Cornering the market
1st June, 2008
Do the peaks and troughs of the financial markets really hold the key to solving our environmental troubles? Faisal Islam investigates
Forget the eco warriors, ignore the oil majors and park Al Gore’s hybrid well away. It’s actually the masters of the financial universe that are, we’re told, going to save the world from the perils of climate change, while carrying on doing what they do best: making millions, and in some cases billions.
Welcome to the Carbon Market, aka ‘emissions trading’, where greed can never have been so green. Because ‘almost everything has a carbon footprint’, the protagonists think that carbon could one day become the most traded commodity in the globe. Half the current trading comes through London and the City of London is emerging as the world hub for carbon capitalism.
Kingston-upon-Thames is an unlikely hub for anything, but nestled in the greenery beside the river Thames lies a futuristic office block designed to accommodate a small army of planet-saving, carbon dioxide-sapping capitalists. Arthur Tait is in charge here, and his ambition is clear: to become the number one trader of carbon in the world.
Can ambition such as this – can the profit motive itself - really be the planetary saviour?
‘Effectively, yes,’ says Tait. ‘I think...
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