The Beacon

Is carbon trade still a silver bullet?

Recently, journalists at both ends of the political spectrum are taking the shine off of the global carbon trade market. For the uninitiated, this market was created out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and as of last year was worth $9.4 billion in tradeable credits. It works by having companies purchase credits in order to emit carbon and the money from the sale of those credits is supposed to support clean air projects in developing countries.

On the right, the Wall Street Journal published an article on Saturday, detailing how the U.N. is growing skeptical about the environmental impact of these projects, while an article on this morning's front page profiles EcoSecurities, Ltd, a major player in the industry that is struggling because of the U.N.'s new outlook.

On the left, Australia's radical left wing newspaper, "http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/746/38583">Green Left Weekly, also writes about EcoSecurities and mentions how a project to build wind turbines in India didn't benefit local villagers with more energy, but actually hurt the villagers by placing a wind farm on traditional grazing land.

The carbon trade market is still very young and is going through some intense growing pains (i.e. EcoSecurities stock has fallen 80% from its peak). For the most part, the U.S. has left this market to Europe and Japan, but Congress is going to bring up the issue eventually, and I can only hope that our legislators are learning a thing or two from the current situation.


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