Climate Money is poised to rocket—creating even larger pools of vested interests. Once it starts, how could we unwind trillions of trading rights?
Say hello to the real new force in climate science—banks.
First Up. Governments Up the Ante.
In the 2008-2009 financial year, Bush threw billions on the table with financial rescues and tax credits, only to be wildly outdone by Obama.
The new funding provisions made since the financial emergency of Sept 2008 are not included in the previous table of climate funds that amounted to $79 billion (so far). It’s difficult to assign the rescue package figures into strict financial years—yet the new numbers are titanic, and step right out of the scales drawn on the past funding graphs.
The financial recovery legislation that President Bush signed1 on October 3 last year included the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 20082 which contained about $17 billion3 in tax incentives for clean energy services.
Then in February 2009, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act4 was signed into law, containing some $110 billion5 in clean energy investments in the bill. Many of these “investments” defy easy categorization. For example, research into alternative energy has value regardless of whether carbon dioxide is a problem—though arguably there is less urgency. But expenses like the $3.4 billion for carbon sequestration have no other purpose or use. They depend 100% on the assumption that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant. That’s a 100% vested interest.
What’s Bigger than Big Government—Big Banks
Even though the US government has poured in around $80 billion dollars of influence over the last 20 years, that pales in comparison with the rapidly growing force of carbon trading. According to the World Bank, turnover of carbon trading doubled from $63 billion in 2007 to $126 billion in 2008.
Not surprisingly banks are doing what banks should do: they’re following the promise of profits, and hence urging governments to adopt carbon trading.7,8 Even though banks are keen to be seen as good corporate citizens (look, there’s an environmental banker!), somehow they don’t find the idea of a non-tradable carbon tax as appealing as a trading scheme where lo-and-behold, financial middlemen can take a cut. If you are a bank who believes in the carbon crisis, taxes might “help the planet,” but they won’t help your balance sheet.
The potential involved in an entirely new fiat currency has banks and financial institutions “wholly in bed” with a scientific theory.9 And that might be good for banks...
For the rest of us, a new fiat currency in carbon gives us the chance to support a whole new layer of parasites.
The 10-Trillion-Dollar Gorilla in the Kitchen
Commissioner Bart Chilton, head of the energy and environmental markets advisory committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has predicted that within five years a carbon market would dwarf any of the markets his agency currently regulates: “I can see carbon trading being a $2 trillion market.”10 He ought to know. Ominously he adds: “The largest commodity market in the world.”
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