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.
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.
However, FoE fears that the area has
been hijacked by speculators on the financial markets. Sarah-Jayne
Clifton, the report's author, said: "The majority of the trade is
carried out not between polluting industries and factories covered by
carbon trading schemes, but by banks and investors who profit from
speculation on the carbon markets – packaging carbon credits into
increasingly complex financial products similar to the 'shadow finance'
around sub-prime mortgages which triggered the recent economic crash."
FoE claims that the first phase of the European emissions trading
scheme between 2005 and 2007 failed. And the second phase, from
2008-2012, is likely to fail too, it said. FoE is calling on
governments to use more reliable instruments such as carbon taxes,
which are harder to avoid and can be effective at changing people's
behaviour and reducing emissions.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change
said: "We agree that domestic action by developed countries as well as
public finance is essential to meet the challenge of climate change and
… the UK is going all-out to get an ambitious, fair and effective deal.
carbon trading can also play a role, making it far more likely that we
tackle dangerous climate change, get cost-effective emissions
reductions and get money to the poorest countries of the world."
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.