Plenty—Carbon Rush

A trillion-dollar market could be created as early as 2009 if the US decides to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. While consultants and financiers scramble to stake their claim in the carbon rush, the question that remains is: Will the environment emerge as the winner?

On a February evening in the Butterfly Lounge overlooking San Francisco Bay, the jackets and ties and nametags finally came off. Attendees of the Carbon Forum America conference were sharing a nightcap and talking frankly about who will profit in the United States due to climate change. Would it be the banks, the traders, the greenhouse gas–emitting industries, or the public? A utility company employee who had already tossed back a few leaned heavily on a table, lamenting the problems with American capitalism. A CFO seeking funding for his solar venture called the carbon economy a “bunch of hot air.” And standing in small groups, as servers offered up hors d’oeuvres and glasses of wine, financiers projected the size of a possible US carbon market. With its potential to reach $1 trillion by 2020, it seems everyone wants a cut. Read more…

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