Tip-toeing around carbon footprints

Beginning today and running for two weeks are the international climate change talks outside Paris.

More than 150 countries will be participating in the discussions with the most prominent talks centering on financing of newer technologies for developing countries.

With cost estimates of $100 billion a year by 2020, the large industrial countries will be looking for a financing scheme to move it forward.

This is where carbon credits come in. A fictitious financial instrument where a reduction of a ton of carbon dioxide is traded like a share of stock.

The scheme works like this:

An US manufacturing company shuts down a plant here, which produced 200 tons of CO2 per year and gets a credit for it. It’s an asset. The company can now sell those credits — 200 tons of CO2 — to a company that is producing 600 tons of CO2, thereby reducing company B’s carbon footprint by 200 tons.

And who makes out on the deal? Well environmentalists would say everyone. But when you follow the money, Wall Street firms like Cantor Fitzgerald and others, who broker the credits make out the best, with this carbon copy scheme.

The end result will be another trillion dollars of wealth transfers from the US to third-world countries with banks and brokerages taking a big slice in fees and services. The carbon reductions will pale in comparison to the monetary carnage to industrialized countries citizens.

But in the end the US middle class will be poorer still as better paying jobs move off shore, while politiciansĀ  tip-toe around the carbon footprint question.

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