We’re Screwed


This was the headline from the fake edition of the New York Post, handed out by the clever group called “The Yes Men” who are also responsible for the “Survivaball” craze, sweeping America and other satiric videos about climate change.


The fake edition of the New York Post included Onion-like stories including one on “Crap and Trade”:

Cap and trade. It sounds like a kind of street hustle. And in its way it is. But the street is Wall Street and the hustle is designed to collect a lot more than nickels and dimes from gullible passersby.

Cap-and-trade sets limits for a company’s carbon emissions. If it does not reach its limits a company can sell its spare capacity to other companies that have exceeded theirs. In other words, it creates a market in greenhouse gases.

Cap and trade is a highly profitable arrangement for large corporations. That’s why companies like  Shell, BP and Dupont are so keen on it. And that’s why the pressure on Congress to make it a central part of The American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka Waxman-Markey) is so intense.

The next market bubble...filled with CO2? (graphic source: Washington Post)

You might think that with  the recent high-tech, housing and financial bubbles, the last thing we need is another arena in which speculators can make off like Bernie Madoff.  If so, you are not alone. Many are coming to doubt the wisdom of the cap and trade system. Maggie  Zhou of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities  is one of them: “The lack of transparency coupled with the extreme requirements for oversight of any cap-and-trade system makes it highly vulnerable to the same manipulations that lead to the recent market crash,” she says.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *