Carbon credits: Britain’s richest man cleans up
The climatologist James Hansen opposes the cap and trade scenario being considered at Copenhagen on two grounds: one, at the real-world level it is essentially a programme for fraud and corruption, and two, it is essentially greenwash and thus serves to postpone, yet again, serious attempts at carbon reduction. Yesterday’s Sunday Times provides supporting evidence for Hansen assertion that cap and trade is a system for “paying off numerous special interests”.
Note that The Sunday Times is a Murdock paper and so may tend to play down scams when executed on a sufficiently collousal scale. Yesterday, however, it reported that “Britain’s richest man stands to benefit from a £1 billion windfall” from carbon credits given to his steel company ArcelorMittal after having “lobbied intensively in Brussels”. The paper reports that the payoff for this lobbying will be around £1 billion by 2012, but that the eventual value could be much greater. Anna Pearson, an emissions trading scheme (ETS) expert who has analyzed this case, says:
Between 2008 and 2012 ArcelorMittal stands to gain assets worth £1 billion at today’s prices for scant effort. For them, the ETS has been turned into a system for generating free subsidies.
“Scant effort” will not save us from ecological collapse.
The corporations see emissions trading as a huge opportunity to boost profits.
The present case illustrates his point. In fact, reducing emissions does not seem even to enter the equation. Officials in Brussels, reports The Sunday Times, have given ArcelorMittal the right to emit 90 million tonnes of CO annually from its EU plants from 2008 to 2012. But last year the company emitted only 68 million tonnes and this year is predicted to emit only 43 million tonnes. That’s £1 billion pounds, minus lobbying expenses, for less than nothing.
In the light of this case one can imagine why officials and politicians in Australia have been willing to go to extreme lengths to suppress Clive Spash’s paper (‘The Brave New World of Carbon Trading’) on carbon trading down under.