Global carbon market is a $909 billion dollar game that rewards bureaucrats and bankers


By Jo Nova

Remember this number next time someone tells you fossil fuels are stopping "climate action".

The whole trillion dollar carbon market is a vested interest. It is a fake market entirely created on government whimsy. The whole absurd point of it is supposedly to slow tornadoes or floods in 2100, and reduce beach-weather in Europe. Because who likes the beach?

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – The value of traded global markets for carbon dioxide (CO2) permits reached a record 850 billion euros ($909 billion) last year, analysts at Refinitiv said on Tuesday. Around 12.5 billion tonnes of carbon permits changed hands in the world's emissions markets – 20% less than the previous year – but the value of the markets rose by 14% as prices for permits were much higher.
In a carbon market, certain favoured groups can say they produced less carbon dioxide this year than they otherwise might have. They get to sell their anointed pieces of paper to other less favoured people who have to buy credits because the government says they must. At any point in this game, industries can get exemptions added or allowances boosted. So if the bribes or post-political-life jobs on offer are good enough, the right people can arrange to divert the river of money toward their own accounts. And the insiders can buy or sell the shares as the government policy changes. It creates a vast economy of busy work and a big pile of money.

The great thing about this political and fundraising tool (for criminals) is that almost anything can be "flexed". The potential for loopholes is infinite because this is not a free market, just the illusion of one. For starters there's no product anyone cares about at the end of the chain –there's no cargo ship of diamonds that someone will miss. Corruption can run riot, and who would know?

The carbon market is not really a carbon market at all — the largest producers of CO2 are not even in the game. The Pacific Ocean can't pay, the phytoplankton can't be taxed and the northern boreal forests will get plain away with it unless a friend of a friend happens to own a nice plot that can be rebadged as a carbon farm. So politicians are sitting on a gold mine of opportunity. Most carbon in the world doesn't count, and they get to be kingmakers to decide what does. What's an act of God? — ask the Minister.