Archive for July 24th, 2009

India rejects global warming junk science

July 24, 2009

From the Financial Times:

A split between rich and poor nations in the run-up to climate-change talks widened on Thursday.

India rejected key scientific findings on global warming, while the European Union called for more action by developing states on greenhouse gas emissions.

Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers.

He dismissed scientists’ predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming.

“We have to get out of the preconceived notion, which is based on western media, and invest our scientific research and other capacities to study Himalayan atmosphere,” he said.

I guess Hillary Clinton’s “Ugly American” routine set them off…

Carbon trading omen: Goldman Sachs’ legalized cheating

July 24, 2009

If Congress enacts carbon trading through a cap-and-trade scheme, look for Goldman Sachs to figure out how to game the market at our expense.

Today’s New York Times features a front-page, above-the-fold article about how Goldman Sachs and other trading firms are allowed a 30-millisecond peek at incoming stock market orders before the rest of the the public, allowing Goldman to buy or sell ahead of the incoming trades.

When I was an SEC lawyer, we called this “trading ahead” or “frontrunning” and it was illegal. But apparently, Goldman Sachs and some other traders with powerful computers have obtained special permission to engage in so-called “high-frequency trading” — which can only be considered a euphemism for frontrunning.

This is outrageous in so far as it gives Goldman and the other frontrunners an unfair advantage in the market — no wonder Goldman Sachs is set to have record profits this year.

So what’s this got to do with carbon trading?

Energy and Environment Daily reported today:

Diverging views about how to regulate trillion-dollar carbon trading markets that would grow under a cap-and-trade law have emerged as a major hurdle for Democrats trying to pass a climate bill this year.

Some prominent senators on energy issues say the House-passed climate bill would not prevent a repeat of alleged speculation or manipulation in oil markets in recent years…

The discussions about how to regulate carbon allowance and derivative markets are unfolding at a time when lawmakers want to show they are not enabling Wall Street banks to launch another complex financial trading system that could spin out of control.

“The last kind of headline that members of Congress will want is billions in bonuses for Wall Street because of the way they have manipulated the cap-and-trade market,” said Norm Ornstein, a congressional expert with the American Enterprise Institute. “That is not something they can tolerate.”

Add all this to the recent report by Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi that Goldman secretly received permission from the Commodity Future Trading Commission to take greater positions in the futures market than other traders — thereby helping to cause last year’s oil bubble and $4-gasoline — and you’ve got a recipe for ill-gotten profits from carbon trading for Goldman and disaster for the rest of us.

U.S. investors not sweating global warming

July 24, 2009

From Bloomberg:

…almost two-thirds of U.S. investors say climate change is a minor danger or “no real threat,” according to the first Quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll.

But European and Asian investors hold the opposite view:

In Europe and Asia, Bloomberg users are “more concerned about their governments taking too little action,” [pollster Ann Selzer] said. “In the U.S., the common response is fear government will take too much action.”

It just goes to show that Europeans and Asians learned nothing from the 20th century.

All hail Belchatow…

July 24, 2009

Below is a photo of Poland’s Belchatow power plant, the largest single carbon dioxide emitter in Europe — about 31 million metric tons annually.

Belchatow is driving European greens nuts as it plans to increase its generating capacity by 20% next year — even though this means buying more emission allowances. Belchatow also signals the failure of the European emissions trading scheme, the British green group Sandbag told ClimateWire.

So for being the largest emitter of life-giving CO2 in Europe and simultaneously helping to sabotage the Kyoto Protocol, let’s take a moment to venerate the aptly named Belchatow.

Poland's Belchatow power plant: Drives greens nuts

Poland's Belchatow power plant: Drives greens nuts

Tar sands emissions on par with U.S. crude oil

July 24, 2009

“Two independent studies have found direct emissions from producing, transporting and refining oil sands crude are in the same range as those of the other crudes refined in the United States,” reports the Alberta Energy Research Institute.

These are important studies as the greens are moving to block the import of oil produced from Canadian tar sands. The 2007 energy bill, for example, prohibited the U.S. government from purchasing oil from sources (read “Canadian tar sands”) where the greenhouse gas emissions are greater on a lifecycle basis.

Carbon capture legal/regulatory morass

July 24, 2009

Check out these new policy briefs from Carnegie-Mellon University that discuss the legal and regulatory hurdles ahead for carbon capture and storage.

California’s expensive carbon tax delayed

July 24, 2009

California regulators postponed a final vote on implementing a statewide carbon fee because of litigation fears from taxing imported electricity, according to ClimateWire. The measure would tax electricity imported from the coal-fired power plants located just over California’s eastern border.

Regardless of the imported electricity issue, ClimateWire reports that the new fee would cost a California cement plant about $200,000 per year and an oil refinery about $1.3 million per year.