Hurray. We’re Going Backwards by George Monbiot

Before Kyoto, the other negotiators flatly rejected Gore’s proposals for emissions trading. So his team threatened to sink the talks. The other nations capitulated, but the US still held out on technicalities until the very last moment, when it suddenly appeared to concede. In 1997 and in 2007 it got the best of both worlds: it wrecked the treaty and was praised for saving it.

Hilary Benn is an idiot. Our diplomats are suckers. United States negotiators have pulled the same trick twice and for the second time our governments have fallen for it.

There are still two years to go, but so far the new agreement is even worse than the Kyoto Protocol. It contains no targets and no dates. A new set of guidelines also agreed at Bali extend and strengthen the worst of Al Gore’s trading scams, the clean development mechanism. Benn and the other dupes are cheering and waving their hats as the train leaves the station at last, having failed to notice that it is travelling in the wrong direction.


Pricing the Priceless
by George Monbiot

Look at the European carbon market. Through the Emissions Trading System, it was supposed to have harnessed the magic of the markets to do what politics had failed to do: drastically reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. At the time of writing, the price of carbon is 4.70 euros per tonne(2). For all the good that does, it might as well be zero.

Why is it so low? Because carbon-intensive industries lobbied politicians to raise the supply of permits until the mechanism became useless(3). The market has not solved the problem of power: it has simply given it another name. Whether governments attempt to address climate change the old way (through regulation) or through pricing makes not a jot of difference if they won’t stand up to industrial lobbyist



 Naomi Klein: 'Big green groups are more damaging than climate deniers'

Well, I think there is a very a deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups. And to be very honest with you, I think it's been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we've lost. Because it has steered us in directions that have yielded very poor results. I think if we look at the track record of Kyoto, of the UN Clean Development Mechanism, the European Union's emissions trading scheme – we now have close to a decade that we can measure these schemes against, and it's disastrous. Not only are emissions up, but you have no end of scams to point to, which gives fodder to the right.

 The right took on cap-and-trade by saying it's going to bankrupt us, it's handouts to corporations, and, by the way, it's not going to work. And they were right on all counts. Not in the bankrupting part, but they were right that this was a massive corporate giveaway, and they were right that it wasn't going to bring us anywhere near what scientists were saying we needed to do lower emissions




Naomi Klein again

The whole affair, according to Klein, underlines a painful truth behind the “catastrophic failure” of some environmental organisations to combat the fossil-fuel industries responsible for soaring
greenhouse gas emissions. “Large parts of the movement aren’t actually fighting those interests – they have merged with them,” she writes, pointing to green groups that have accepted fossil-fuel
industry donations or partnerships and invited industry executives on to their boards.

It is no coincidence, suggests Klein, that several environmental organisations have also championed climate policies that are the least burdensome to the energy industry, including generously designed
carbon markets and the use of natural gas as a bridge to a cleaner energy system.


The great American bubble machine

By Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone Magazine

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.

Here's how it works: If the bill passes; there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy "allocations" or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions. President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billions worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.


Friends of the Earth attacks carbon trading

An FoE reports says 'cap and trade' carbon markets have done little to reduce emissions but have been plagued by corruption and inefficiency

The world's carbon trading markets growing complexity threatens another "sub-prime" style financial crisis that could again destabilise the global economy, campaigners warn today.

In a new report, Friends of the Earth says that to date "cap and trade" carbon markets have done almost nothing to reduce emissions but have been plagued by inefficiency and corruption that render them unfit for purpose.

As the world heads towards the Copenhagen climate summit, Britain and other developed countries want to see carbon trading expanded worldwide. The carbon market, mainly based in Europe, was worth $126bn in 2008 and is predicted to mushroom to $3.1tn by 2020 if a global carbon market takes off


Greenpeace Market Poison and Carbon Trading


The EU's carbon trading scheme has increased electricity bills, given a windfall to power companies and failed to cut greenhouse gases, it is claimed


At the moment over 90% of the licences to produce CO2 are given away to the biggest polluters. Some of these companies have made billions by passing on the nominal costs of the licences to their customers, even though they didn't have to pay anything themselves


Cap and Trade WSJ

Politicians love cap and trade because they can claim to be taxing "polluters," not workers. Hardly. Once the government creates a scarce new commodity -- in this case the right to emit carbon -- and then mandates that businesses buy it, the costs would inevitably be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher prices. Stating the obvious, Peter Orszag -- now Mr. Obama's budget director -- told Congress last year that "Those price increases are essential to the success of a cap-and-trade program."

Hit hardest would be the "95% of working families" Mr. Obama keeps mentioning, usually omitting that his no-new-taxes pledge comes with the caveat "unless you use energy." Putting a price on carbon is regressive by definition because poor and middle-income households spend more of their paychecks on things like gas to drive to work, groceries or home heating.



Cap-and-Trade: All Cost, No Benefit

The proposed legislation would have a trivially small effect on global warming while imposing substantial costs on all American households. And to get political support in key states, the legislation would abandon the auctioning of permits in favor of giving permits to selected corporations.

The leading legislative proposal, the Waxman-Markey bill that was recently passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would reduce allowable CO2 emissions to 83 percent of the 2005 level by 2020, then gradually decrease the amount further. Under the cap-and-trade system, the federal government would limit the total volume of CO2 that U.S. companies can emit each year and would issue permits that companies would be required to have for each ton of CO2 emitted. Once issued, these permits would be tradable and could be bought and sold, establishing a market price reflecting the targeted CO2 reduction, with a tougher CO2 standard and fewer available permits leading to higher prices.



EU emissions trading scheme 'set to cancel out renewable energy gains'


Deep problems in Europe's carbon trading scheme – its flagship climate change policy – are set to cancel out over 700m tonnes of emissions saved through renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, according to a new report.

The study, by carbon trading thinktank Sandbag, found that a huge oversupply of carbon pollution permits means many are being banked to enable emissions after 2020, when efforts to tackle global warming should be intensifying. These emissions, nearly equivalent to Germany's annual carbon pollution, will cancel out efforts made in other areas to cut carbon.