I have written hundreds of articles documenting that unregulated, speculative derivatives (especially credit default swaps) are a primary cause of the economic crisis.
And I have pointed out that (1) the giant banks will make a killing on carbon trading, (2) while the leading scientist
crusading against global warming says it won’t work, and (3) there is a
very high probability of massive fraud and insider trading in the
carbon trading markets.
Now, Bloomberg notes that the carbon trading scheme will be centered around derivatives:
banks are preparing to do with carbon what they’ve done before: design
and market derivatives contracts that will help client companies hedge
their price risk over the long term. They’re also ready to sell
carbon-related financial products to outside investors.
Masters says banks must be allowed to lead the way if a mandatory
carbon-trading system is going to help save the planet at the lowest
possible cost. And derivatives related to carbon must be part of the
mix, she says. Derivatives are securities whose value is derived from
the value of an underlying commodity — in this case, CO2 and other
Who is Blythe Masters?
She is the JP Morgan employee who invented credit
default swaps, and is now heading JPM’s carbon trading efforts. As
Bloomberg notes (this and all remaining quotes are from the
above-linked Bloomberg article):
Masters, 40, oversees the New York bank’s environmental businesses as the firm’s global head of commodities…
a young London banker in the early 1990s, Masters was part of
JPMorgan’s team developing ideas for transferring risk to third
parties. She went on to manage credit risk for JPMorgan’s investment
Among the credit derivatives that grew from the bank’s early efforts was the credit-default swap.
Some in congress are fighting against carbon derivatives:
are going to be cutting up carbon futures, and we’ll be in trouble,”
says Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington state. “You
can’t stay ahead of the next tool they’re going to create.”
51, proposed in November that U.S. state governments be given the right
to ban unregulated financial products. “The derivatives market has done
so much damage to our economy and is nothing more than a
very-high-stakes casino — except that casinos have to abide by
regulations,” she wrote in a press release…
However, Congress may cave in to industry pressure to let carbon derivatives trade over-the-counter:
House cap-and-trade bill bans OTC derivatives, requiring that all
carbon trading be done on exchanges…The bankers say such a ban would
be a mistake…The banks and companies may get their way on carbon
derivatives in separate legislation now being worked out in Congress…
Financial experts are also opposed to cap and trade:
George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund operator, says money managers
would find ways to manipulate cap-and-trade markets. “The system can be
gamed,” Soros, 79, remarked at a London School of Economics seminar in
July. “That’s why financial types like me like it — because there are
Hedge fund manager Michael Masters,
founder of Masters Capital Management LLC, based in St. Croix, U.S.
Virgin Islands [and unrelated to Blythe Masters] says speculators will
end up controlling U.S. carbon prices, and their participation could
trigger the same type of boom-and-bust cycles that have buffeted other
The hedge fund manager says that banks will
attempt to inflate the carbon market by recruiting investors from hedge
funds and pension funds.
“Wall Street is going to
sell it as an investment product to people that have nothing to do with
carbon,” he says. “Then suddenly investment managers are dominating the
asset class, and nothing is related to actual supply and demand. We
have seen this movie before.”
Indeed, as I have previously pointed out, many environmentalists are opposed to cap and trade as well. For example:
Michelle Chan, a senior policy analyst in San Francisco for Friends of the Earth, isn’t convinced.
we really create a new $2 trillion market when we haven’t yet finished
the job of revamping and testing new financial regulation?” she asks.
Chan says that, given their recent history, the banks’ ability to turn
climate change into a new commodities market should be curbed…
we have just been woken up to in the credit crisis — to a jarring and
shocking degree — is what happens in the real world,” she says…
of the Earth’s Chan is working hard to prevent the banks from adding
carbon to their repertoire. She titled a March FOE report “Subprime
Carbon?” In testimony on Capitol Hill, she warned, “Wall Street won’t
just be brokering in plain carbon derivatives — they’ll get creative.”
they’ll get creative, and we have seen this movie before …an
inadequately-regulated carbon derivatives boom will destabilize the
economy and lead to another crash.