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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 14-Dec-07
UN Climate Change conference appears to be ending in farce

Web Log - December, 2007

UN Climate Change conference appears to be ending in farce

After two weeks of fun on Bali beaches, participants appear to have agreed on only one thing: that "the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali." Those are the words of former Vice President Al Gore, for which he receive wild cheers and acclamations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali.

Al Gore speaking at Climate Change Conference <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
Al Gore speaking at Climate Change Conference (Source: CNN)

Now the conference is apparently about to collapse in farce, with no agreement whatsoever.

A bitter, angry spokeswoman for environmental groups at the conference said, "There is a wrecking crew here in Bali led by the Bush Administration and its minions. Those minions continue to be the governments of Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and others, with unfortunately Australia shadowing that group of minions."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "We are at a crossroad. "One path leads to a comprehensive climate change agreement, the other to oblivion. The choice is clear."


This whole thing is a big joke. Even if all the claims about "global warming" are true (and I doubt it), I still haven't heard anything remotely like a technology or a plan to stop it that has even the tiniest hope of making any difference.

Al Gore himself obviously thinks it's a big joke. He lives in a mansion expending huge amounts of energy, and makes jokes about donating money to Greenpeace to make up for it. Every chance he gets, he uses "global warming" as an opportunity to make fatuous political statements.

If Al Gore really believed what he was saying, then he'd be a lot more serious. Instead, his only prescription is that you should vote for Democrats. If he really believed what he was saying, and that the earth was in danger, he wouldn't be joking around and making stupid political statements.

I know this because I DO believe what I'm saying. I believe every word that I write on my web site. When I was just getting started, and realized the consequences to myself and the world, I was so depressed that I couldn't sleep for months.

(Incidentally, I'm doing my part to support the great worldwide crusade to prevent global warming. I use fluorescent light bulbs throughout my apartment, I walk often, and when I drive, it's a compact car. I feel confident that my "carbon footprint" is smaller than Al Gore's.)

Bali Beach Resort
Bali Beach Resort

And now we have 159 countries sending delegates and their staffs in jet planes to an expensive beach resort in the middle of the (northern hemisphere) winter, to meet in air conditioned rooms for three hours a day before going out to enjoy the beach. Trust me, these are not serious people. They would NEVER be doing this if they believed anything they were saying about "oblivion."

For example, they could have had their meeting by setting up five or six meeting rooms on different continents, linking them up with video meeting software. If they really believed what they were saying, then they would have "saved the planet" by doing that.

A year ago I wrote an article saying that the Kyoto protocol was evidently dead. The reason is because the European nations were doing almost nothing -- NOTHING -- to comply with it. The European nations were either doing nothing to reach their targets, or they were actual INCREASING their carbon emissions.

And yet, the EU countries were officially meeting their targets. How? Because their targets were set based on 1990 emissions, and many countries have converted from coal to oil factories since then, so their emissions would have decreased anyway. The same is true of Russia.

And these are the same arrogant Europeans who criticize America for not signing the Kyoto treaty.

Furthermore, everyone knows that nobody is going to do anything to reduce carbon emissions. Americans aren't going to give up their SUVs. Europeans aren't going to spend any money on this. The nations growing fastest in carbon emissions -- China and India -- aren't going to do anything about it, because they're "developing nations." So nobody is going to do anything to reduce carbon emissions. So why the bitter denunciations?

It turns out that there's a very easy answer to that question.

Back in the 70s and 80s, the United States government used a trading scheme that permitted one region to keep polluting if it purchased "credits" from another region that did reduce pollution. And it worked pretty well. The US has done a great deal to reduce pollution in the last few decades.

The EU has developed a similar "Carbon Trading Scheme" that permits one country to purchase carbon credits from another country that was reducing carbon emissions. However, as we said above, the targets were set so high that the market for carbon credits collapsed, and nobody actually did anything to reduce carbon emissions.

So now the folks at Bali want to implement a similar trading scheme, on a worldwide basis that includes the US. The US would have to commit to reducing carbon emissions by 20-40% by 2020, an absurd goal.

Well, if you want to understand what's going on, the first place you might look is at the statements of UN official Yvo de Boer, who claims that an international market of trading carbon credits between rich and poor nations might be worth over $100 billion per year. "That would offer rich countries the choice of reducing emissions at home or implementing a project in a developing country," said de Boer. "Often reducing emissions in developing countries is a lot cheaper."

So there you have it. If only the US would sign up for this new protocol, then they'd vote to set the targets in such a way that the US would have to pay $100 billion to "developing countries." Can you believe this?

And who would be administering this $100 billion -- soon to be $200 billion, then a trillion, then several trillion? Why, the UN would be administering it, not hesitating to take their fat commissions off the top to pay for Ban Ki-moon's bloated bureaucracy.

But there's more. Once you scratch the surface of this, it turns into a mind-boggling scam that rivals the subprime mortgage crisis.

Louis Redshaw, Head of Environment Markets, Barclays Capital <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source:</font>
Louis Redshaw, Head of Environment Markets, Barclays Capital (Source:

While I was researching this story, I came across the name Louis Redshaw as perhaps the most outspoken business supporter of the carbon trading scheme. He works at Barclays Capital in London, where his title is Head of Environment Markets.

So I used google to find out a bit about this guy.

It turns out that he's a Generation-Xer, born around 1970, who started his career as an energy trader at Enron Corp., the company that became mired in scandal and collapsed in the early 2000s. But that only whet his appetite:

"In 2004, Louis Redshaw, a trader in his early thirties, trudged around the London offices of some of the world’s biggest investment banks with a bright idea: how to make pots of money from trading carbon.

Some were sceptical; others rejected the idea outright. Only Barclays Capital took the bait.

Today just about every sizeable investment bank – from Goldman Sachs to JP Morgan and the French bank Calyon – has plunged into trading carbon credits and emissions certificates in what some have dubbed a ‘green gold rush’. The market, at about €40 billion (£27 billion) a year, may be small compared with foreign currency or bond trading, but it is hot. With many predicting that the carbon-trading market will grow explosively to top $1,000 billion (£492 billion) within the decade, no investment bank can afford to sit on the sidelines.

Top traders are among the rising stars of the City, earning hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay and bonuses. In the close-knit world of about 150 carbon traders in London, Redshaw, who worked as a trader for Enron, the collapsed energy giant, and EDF Energy, is seen as one of the pioneers."

An article written in 2005 says

"Fans reckon trading volumes will soon be worth many billions of pounds per year. James Cameron at the investment boutique Climate Change Capital said: “I think this is likely to get bigger than the interest-rate-swaps market within 10 to 15 years, particularly once America joins in.” ...

Cameron said: “Europe will be the centre of the global market as a result of it taking the lead. It will provide the benchmark. London is the leading centre and will remain so for years to come. The preparation has taken place here, and other financial centres are not so advanced, although there is also a concentration of expertise in the Netherlands.”

The market is attracting interest from hedge funds, former Liffe traders and the big banks.

Louis Redshaw at Barclays Capital said: “We were the first British bank involved and are now the biggest banking participant. We handle transactions that are many multiples of the standard market size of 10,000 tonnes. A million-tonne transaction is not out of the question."

Notice the claim that it will be "bigger than the interest rate swap market within 10-15 years"; that's part of the alchemy that Gen-X financial engineers used to transform near worthless subprime mortgages into AAA rated securities.

By September of this year, major banks were lobbying hard to get the United States to agree to carbon emission limits at the Bali meeting:

"A group representing some of the world's leading banks will urge the United States and other industrial nations this week to move quickly to introduce a lightly regulated system for trading carbon emissions permits.

Permit-trading offers banks a potentially vast new business. For it to grow, leading economies - particularly the United States - will need to set limits on the quantities of greenhouse gases that can be released and to allow companies in other parts of the world to buy emissions permits.

"Where politicians opt to implement carbon constraints, then it should be cap-and-trade," said Imtiaz Ahmad, head of emissions trading at Morgan Stanley in London and vice president of a lobbying group called International Carbon Investors and Services, which is being created to represent the banks.

The banking companies, which include Citigroup, Lehman Brothers Holdings and Morgan Stanley, are giving strong signs that Wall Street wants Washington to open the way to reduced emissions using a trading system based on the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement the United States did not ratify, rather than by enacting carbon taxes.

The group also includes European institutions like BNP Paribas, Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank, as well as niche investment banks like Climate Change Capital and the law firms of Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper. ...

Carbon traders say emissions permits could become the world's largest commodities market if developed economies agree to take part in second-phase Kyoto negotiations, to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in December."

Do you recognize that list of banks? Those are the same banks that are mired in writedowns of hundreds of billions of dollars in near-worthless securities based on "subprime" mortgages.

And consider the time frame: This article appeared in September, just after the August "credit crunch" crisis, when all the subprime schemes were beginning to collapse. These banks were looking for a new gravy train.

And then, just last week, Barclays Capital launched the first Global Carbon Index. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"This is the first time that such an index has been made available to asset managers, private banks and institutional investors looking for a comprehensive benchmark for the rapidly growing carbon emissions markets. The index is governed by the Barclays Capital Environmental Markets Index Committee, a newly formed independent body comprising representatives from the carbon industry and members of the institutional investment community. The Committee has been mandated to provide oversight to the development of the BGCI. ...

Louis Redshaw, Head of Environmental Markets, added: "The launch of this index is an important development in our environmental markets product offering. As we move towards the launch of the first phase of the Kyoto protocol and the second phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, we expect the market to grow significantly as both corporates and investors look to manage their risks and leverage new opportunities. Barclays Capital is regarded as one of the major innovators in the emissions trading space, and with the addition of this product to our portfolio we are very pleased to be able to provide carbon risk solutions to the full spectrum of clients."

Within the last couple of weeks, Redshaw was still lobbying:

"Carbon will be the world’s biggest commodity market, and it could become the world’s biggest market overall,” said Louis Redshaw, head of environmental markets at Barclays Capital and an early pioneer in carbon trading. He is not alone in that opinion.

Chris Leeds, head of emissions trading at Merrill Lynch & Co. said he believes that carbon could become “one of the fastest-growing markets ever, with volumes comparable to credit derivatives inside a decade."

And so Dear Readers, admit it: When I said a few paragraphs back that this was a scam intended to rival the subprime mortgage disaster, you thought I was joking or being hyperbolic, didn't you? But now you see that I wasn't.

Now, I don't really know who Louis Redshaw is, but I know his type: A Gen-Xer with contempt for the United States and for the entire world financial system, the type of person who couldn't care less how many other people get screwed, as long as he makes his millions.

And you can bet that all those environmental delegates lounging on the beaches in Bali are aware of this as well. They all talk to their brokers every day, and they all believe it's their turn to screw the world and make their millions as well. And you can be certain that Al Gore and Ban Ki-moon have their hands in the honey pot as well.

If you read through those articles, you can see that the entire scam depends on one thing: Getting the United States to agree to it. At that point, the whole scheme can start to take off.

That's why all those greedy bastards are so bitterly furious about the refusal of the US to get on board. They couldn't care less about how many people die from coastal flooding. They just want their money.

In the end, "Global Climate Change" is nothing but an enormous scam. The only good thing about it is that it doesn't have a snowflake's chance in hell of getting approved. (14-Dec-07) Permanent Link
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