Cold feet on climate: banks slash carbon traders

Carbon traders?

City institutions are pretty savvy when it comes to securing the future of their businesses. Decades of experience have taught them which opportunities are genuine and which are fake. During the last decade, climate change departments have sprung up in many international investment banks, accountancy and law firms around the world, keen to cash in on the massive revenue streams from advising on and/or trading in carbon and climate markets.

Maybe the penny has begun to drop, since many such institutions are already starting to show signs of cold feet on climate change and are slashing employees working in such areas. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports (via Bloomberg):

Investment banks are cutting traders and analysts in climate-related businesses as a slump in shares and carbon emission permits coincides with a deadlock in international climate talks.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Managing Director for Environmental Markets Odin Knudsen left his post in New York by mutual accord after his team was shrunk, while UBS Securities LLC fired Vice Chairman Jon Anda and his Climate Policy Group co-workers, Anda and Knudsen said in interviews. Ben Lynch left his London job as an alternative-energy analyst for Commerzbank AG and it was taken over by a utilities analyst, company spokeswoman Claire Tappenden said. The departures took place since September.

The biggest banks, trying to recover from trading losses and a clampdown on investing their own money, are clipping resources from emissions-related businesses as United Nations talks have failed for years to extend Kyoto Protocol greenhouse- gas curbs beyond their expiration in 2012. The International Emissions Trading Association, the main carbon-market trade group, has seen its membership slide about 6 per cent this year.

“People are leaving the industry because they’ve been fired or because they see no prospects,” said Emmanuel Fages, head of energy research for Europe at Societe Generale SA in Paris. “That is the sad story.” (source)

“Sad story” is not exactly how I would put it. You would have thought, if the world were “rushing ahead” towards global carbon trading, the banks would be pulling out all the stops to ensure they were first in line to cream off a healthy profit. But it appears, at long last, that these institutions are coming to their senses and rapidly bailing out of an imaginary, manufactured market, mired in corruption and bogged down in fraud – and with little future, given the current global financial strife.

And once the money dries up, it’s Game Over.

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