of Pollution Trading Programs:
  • "When looking to the commonly discussed use of 2005 as the target year, 2009 is already over 10 percent below 2005 levels (down to 5405 million metric tons carbon dioxide from 5973 mmt.) and more than half-the-way to below 1990 levels (5020 million metric tons).” -- "Five Percent a Year is all we ask...," Get Energy Smart! Now! , May 5, 2010.


  • "In 2009, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States saw their largest absolute and percentage decline (405 million metric tons or 7.0 percent) since the start of EIA’s comprehensive record of annual energy data that begins in 1949, more than 60 years ago. While emissions have declined in three out of the last four years, 2009 was exceptional... [] emissions developments in 2009 reflect a combination of factors, including some particular to the economic downturn, other special circumstances during the year, and other factors that may reflect persistent trends in our economy and our energy use.” -- "U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions in 2009: A Retrospective Review," U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) , May 5, 2010.


  • "[] the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which caps emissions in 10 northeastern U.S. states, is creating a fragmented market for firms, and one that is very dependent on political decree — a major factor in the price volatility seen so far. Prices in RGGI dropped to around $2 in the most recent quarterly auction of emission allowances, at the beginning of this month. Analysts say supply is easily overpowering demand as that system tries to hit its stride after getting its start last September. The EU ETS also faced the early problem of having allocated too many allowances at its start. What these low prices mean for the future of cap-and-trade systems is still a matter of debate.” -- "Low Carbon Prices: Just a Phase or an Indictment of Cap and Trade?," SolveClimate.com , Dec. 29, 2009.


  • "The California Air Resources Board adopted a program the Schwarzenegger administration pushed through late last week that will allow polluters to buy carbon offsets from logging companies, which environmentalists say will be rewarded for “business-as-usual” clearcutting practices. Essentially, the program will allow industrial polluters, like power plants and oil refineries, to buy carbon credits from logging companies, like Sierra Pacific Industries, which adhere to forestry practices outlined in the plan. This could bring timber companies millions of dollars as Assembly Bill 32, the landmark global warming bill, goes into practice in two years... In the new wording, according to a handful of environment groups, the baseline is being set so low that SPI will be monetarily rewarded for its standard 17- to 20-acre clearcuts... 'If you can essentially do business as usual and say you are sequestering carbon, and getting rewarded for it, given that this is going to be a model for the world ... I think it seems a little bit hypocritical...'" -- "Carbon swap plan draws mixed reviews," The Union Democrat , Sept. 29, 2009.


  • "The global economic downturn and a growing trade in sovereign emissions rights are combining to create a 'perfect storm' that threatens to derail already sluggish efforts to cut greenhouse gases in poor countries." -- "Perfect storm threatens poor nations' CO2 cuts," The Guardian U.K. , May 28, 2009.


  • "A former Pasadena businesswoman convicted of engineering a fraudulent cap-and-trade pollution credit deal involving millions of dollars and one of the world’s biggest oil companies is at the heart of a congressional inquiry into the government’s latest response to global warming... In her 2003 bankruptcy filing — a year after federal investigators started looking at what was going on and two years before she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud — creditors registered between $54 million and $80 million in claims, Jacobs found through records and interviews with victims. What the two Republican congressmen want to know now is: Where were EPA regulators while Sholtz was operating what amounted to a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors? Further, Barton and Walden are asking why it took so long to sentence Sholtz — three years after she was convicted. The two lawmakers also want to know why much of the proceedings in the Sholtz case were sealed by US District Judge Audrey Collins, and how they can be unsealed." -- "Breaking the smog bank," Pasadena Weekly , May 14, 2009.


  • "In Japan's first Kyoto year, which ended in March, the 10 firms emitted 9.5 percent to 72 percent more CO2 per kilowatt hour than their target over the five-year period... Some of the firms are now considering buying another type of offset called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), bought from developed nations that are comfortably below their emission cut targets. AAUs are often referred to as 'hot air' units. Critics argue that most of these credits were generated through economic restructuring in eastern Europe in the 1990s when polluting industries in former communist nations were shutting down, rather than by fresh investment in clean energy.” -- "Japan power firms pay $1 billion for CO2 credits in 08/09," Reuters UK , May 14, 2009.


  • "By end of 2009 New Carbon Finance expects to see the global carbon market on a level with 2008 at around $121bn, supported by higher trading activity but lower prices. Growth is then expected to be sluggish to 2012 as the recession causes prices to remain low in the major schemes, by when it should reach $408bn (295bn)." -- "Carbon market volume up 37% in Q1 2009," New Carbon Finance , Apr. 23, 2009.


  • "Governor David A. Paterson of New York is thinking of giving the utility industry more free allowances to pollute under the Northeast carbon-trading system... Environmentalists are furious. But what does this mean for the nine other Northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — the carbon emissions trading bloc that began last fall... Carbon traders worry that a move by New York could undermine confidence in the fledgling carbon-trading market. The carbon-trading plan 'has struggled with credibility from day one given the starting overallocation of emissions allowances,' Alex Rau, of the carbon trading firm Climate Wedge, said in an e-mail message, 'and behavior from the regulators like this will only undermine what little confidence there has been in the market.'" -- "The Meaning of New York’s Carbon Trading Move," New York Times, Green Inc. , March 6, 2009.


  • "Australia’s third- biggest oil and gas producer, suspended its Moomba carbon- storage project, a victim of weak government support and plunging prices for permits to release greenhouse gases. Credit prices to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are too low to underpin the investment planned for central Australia’s Cooper Basin." -- "Santos Halts $450 Million Moomba Carbon-Storage Plan," Bloomberg.com , Mar. 3, 2009.


  • "Continuing growth in carbon emissions in Australia and the new target have led leading global carbon market analyst Point Carbon to estimate a potential extra cost to taxpayers of $870 million in carbon credits in 2012... The report adds that the credits Australia would buy are left over from the economic restructuring of former Soviet satellites after the fall of the Berlin Wall and hold 'little or no environmental integrity'." -- "UN carbon cut to cost Australia $870m," The Australian , Feb. 13, 2009.


  • "The collapse in the international price of carbon is threatening the [Australia] Government's ability to pay for compensation packages in the emissions trading scheme without drawing on the budget." -- "Price plunge hits carbon trade plan," TheAge.com.au , Feb. 18, 2009.


  • "Australia's plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions are in danger of being derailed as the carbon price falls in Europe and the government convenes a parliamentary inquiry into its proposed emissions trading scheme." -- "Australia's emissions plan wavers as carbon price falls," Reuters , Feb. 12, 2009.


  • On September 29, 2008, the East Coast trading program--the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or "RGGI," had its first market-launching auction. The 'market clearing price,' the price where supply and demand were equal, was $3.07 per TON of carbon. Basically, since it has been clear for more than a year that RGGI was over allocated, there were two things that could happen. Either all of the allocations would not sell, because there were more than needed, and the price would not rise above the price "floor" of $1.86 set by RGGI; or all of the allocation would be sold and held as “investments”, which would push the price slightly higher. Either way, people knew the program won't do anything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. -- See the RGGI website , Sept. 29, 2008.


  • "[RGGI] auction demand may be weak at the start, with millions of allowances the states planned to sell not immediately needed. And with the cap on emissions most likely to be higher, at least initially, than the plants’ actual carbon-dioxide output, it may be many months before utilities have an incentive to cut pollution... As traders watched the RGGI dynamic evolve, the already low price of carbon futures fell by about 40 percent in the last three months in this country, according to Evolution Markets, a brokerage firm... Phil Giudice, the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, said, 'The 188 million tons estimate was put together a number of years ago from both an analytical aspect and, not surprisingly, a political one.' ... As long as emissions remain below 188 million tons, however, the number of allowances will exceed the companies’ need. The states have set a floor price of $1.86 per ton; allowances will not sell below that level... Several state officials said companies had been anxious to get the auction process under way. Mr. Giudice of Massachusetts said: 'One of the worst things for industry is uncertainty. With uncertainty, risk factors go up for all kinds of capital decisions.'”, New York Times , Sept. 16, 2008.


  • "The first mandatory cap-and-trade programme targeting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the US is at risk of being oversupplied when it starts, warned consultancy ICF International last week... Steve Fine, a Virginia-based vice-president with the consultancy, said that the market has more allowances for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) than historical emission levels, meaning that the market is potentially long. 'It could be reminiscent of Phase I of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme [ETS],' he told participants, referring to the oversupply of allowances in the first three years of the EU’s flagship ETS which led prices to collapse from almost €30 ($43.44) in April 2006 to €0.01 when the phase finally ended earlier this year. Data on the RGGI website supports this statement." -- "RGGI oversupply risks being “'reminiscent of Phase I of EU ETS'”, Carbon Finance , Sept. 3, 2008.


  • "[F]or those who have pressed for a cap-and-trade system for carbon credits, the collapse of the US market for what are called SOx (sulphur dioxide) and NOx (nitrous oxide) allowances is very bad news. The enviros, as business lobbyists call them, don't seem to realise that the risk management committees that have the last word at most corporations will be inclined to deny commitments to pollution allowance trading, including carbon. After all, the last time anyone tried that, they lost a lot of money to an unexpected court decision." -- "Misguided game of SOx and NOx played for high stakes," Financial Times, Aug. 19, 2008.


  • "Compare the success of the often-touted sulfur dioxide trading system the U.S., instituted in 1990, with the speed and quantity of reductions under rule-based systems during the same period. U.S. SO2 emissions dropped by 31% between 1990 and 2001. Over the same period of time, under old fashioned rule-based regulation, Germany reduced its emissions by 87%, Italy by 62%, and Western Europe as a whole by 57%. ... In general, it is not surprising that emission trading discourages innovation. The whole point of spatial flexibility is to encourage use of all cheap means before turning to expensive ones." -- Gar Lipow, Gristmill, Feb. 19, 2008.


  • "[A]rticle presents new data and theory unsettling the traditional view that market mechanisms encourage innovations vital to sustainable development. Market actors fail to take positive spillovers, e.g. benefits accruing to competitors and thence to future generations, into account in making technological choices. Because of this failure to take long-term economic development into account, the international trading markets have contributed far less to sustainable energy development than more targeted programs." -- Sustainable Development and Market Liberalism’s Shotgun Wedding: Emissions Trading Under the Kyoto Protocol , Indiana Law Journal , David M. Driesen, Vol. 83, Issue 1 (forthcoming), Oct. 3, 2007.


  • “The problem lies in the fact that carbon trading is designed with the express purpose of providing an opportunity for rich countries to delay making costly, structural changes towards low-carbon technologies. This isn’t a malfunction of the market or an unexpected by-product: this is what the market was designed to do. The economist John Kay wrote in the Financial Times: 'when a market is created through political action rather than emerging spontaneously from the needs of buyers and sellers, business will seek to influence market design for commercial advantage.' In terms of climate change and carbon trading, the 'commercial advantage' (at least in the short term) lies in avoiding the costly structural changes, and industry has influenced every stage of the design and implementation of the carbon market to this end.” -- Carbon Trading: the limits of free-market logic, Kevin Smith, China Dialogue, Sept. 20, 2007.


  • “Comparing and contrasting [trading] programs revealed grave flaws common to all of them. Finding the same failings in all trading programs—as well as evidence of the emergence of these failings in smaller or younger programs, even though they are for different pollutants, time frames and circumstances—suggests that the deficiencies are intrinsic to trading itself, not the result of faulty program design or implementation.” -- Marketing Failure: The Experience With Air Pollution Trading in the United States, Health & Clean Air Newsletter , Feb. 2004.


  • “[P]ollution trading actually creates perverse incentives to avoid innovation.” -- Drury, Richard; Belliveau, Michael, et. al, Pollution Trading and Environmental Injustice: Los Angeles’ Failed Experiment in Air Quality Policy, Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, Vol. 9:231, Spring 1999.



The Urgency to Achieve Significant Greenhouse Gas Reductions:
  • "Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes. Study says 4C rise in temperature could happen by 2060. Increase could threaten water supply of half [of] world population." -- "Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes," - The Guardian UK , Sept. 28, 2009.


  • "We are now firmly ensconced in the Age of Extreme Weather. According to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, there have been more than four times as many weather-related disasters in the last 30 years than in the previous 75 years. The United States has experienced more of those disasters than any other country. In 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina, the estimated damage from storms in the United States was $121 billion. That is $39 billion more than the 2005 supplemental spending bill to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. About $3 billion has been allocated to assist farmers who suffer losses because of droughts, floods and tornadoes among other things. And, a recent report in The Denver Post said the Forest Service plans to spend 45 percent, or $1.9 billion, of its budget this year fighting forest fires. This surge in disasters and attendant costs is yet another reason we need to declare a coordinated war on climate change akin to the wars on drugs and terror. It’s a matter of national security." -- Farewell, Fair Weather. - New York Times , Charles M. Blow, May 31, 2008.


  • "The international community may have as little as a decade to bring greenhouse gases under control or risk catastrophic global warming that places millions of people at risk, warns a group of the world's leading climate scientists," in a declaration released Dec. 6, 2007 in Bali, Indonesia. -- Toronto Globe and Mail. - Full text of declaration.


  • "The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades." -- Washington Post.


  • "The general dialogue on adapting to a world affected by climate change by definition excludes the world's poorest people. And yet it's the world's poorest who are often put forward as the ones who are likely to feel the affects of climate change the most and are likely to be able to deal with them the least. ... 1 billion of the poorest people on Earth will lose their livelihoods to desertification (UNEP). More than 200 million environmental refugees will be created by 2050, as a direct result of rising sea levels, erosion and agricultural damage (World Development Movement). ... in Los Angeles more than 71 percent of African Americans live in 'highly polluted areas,' compared to 24 percent of whites. ... An independent study last year in the UK showed that the number of households being forced to decide between food and heating has almost doubled in just two years. This, over a period when electricity prices jumped by 39 percent and gas prices by 61 percent.” -- Rich, poor and climate change, CNN, Feb. 18, 2008.


  • "The biannual UN Human Development Report, issued at the end of November, reported that 1 out of every 19 people in the so-called developing world was affected by a climate-related disaster between 2000 and 2004. The figure for people in the wealthiest (OECD) countries was 1 out of every 1,500... Those who have benefited the least from the unsustainable pace of economic growth and expansion over the past five or six decades are facing a future of suffering and dislocation unlike any the world has ever seen... [T]he growing practice of purchasing carbon dioxide credits in order to 'offset' affluent consumers’ excessive greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly opposed by people on the receiving end. Carbon offsets, whether sold on the Internet or negotiated through the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, also favor the conversion of forests into monoculture plantations and further the displacement of traditional communities.” -- Brian Tokar, Z Magazine, Jan. 1, 2008.


  • "By 2030, emissions of greenhouse gases will rise by 57% compared to current levels, leading to a rise in Earth's surface temperature of at least three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Nov. 7." – Industry Week.


  • "The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades... [The scientists] are delivering a simple message: The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further... When it comes to deciding how drastically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, O'Neill said, 'in the end, this is a value judgment, it's not a scientific question.' The idea of shifting to a carbon-free society, he added, 'appears to be technically feasible. The question is whether it's politically feasible or economically feasible.'" -- Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger, New Studies Say, Washington Post, Mar. 10, 2008.


  • "The newly released Maplecroft Climate Change Risk Report includes the first-ever climate change vulnerability index and a set of best-to-worst rankings for more than 168 countries worldwide... The report finds many of the world’s biggest CO2 emitters are also the countries least vulnerable to the impacts of climate change." -- First-Ever Climate Change Vulnerability Index Identifies the Most and Least Vulnerable Countries and Companies, BusinessWire, Jul. 23, 2008.



Real Solutions:
  • " The downloadable proposal is for an American PRIDE Act. PRIDE stands for Promote Renewable Infrastructure & Develop Efficiency. This is a two decade ~400 billion a year jobs bill that makes a profit, while creating two to five million new jobs per year. It just happens that this jobs bill eliminates most air pollution, including global warming pollution, as a side effect of making us more prosperous, freer and more secure. It reduces global warming by more than 60% in a decade, and oil use by over a third. It creates around a 90% renewable electric grid, and finances massive efficiency improvements in buildings, industry and transportation." -- "American PRIDE - alternative to the Lieberman-Kerry Disaster," Grist , May 13, 2010.


  • "On a state and local level, renewable energy could create local jobs: The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has shown that 31 U.S. states could meet their energy needs with homegrown renewable resources. And the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research has mapped out a strategy to get to a carbon-free, nuclear-free United States by 2050." -- "Moving Our Nation Beyond Petroleum," CommonDreams.org , May 12, 2010.


  • "In a truly groundbreaking move for the English-speaking world, Britain's Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has released a full suite of renewable energy tariffs that go into effect in April. Britain will become the first country in the world to offer a comprehensive system of tariffs for renewable heat, including tariffs for solar domestic hot water and ground-source heat pumps among others... However, critics charge that Britain's DECC has set its sights too low. The limitation of feed-in tariffs to a micro-generation "ghetto" remains troubling to many renewable energy advocates. Wind, solar PV, and hydro projects are limited to no more than 5 megawatts, or roughly two commercial wind turbines. Further, the tariff tranche for wind projects from 1.5 to 5 MW is so low that only the windiest sites in Britain will be suitable, raising concerns about more siting conflicts... Potentially far more significant than the wind and solar tariffs, all of which have been done many times before, Britain's tariffs for renewable heat could be a game changer. There has been widespread intellectual reluctance to tackle tariffs for renewable heat. It's as though policy makers don't understand that heat, in kilowatt-hours or any other units, is just as measurable as electricity... Significantly, income from residential renewables, such as rooftop solar PV, will not be taxed as income. This provision could prove a boon to the retail solar PV industry, practically non-existent in Britain. Once the laughing stock of the world's renewable energy community, Britain's new feed-in tariffs could finally put it back on the world stage alongside up and coming centers of renewable energy development such as Ontario and China." -- "Britain Launches Comprehensive System of Feed-in Rates," SolveClimate.com , Feb. 3, 2010.


  • "Lewis says California has actually reduced the percentage of energy it gets from renewables by a percentage point since the portfolio standards were introduced in 2002. Feed-in tariffs, he says, can turn that around. Feed-in tariffs guarantee producers of renewable energy, including such small-scale producers as homeowners with solar panels on their roofs, a long-term contract in which they will be paid a price usually above the market price for the power they feed into the grid. Renewable portfolio standards (RPS), in contrast, try to encourage renewables from the other end by setting up a quota for energy suppliers to source a certain amount of the power they provide from renewable sources. This usually includes the opportunity to buy credits from suppliers of renewable energy in a tradable credit scheme... The European countries with the most robust feed-in systems — most notably Germany, Spain and Denmark — have seen much more growth in their renewable sectors than have countries with RPS systems. In Germany, feed-in tariffs are credited with a solar power boom that saw the country, clearly not the world leader in sunlight, emerge as the world leader in solar power generation... The states of Vermont and Washington have implemented feed-in tariffs, as have cities including Sacramento, Calif., and Gainesville, Fla. Feed-in tariff legislation is currently under consideration in Indiana, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Maine, and California is looking into revamping its program... 'Countries that have feed-in tariffs have a much higher percentage of renewable energy at much lower costs' largely due to the decreased risks that come from the long-term, set price contracts feed-in tariffs offer... Inslee sees 'rapidly growing traction' at the federal level, but says it is an 'educational process' and that will take time to get policymakers on board through educating them about the issue. Still, he says, 'there's no better policy than a feed-in tariff to give the investment community confidence to invest in" technology that will lead to a low carbon economy." -- "States Look to Feed-in Tariffs to Boost Renewable Energy," SolveClimate.com , Jan. 22, 2010.


  • "Economists have long seen a carbon tax as a good idea because of its simplicity: Polluters pay at a level that is set by decree. But the idea never caught on widely in the United States or Europe, where governments jealously guard their autonomy on taxes. Industries lobbied for a market-based system called cap and trade instead, which they helped to design and from which some have profited handsomely. Now, with only modest progress so far in meeting goals set for greenhouse gas reduction, the carbon tax may be making a comeback. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, on Thursday unveiled details of a carbon tax that would raise the cost of driving a car or heating a home, all with the aim of encouraging conservation and thus reducing France’s overall emissions... Trailblazers in Scandinavia say their taxes have been effective in lowering emissions. Sweden has had such a tax in place since 1991, when the government imposed a tax equivalent to €28, or $41, for each ton of CO2 emitted. The Swedes currently levy a tax of €128 for each ton of CO2, although industries that are exposed to international competition are permitted to pay the tax at a lower rate. Emissions in Sweden would be 20 percent higher without the tax, yet the economy has still grown by 44 percent since it was put in place, said Susanne Akerfeldt, a senior adviser on tax issues at the Ministry of Finance in Stockholm. 'We have found that our carbon tax is entirely compatible with economic growth,' she said. Denmark instituted its carbon tax a year after Sweden, while Finland, Norway, Switzerland and parts of Canada use similar systems, she said." -- "More in Europe Look to Carbon Tax to Curb Emissions," New York Times , Sept. 9, 2009.


  • "The news in France: a 14 Euro (about $19.90 at current exchange rates) tax per ton of carbon to go into effect in 2010. While discussion of a carbon tax has been an item of debate within French society, Prime Minister Fillon’s announcement of the actual amount and the parameters of the coming have created what might be an explosive discussion... On first glance, writ large, this looks to be a positive move, the type of revenue source rebalancing that should be pursued around the globe to help drive moves toward a low-carbon future." -- "France to impose a carbon tax … and a debate explodes," Get Energy Smart Now! , Sept. 2, 2009.


  • "If every country committed to spending 0.05 percent of its GDP exploring non-carbon-emitting energy technologies, this would translate into US$25 billion per year, or 10 times more than what the world spends now. Yet, the total also would be seven times cheaper than the Kyoto Protocol, and many times cheaper than the Copenhagen Protocol is likely to be... Decades of talks have failed to make any impact on carbon emissions. Expecting China and India to make massive emission cuts for little benefit puts the Copenhagen meeting on a sure path to being another lost opportunity. Yet, at the same time, the Chinese and Indian challenge could be the impetus we need to change direction, end our obsession with reducing emissions and focus instead on research and development, which would be smarter and cheaper - and would actually make a difference." -- Bjorn Lomborg, "Focusing on R&D a smarter choice in climate talks," Taipei Times , Feb. 17, 2009.


  • "We consider the design of a tax on greenhouse gas emissions for a developed country such as the United States. We consider three sets of issues: the optimal tax base, issues relating to the rate (including the use of the revenues and rate changes over time) and trade. We show that a well-designed carbon tax can capture about 80% of U.S. emissions by taxing fewer than 3,000 taxpayers and up to almost 90% with a modest additional cost." -- Design of a Carbon Tax, University of Chicago Law & Economics , Jan. 8, 2009.


  • "Dr. Shapiro released his paper entitled, 'Addressing Climate Change without Impairing the U.S. Economy: The Economics and Environmental Science of Combining a Carbon-Based Tax and Tax Relief,' which details a strategy for implementing a carbon tax and using 90 percent of the revenue to cut the payroll tax. (The remaining 10 percent would be used to fund research, development, and deployment of clean technology). The end effect would be to combat climate change while limiting the economic burden and increasing the political salability of such a solution to climate change." -- Dr. Robert Shapiro Unveils Paper on Tax Shift to Combat Climate Change, NDN Blog , Jun. 25, 2008.


  • “As Wall Street and the American economy continue to crumble around us, it is time - now more than ever - to begin building the next American economy - the low carbon, clean energy economy... A group called Transportation America estimates that building transit systems in 78 American metro areas it has identified would create 6.7 million jobs. That's an economic stimulus path that is a smart, long term investment in America's future. Cities already making such investments have realized large cash savings for residents ($5 for every dollar invested says one study). Portland, Oregon, estimates its transit investments are saving its citizens $2.6 billion annually... A report by Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist for the World Bank, estimates that clean energy development is a $500 billion global business opportunity. Here in the United States, where we consume 25 percent of global energy, this could translate into more than a $100 billion market. If we exported some of that clean energy know-how to other parts of the world it could be much more... Let's put our dollars and our policies to work immediately, to create the next great American economy, based on efficient, clean energy. As we do so, we will be tackling our economic, energy, and climate crises simultaneously.” -- Creating the next American economy, Miami Herald, Oct. 22, 2008.


  • "Discussions about addressing climate change (e.g., through a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax) often focus on the transportation sector." The brief argues, however, that most of the reduction in CO2 emissions would occur in other sectors (e.g., the electricity sector) and that the effects on vehicle emissions would be modest, especially in the shorter run." -- Climate-Change Policy and CO2 Emissions from Passenger Vehicles, Congressional Budget Office, Oct. 6, 2008.


  • "Sweden topped the list of countries that did the most to save the planet - for the second year running... Between 1990 and 2006 Sweden cut its carbon emissions by 9%, largely exceeding the target set by the Kyoto Protocol, while enjoying economic growth of 44% in fixed prices. The main reason for this success, say experts, is the introduction of a carbon tax in 1991... 'Our carbon emissions would have been 20% higher without the carbon tax,' says the Swedish environment minister, Andreas Carlgren... 'Impose a carbon tax,' suggests Lindberg. 'You would make it more attractive financially to go for green solutions than for carbon options.' 'A carbon tax is the most cost-effective way to make carbon cuts and it does not prevent strong economic growth,' adds Carlgren." -- Sweden's carbon-tax solution to climate change puts it top of the green list, The Guardian, Apr. 29, 2008.


  • “A recent issue of Scientific American featured a 'Solar Grand Plan.' Its authors described a way for the United States to obtain nearly 100 percent of its electricity and 90 percent of its total energy, including transportation, from solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal resources by mid-century. Electricity would cost a comfortable 5 cents per kilowatt hour.” -- The subsidy tease, part III A solar grand plan, Gristmill, Feb. 15, 2008.


  • “Germany has 200 times as much solar energy as Britain. It generates 12% of its electricity from various renewables, compared with 4.6% in Britain. It has created a quarter of a million jobs in renewables - a number that is growing fast. Britain has only 25,000, a number that represents the amount of jobs created in the industry in Germany in the past year alone.” -- Germany sets shining example in providing a harvest for the world, The Guardian, Jul. 23, 2007.


  • “[T]housands of Darfuri refugee women and girls [were] being raped and murdered when they leave their camps to search for firewood. … ’What about solar cookers?’ someone suggested. ‘If they don't need wood to cook, they won't need to risk leaving their camps!’” -- Tzivia Getzug: Battling Genocide One Cooker At a Time, KPCC Radio, Feb. 13, 2008.


  • A report that ". . . dispels myths about the climate benefits of landfill gas recovery and waste incineration, outlines policies needed to effect change, and offers a roadmap for how to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within a short period.” -- Stop Trashing the Climate , Jun. 2008.





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