This is timely. The Center for Public Integrity — the group behind the lobbying figures I recently summarized — has sponsored a series of “meet the lobbyists” investigative pieces, and they just ran one on the emissions trading industry.
A couple of passages jumped out at me:
> The traders are still an emerging force. “It’s a bit premature to talk about carbon markets gaining power at the moment,” says Henry Derwent, president of the [International Emissions Trading Association]. “Power remains in the hands of companies that need to reduce their emissions.”
This gets to the first point I made: the finance lobby is real and important, but still small potatoes compared to the groups who will be more directly affected by the carbon cap.
Then there’s this:
> Before lobbying the U.S. Congress, [Derwent] says, the traders have faced two major obstacles: first, challenging widely held beliefs that climate change isn’t really happening, and second, convincing lawmakers that the perilous financial industry is part of the solution.
This gets to the other point I made: at least Wall Street is an influential voice *in favor of carbon legislation*. They’re spending hard dollars trying to convince lawmakers that climate change is a problem. The second half of Derwent’s proposition, of course, is going to raise a lot of hackles in certain circles, which is too bad. Although markets should be properly regulated, carbon trading is just not the problem some people think it is.
Here’s a video that accompanied the article. I get the sense that we’re supposed to be somehow shocked or outraged by this, but really it all just seems pretty unexceptional.