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Carbon Trading Halted After EU Exchange Is Hacked

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the can-we-have-a-mulligan dept.

Earth 228

chicksdaddy writes "The European Commission (EC) suspended trading in carbon credits on Wednesday after unknown hackers compromised the accounts of Czech traders and siphoned off around $38 million, Threatpost reports. EU countries including Estonia, Austria, The Czech Republic, Poland and France began closing their carbon trading registries yesterday after learning that carbon allowances had been siphoned from the account of the Czech based register. A notice posted on the Web site of the Czech based registry said that it was 'not accessible for technical reasons' on Thursday and the EC issued an order to cease spot trading until January 26 so that it can sort out what appears to be chronic security lapses within the system."

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Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN with? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942488)

I always assumed this whole silly emissions trading business was just one big scam already.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1, Interesting)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942532)

This scam is just the tip of the (melting) iceberg. Huge amounts of money have been scammed for hot air. If only we could make James Hansen personally liable...

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943176)

Yeah...it is all a big crock.

I'm surprised people/companies were actually seriously putting any type of serious money into this crap.

Are there some countries that are actually mandating carbon credits, etc? I mean, if not by law, why would anyone take part in this scam, unless they were on the money making side?

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942660)

Yes, it is. The news here is that someone scammed the scammers. That's the 21st century Robin Hood for you (and definitely better than that movie).

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (0)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942684)

You should read more about the subject, and then you'd realise it isn't.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (2, Funny)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942884)

Apparently you and I have completely different mechanisms for drawing conclusions.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942984)

Apparently you and I have completely different mechanisms for drawing conclusions.

Let me guess, one of you starts from basic propositions and works logically towards conclusions, the other one draws conclusions from his gut reaction and reasons backwards to find propositions that support the foregone conclusion. Yeah. That's it.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (3, Funny)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943032)

Congratulations! You've won $38MM in carbon credits!

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (3, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943110)

Excellent! Tacos al carbon for everybody!

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942928)

You should read more about the subject, and then you'd realise it isn't.

You mean paying another group to reduce pollution so you can pollute isn't a scam? It's a shell game whose goal isn't to improve things just to maintain the status quo. It's a pointless exercise. Offer companies tax credits to reduce emissions and fine them for exceeding but letting them pay to pollute is a joke.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943354)

We did just that with SOx emissions and it worked. Mind you they also reduced the total allowable each year. Also the only people who could sell credits were those who were reducing their own emissions compared to past years.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943436)

We did just that with SOx emissions and it worked.

The difference is that SOx is an actual poison and CO2 is the natural product of all animal life on the planet and is needed by the plant life. (With the exception of those few sulfur eaters down at the bottom of the ocean near the hydrothermal vents.) Other than that small difference, there is no difference at all between SOx and COx emissions.

I wonder if the guys who stole the credits are thinking they can sell them on the black market to europeans who want to have a backyard cookout? Or did they steal them to cover for the CO2 emissions from their weekend pot smoking binge?

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943716)

Yes, because CO2 in the atmosphere has absolutely not drawback whatsoever, regardless of its concentration. Newsflash: everything and nothing is poisonous, once you disregard quantities and way of administration. That's what matters. Any regulation of any activity or product takes into account quantity and distribution.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (5, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943554)

You mean paying another group to reduce pollution so you can pollute isn't a scam? It's a shell game whose goal isn't to improve things just to maintain the status quo. It's a pointless exercise. Offer companies tax credits to reduce emissions and fine them for exceeding but letting them pay to pollute is a joke.

I have a headache and I'm quite tired, so feel free to correct me if any of my understanding of the subject is wrong here.

.

.

As I understand it, the basic concept is thus (shown via a hypothetical example):

1) The nation of Countrystan decides that there will be no more than 1,000 tons of carbon exhausted per year, by law, from certain industries.

2) Each business within the industry is allocated a certain number of "carbon credits" that effectively cap how much bad stuff they can spew into the air.

3) Since the total number of credits is a fixed number, any business that doesn't want to be hit with major fines will try to stay under their credits.

4) Businesses that are way below their credits can sell other businesses their credits. Businesses that may exceed their cap can purchase credits from other businesses, but the total number of credits (and thus the total amount of pollution) out there doesn't increase in any way.

5) Due to 4, there are economic incentives to reduce carbon output. Heavy polluters would likely need to buy extra credits, thereby incurring a cost that would offset any financial benefits of lackadaisical pollution control. Light (or non) polluters would (rather than a cost) receive a gain in revenue by selling their allotted credits to businesses that can't keep pace. Therefore, businesses stand to lose money if they pollute and gain money if they cut back on pollution, thereby providing the best kind of incentive (economic) for businesses to get their pollution under control.

6) Eventually, more businesses would have a surplus of credits that no one needs to buy. At this point, I imagine the total number of credits in circulation could be reduced.

.

.

So, this is how I roughly understand the whole carbon credits thing is supposed to work. Am I right here? And does the real-world application work like this model, or is it rife with corruption, bureaucracy, and an inability to accomplish its stated goals like every other government project? Have their been any studies on the effectiveness of such a system?

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (0)

vasanth (908280) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943618)

let me guess, you have never been to any sort of economics class ever.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942930)

You should read more about the subject, and then you'd realise it isn't.

What, pray tell, should we be reading?

In theory, carbon trading is a good idea. But the way it is actually implemented in Europe, and the way it is likely to be implement in the USA, are scams. The credits should be auctioned, not handed out to politically connected corporations. The credits should be scarce enough so they actually mean something.

But it would be much simpler and effective to just have a carbon tax, paid at the point of extraction or import.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943512)

But it would be much simpler and effective to just have a carbon tax, paid at the point of extraction or import.

"Good morning, Mrs. ShanghiaBill, congratulations on your new baby. What's his name? By the way, we caclulate that he will produce X tons of CO2 during his lifetime, so since you are the 'point of extraction' for him, we are taxing you $45,000 to cover his CO2 emissions. And another $340,543 to cover his uric acid production that is going to pollute the local water system. Net 30, 5% penalty for late payments. Thanks so much."

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943702)

Urea is a key component in clean diesel engines. If we're going to this level, I'm pretty sure that the output of urea is going to cover his CO2 production.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (4, Insightful)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942980)

The entire cap and trade scheme is wrong. Companies should not be permitted to purchase "credits" from companies that are in compliance.

Those companies that are in compliance are following the law, not doing anything special.

Those companies who continue to exceed carbon emission standards should be fined progressively to the point that they achieve zero profit until they rectify the problem.

You either follow the law or you don't.

Cap and Trade is a farce. Perhaps I can purchase some "Non-meth dealer credits" and then sell meth without consequence.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943154)

Companies should not be permitted to purchase "credits" from companies that are in compliance.

"Compliance" is whether or not you are producing more carbon dioxide than allowed by the number of credits you hold. If a company pollutes more, but purchases the appropriate amount of credits, then they are in compliance, are following the law, etc. Sounds to me like you don't understand the point of cap and trade. They are an economically sound way to reduce overall pollution amounts, in other words, they address directly what pollution regulation tries to do indirectly. That is, cap net pollution from the entire system rather than capping individually pollution from each source.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943242)

Twisting grammar to fit the scheme doesn't make it any more sound.

There is a standard to be met. You meet it or pay the consequences. Anything else is lawyerly gibberish.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943494)

I agree, does that mean that you concede that you haven't the foggiest what you're talking about? The way it works is that the total amount of emissions produced is the important thing. Whether Company A and Company B each cut half of that isn't any different than if Company A cuts 90% and Company B cuts the remainder. In both cases the target was met.

Now, there are issues with the way it's being handled at present, but if you're saying that there's something fundamentally wrong in letting companies buy indulgences in exchange for somebody else making the cuts, you're full of it.

Under that scheme they would be meeting it or paying the consequences. Additionally companies that more than meet the target get a little something for the pocket, fueling investigation into how to more efficiently hit the targets.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943658)

Twisting grammar to fit the scheme doesn't make it any more sound.

No grammar or semantics were twisted in the making of my post. You were claiming things that weren't true. I merely corrected your mistakes.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943496)

I agree. We can be most "green" when Western Civilization gets rid of our industry and focus on pure R&D and sell IP. Oh wait... Oh well, I'm sure China is better at cleaning up their industry than we are. Har har har!!!

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

vasanth (908280) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943504)

It really does not matter who you give these credits, it will work as long as there is not an oversupply of them... Let’s say my dog is given some carbon credits, and company 'A' that's polluting would be willing to pay my dog for those 10 credits as long as it is cheaper than the cost of reducing pollution... Now let’s say the cost of reducing pollution is 11$ for that company and they paid my dog 10$ to buy those credits to continue polluting... Now let’s say company B came along and their cost of reducing pollution is 13$, this company would be more than happy to pay 12$ to company A to buy those credits. Company A would now be happy to use $11 to actually implement technology to reduce emission and make a profit of 1$ through trading... Yes giving credit to the wrong people in the first place means some unworthy ppl make some money but the system as a whole will still function as long as there is not an oversupply of these credits...

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943010)

You should read more about the subject, and then you'd realise it isn't.

Indeed. It's more about economic self-mutilation. There are three warning signs: 1) Advocates for carbon trading are upset because carbon emission behavior not changed (market's goal is to ensure carbon emission costs are accounted for by carbon emitters, not to change behavior); 2) Carbon markets are poorly designed in Europe due to hard caps and the flaws have been known since early on (hard caps mean there is a sudden change from a very elastic supply of carbon credits to a very inelastic supply, instead as the supply of carbon credits increases, the marginal cost of additional credits should increase, resulting in a market with a smoothly more inelastic supply as demand increases); and 3) no economic justification for carbon markets (by this, I mean a proper cost/benefits analysis of whether carbon markets or for that matter, any carbon emission reduction strategy which shows greater harm from not implementing the strategy and which takes into account the time value of money).

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943552)

Citation badly needed.

1) The point of it is to change behavior, had the market not been flooded with credits there would have been behavior change, just on a net basis not for every company.

3) You're full of it if you're suggesting that there isn't any economic justification for it. The justification for it is that the companies that can hit lower targets the most efficiently get a little something for their trouble, encouraging research and for companies to hit more stringent targets. The alternative is setting tough limits on everybody whether or not it's realistic.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943630)

The point of it is to change behavior,

No need for citation here when you grant the point.

3) You're full of it if you're suggesting that there isn't any economic justification for it. The justification for it is that the companies that can hit lower targets the most efficiently get a little something for their trouble, encouraging research and for companies to hit more stringent targets. The alternative is setting tough limits on everybody whether or not it's realistic.

Again, I note that no economic justification has been given for carbon dioxide emission reduction. Another alternative is no restrictions on carbon dioxide emission limits.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (0)

larppaxyz (1333319) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943336)

Funny thing is, you can actually resell "carbon credits" for profit. And when "carbon credits" came too expensive, factories started moving to China, Africa and other places where they surely take good care of nature. All we got from that is more unemployment and higher prices for EVERYTHING (=energy). I currently pay 1.6 euros/litre when i buy normal gasoline to my car. My electric bill is 15% more this year. Heat coming to my house, is 10-15% more this year.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943488)

You should read more about the subject, and then you'd realise it isn't.

Please go to this site [cheatneutral.com] and let me know how your spouse feels about it.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942808)

Yes it is a scam. The very idea of "paying for the right to pollute" is simply bad and wrong. What they should be paying for is the cost of cleaning up and compensating everyone who has been damaged by their pollution. (Yes, I am aware of standard arguments such as "resulting in higher unemployment" and "passing the cost onto you, the customer" and all that crap. That's why markets where supply and demand do not apply require regulation. Such markets include utilities, medical/healthcare and any other needed service industry that has limitless demand.)

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942990)

Assumption
        You are German
        It does not matters CO2 is emitted in Spain or Germany – just that it is emitted.
        You want to reduce CO2

Do you
        Tear down you coal plants? [there paid for]
Tear down your nuclear plants? [also paid for]
Build new gas plants?
Build new wind turbines?
Install residential solar cells? [heavily subsidized in a cloudy nation]
Buy a Toyota Prius?
Install more insulation in homes?

The rational answer is to invest heavily in solar cells. Sure, they will never pay back their investment [either in dollars or carbon]. But they have great credentials and really sweet state subsidies.

Conversely, with a real carbon market, one could come to a rational decision – greatest impact for the least effort. Of course giving free carbon credits to heavy emitters who have a lot of political influence does distort the market – so people come to the wrong conclusion. Sigh.

We can either focus on making the big bad rich people pay or we can focus on solving the problem. I chose the later.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943372)

Actually the solar panels do pay back their investment just fine. Takes about 8-10 years. Stop with the FUD already.

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943044)

Yes it is a scam. The very idea of "paying for the right to pollute" is simply bad and wrong.

what do think an EPA permit is? It is actually a permit to emit pollution to the current standards. It is not a permit that stops you from polluting.

Everything Al Gore does is for the planet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942970)

How dare you cast aspersions on carbon trading! It's going to save the planet!

And if Al Gore makes a few hundred million dollars off it, who cares! He earned it!

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943066)

Because it was a government program, because it seems like a political cop out rather than dealing with the problem, because it focused on making money change hands between buisiness people rather than directly reducing carbon emissions, and / or because you're one of those people who trust oil and gas lobbyists rather than scientists?

I mean, I always assume that if I have doubts on something, I should explain myself. I guess the mods today like baseless skepticism though, so I'll pander to that:

For every story on slashdot, my response is "Yeah right, this is fucking BULLSHIT!"

Re:Wait, carbon trading wasn't a scam to BEGIN wit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943460)

Headline: "Millions Stolen From Ecomasturbators"

The what? (-1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942526)

What are carbon credits?
Maybe I should invest, if it's a new high-growth industry.

Re:The what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942644)

What are carbon credits?

Details here [storyofstuff.com] .

Re:The what? (3, Insightful)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942752)

They're guilt removers. People can buy carbon credits to offset their overuse of natural resources and pollution of the air (like Al Gore). This makes them a better person overall, and allows them to continue to tell other people they should all be riding bicycles while they fly around in private jets (like Al Gore).

Or something like that.

Re:The what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943054)

We've reinvented papal indulgences. Where's Martin Luther?

Re:The what? (2)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943508)

Except for one major difference. Carbon credits are for something that we can actually measure. We have the capability of determining how much carbon one particular activity expels and how much another locks up.

Now whether or not carbon credits are an accurate reflection of how much carbon is locked up vs expelled, however, is a whole other issue.

Re:The what? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943126)

Why do people always have to bring up Al Gore? He may or may not be a hypocrite. Either way, it matters very little compared to climate change.

If your doctor tells you that you have lung cancer and need surgery, only an idiot would focus on the fact that your doctor smokes and is a hypocrite, and use that as an excuse to keep smoking and not get the scary and painful surgery.

Re:The what? (-1, Flamebait)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943210)

This isn't about climate change (his favorite term was global warming for a while), this is about carbon credits.

Plus your analogy is a bit incorrect.

If your doctor tells you that you have lung cancer and need surgery, and not only do some other doctors disagree as to the cause or that you actually have cancer at all, but your doctor is heavily invested in the companies that make the surgical equipment and rehab facilities , only an idiot would focus on the fact that your doctor smokes and is a hypocrite, and use that as an excuse to keep smoking and not get the scary and painful surgery.

See what happened there?

BTW in another note, there's actually no solid proof that smoking causes cancer. Rather, there are some very educated guesses by fully qualified physicians. Does that mean smoking doesn't cause cancer? No. It does mean that it's appropriate to be a little bit skeptical though.

Re:The what? (2)

BergZ (1680594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943426)

The problem with your analogy is that the other doctors, who disagree with the diagnosis, are paid spokesmen of the tobacco industry.

Re:The what? (0)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943600)

*sigh*

That's not true (at least of all of them). That phrase is used by people who don't do any research into the matter.

And show me tests that actually prove smoking causes cancer. Show me where lab animals became cancerous by nicotine, tar, or even filaments from filters.

Some doctors actually believe without actual proof that it's only conjecture.

Re:The what? (-1, Troll)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943310)

No, that would be understanding that you can actually fix the problem. This would be the same as having cancer and being told the eating chicken is what caused it and if you eat only cabbage it will go way.

This is a scam started by Al Gore and others that have no real clue what the truth is but have a God complex believing they have all of the answers and managing to convince others the same. Where I come from we call this "a scam" designed to separate fools from their money.

Re:The what? (1, Interesting)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943734)

If your doctor tells you that you have lung cancer and need surgery, only an idiot would focus on the fact that your doctor smokes and is a hypocrite, and use that as an excuse to keep smoking and not get the scary and painful surgery.

Wrong analogy. The analogy is that the doctor tells you not to smoke (in a condescending and moralizing way) so you don't get lung cancer, and then goes outside and smokes.

Re:The what? (4, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943156)

Entirely different; that's a carbon offset.

Carbon credits are part of cap-and-trade, in which CO2-producing industrial concerns have their CO2 production limited by law. Entities that are below their limit can essentially sell the difference between their limit and their actual CO2 emissions to other entities (who presumably would otherwise be above their limit).

If CO2 emissions were simply capped by law, industrial concerns would all have to make CO2 emissions reductions regardless of the cost-effectiveness of doing so. Adding the "and trade" component means that it becomes economically advantageous to make reductions wherever it is the most cost-effective. Since CO2 in the atmosphere doesn't care where it comes from, this means that CO2 emissions are reduced more for lower cost than with a cap-only system.

Re:The what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943232)

I've been selling my extra credits to all the animal life on the planet!
LOL SUCKAS!

Re:The what? (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943284)

They're essentially the same thing, though one is for Sheryl Crow while the other is for DuPont.

Re:The what? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943598)

The only way in which they are related is that both deal with carbon dioxide emissions.

Re:The what? (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943726)

Not really.

They both allow for those who overuse to take measures to make up for it. That means they both really allow people to ignore the fact that they're being destructive.

The differences are:

  • One is voluntary while the other is forced by law.
  • One is feelgood stuff while the other means the companies will pass on the additional costs to their customers.

Re:The what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943186)

Actually, this is for companies, not for individuals. It doesn't have anything to do with the extra "offset your CO2 footprint" fee that you can choose to pay when flying.

Instead, the idea is as follows: there is a certain maximum of CO2 that the industry - the *entire* industry - is allowed to produce. Each company is allocated a certain share; those that do not meet their allowance can sell off the remaining credit, and those that exceed their allowance will have to buy credit on the market. In other words, the idea is that companies who produce less CO2 will make extra money, while those that produce more will have to pay for it.

It does have its problems in practice, but it's an intriguing idea nonetheless: applying market principles to ecological concerns and letting the free market sort things out rather than creating a complicated bureaucracy with a system of fines and cashbacks.

None of this has anything to do with people using bicycles, or flying. But hey, I figure it's as good an opportunity to bash Al Gore as any.

Re:The what? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943420)

If you lower the total each year it could actually even work.

Re:The what? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943582)

The thing is, if the credit is spent on cleanup, and removes as much as it permits one to emit, that's actually just fine, and will provide exactly the right framework to let the free markets I'm sure you love find the most efficient solutions to carbon emissions.

Re:The what? (0)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943708)

I'm sure you love

WTF is that supposed to mean Captain Assumption?

You realize, of course, that injecting your own supposition discredits anything (potentially of value) you might have said, right?

Re:The what? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943604)

Believe me, I have plenty that I can criticize Al Gore for, but the notion that people in positions of great power are hypocrites if they don't ride the bus to work is ridiculous. The CEO of a company's time is probably literally worth $1Million/hour. Do we want him spending half is day rubbing shoulders with the public because of the negligible carbon footprint difference from his plane ride?

I thought the criticism of all the auto industry CEOs for not DRIVING to their Congressional hearing was equally without merit.

Re:The what? (1, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942996)

It is an idea thought up by those paragons of business ethics at Enron. Ok, maybe they didn't think up the idea, but they were early promoters of the idea. Enron quickly saw the promise in such a scheme. It fit right in with their business model.

No, this can't stand.... (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943514)

Enron didn't CREATE this market not did they invent the business model.

The GOVERNMENT created the business model. Enron just happened to be ONE of the companies that participated in that business model. You can hate Enron for all the illegal stuff they did (that's fair) but you hating them because they "thought up the business" or because it's their "business model" is just....well....naive.

I get tired of these "tail wagging the dog" statements like you just made. No private company, even Enron, can force a business model. Business models are created, in part, because of the very regulations the government prescribes. Regulation is tough to get right but one thing you can be sure of: all businesses, Enron or otherwise, will react to new regulations and will do anything they can within the law to profit from the same regulations.

You see, the regs cut both ways. That's the part the /. always seems to miss. Your previous post is a good example of that.

In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942572)

In other news, approved "ThreatPost" submissions to Slashdot *WAY THE FUK UP*

More proof that carbon pollution costs the economy (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942576)

Yet more proof that pollution has a VALUE and is worth MONEY.

Hope they hang the crooks inside a smokestack.

Re:More proof that carbon pollution costs the econ (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942742)

"Carbon pollution" is about as valid a phrase as "pigeon antennae."

The thing that costs the economy is people fabricating global catastrophes that aren't there, and legislating "solutions" to false problems in order to steal.

Re:More proof that carbon pollution costs the econ (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942904)

Or in order to promote investment in the green energy companies they're invested in [nytimes.com] .

Re:More proof that carbon pollution costs the econ (0)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943224)

I'm sure you also think autism is caused by vaccines.

Fact: man-made carbon pollution is exacerbating the global weather cycles to an alarming degree.

Just ask anyone in Australia.

Re:More proof that carbon pollution costs the econ (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943356)

Yet more proof that pollution has a VALUE and is worth MONEY.

Maybe we should switch our currency to the carbon standard, then.

The question I have is (1, Funny)

scosco62 (864264) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942578)

How much Carbon Credits do I get for the consumption of Jolt and Baconnaise sammichs? Is it prorated if I code in Perl?

Re:The question I have is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942792)

Since that would produce carbon (both gaseous and solid emissions) I'd say you need to buy some credits to stay neutral...

It wasn't me (5, Funny)

Huzzah! (1548443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942594)

I don't take Czechs.

Re:It wasn't me (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942826)

I don't take Czechs.

Gah, phew, that one stunk! Somebody open a window!

Whoever modded you 'Troll' is obviously missing his/her punny bone...

Oblig (1)

Huzzah! (1548443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943746)

In Soviet Russia, Czechs don't take you!

Or something.

I'll stop now.

Re:It wasn't me (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942976)

Fank roo. I now firty eight birrion dorrar richer. Ruv - Kim J. I.

Re:It wasn't me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943178)

Is that you, Watson?

How do you even liquidate (3, Interesting)

OnceWas (187243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942712)

How does one liquidate siphoned carbon credits? Do they hold a black market value?

Re:How do you even liquidate (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942822)

they are bought and sold with REAL MONEY. there are billions of euros changing hands because of this nonsense. What a beautiful scam, declare a gas absolutely essential to life on the earth a poisonous taxable thing. Add some alarm over weather events of the past few years: "climate change will cause more powerful hurricanes! (after one year of strong hurricanes). "climate change will cause drought" (after perfectly predictable cyclical drought happened for a couple years, same as seven decades ago) At the moment it's "climate change is causing floods and hard winters!" (again, same shit different century). Add even more alarm with "sea levels are rising and island nations are going underwater". Of course, the sea has been rising since the last ice age and those lands which were essentially at sea level anyway within less than ten cm tolerance were doomed anyway. Anti-scientific rubbish to line the pockets of certain cartels.

Re:How do you even liquidate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34943024)

That's actually not the scam. The scam part is the fact that big polluting companies pay other companies that (theoretically) don't pollute and/or create systems that remove pollution from the environment; basically, "I pay you to remove my pollution from the atmosphere" or "I pay you so you can keep not polluting while I keep sending the nasty stuff to the atmosphere". This is done without any type of real guarantees; the people who buy carbon credits simply believe the system, forgetting that on the other side of the system there are people, and people from very corrupt places. For example, there is a timber in Rondônia, Brazil (note: I'm Brazilian) who gets money from this scheme. Their only business is destroying the Amazon forest and creating a desert on its place. How can people say this is right?

Re:How do you even liquidate (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943114)

The even bigger scam is the middleman who gets all the commissions.

Re:How do you even liquidate (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943448)

I KNEW I should have stayed a finance major. I thought the money would be in programming...damn.

Re:How do you even liquidate (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943540)

Well all you need to do is write a program that siphons off the half cents from each transaction and deposits that amount in a foreign bank account...

Re:How do you even liquidate (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943268)

If you are going to remove CO2 from the atmosphere you must balance that by killing off lots of plant life. Otherwise we would not have enough CO2. Then the world would freeze over and we would all be DOOMED! We must kill trees at an even faster rate now.

Re:How do you even liquidate (3, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943272)

What a beautiful scam, declare a gas absolutely essential to life on the earth a poisonous taxable thing.

A few points:
* CO2 is, in fact, poisonous (well, toxic).
* CO2 emissions restrictions have nothing to do with whether CO2 is poisonous, since obviously it's not poisonous at atmospheric concentrations.
* "Essential to life" and "poisonous" (toxic) are not mutually exclusive. Besides carbon dioxide, there's oxygen and quite a few metals, to say nothing of fancier things like fat-soluble vitamins.
* "Essential to life" and "problematic in sufficiently large quantities" aren't mutually exclusive, either. Water comes to mind.

Re:How do you even liquidate (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943548)

they are bought and sold with REAL MONEY.

Between CO2 emissions and the US dollar, I know which one I'd bet will be around longer.

- RG>

Re:How do you even liquidate (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943612)

Precisely how is this different than when the government leases out spectrum, land or the public right of way? Those are all things which are rivalrous in nature and without the government or some other body stepping in you end up with the tragedy of the commons situation.

I realize that it's popular amongst libertarians to cry bloody murder whenever the government does something, but give me a break. Unless you can propose a way of your carbon emissions not affecting everybody else, you kind of have to just accept that the climate research is very clear that CO2 is a problem in the concentrations we're pumping into it.

Awww, the widdle carbon twaders faw down go boom (1, Funny)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942714)

A sense of schadenfreude without the usual guilt is giving a bounce to my steps. Cap-and-traders got their noses bloodied, tra-la-la-la-la!

Not hackers Just profiteers (1)

Anti Cheat (1749344) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942748)

With the profit motive aspect behind this whole 3rd party carbon credit investi-scam in the first place. I wouldn't call these guys hackers. They just beat the other big scam artists... err.. carbon traders to the profit punch, so to speak. This scam got scammed.
At 38+ million? I hope none of that was Russian mafia money.

Go Ahead, Mod This Comment Down (AGAIN) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942760)

One word: Microsoft [microsoft.com] .

Yours In Anchorage,
Kilgore T., C.I.O.

i'm confused (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942764)

how do they deliver $38 million worth of coal ash to the hackers? i hope the hackers live near a rail line so they can take delivery of what they siphoned off

Isn't this kind of thing impossible to steal (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942774)

Corret me if I am wrong but:

1. They stole the 'carbon credits', not electronic cash.

2. You can't legally sell them anywhere except via the exchange.

3. The exchange tracks all legal sales.

4. Therefore, can't the government require the exchange to show all legal sales and invalidate the unapproved sales?

Isn't that the entire value of using the exchange? To track the sales of said credits?

Assuming that they have already used the exchange to sell the the fraudlenty exchanged credits, is it not a relatively easy matter to find the account that sold the stolen carbon credits and force them to buy them back?

This assumes of course that it was actually carbon credits that were stolen instead of cash stolen from un-authorized trades (in which case, the article needs to be re-written, removing the sensational crap)

Re:Isn't this kind of thing impossible to steal (3, Informative)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942964)

They may have sold the credits already. The WSJ piece [wsj.com] I submitted about this story has more details:

"It started when an anonymous caller on Tuesday morning told Czech State Police that explosives had been placed at the offices of OTE AS, a private company that manages the Czech Republic's national registry. The police evacuated the registry for five hours.

During that time, the computer network wasn't monitored, OTE officials said. Hackers stole 475,000 allowances, worth 7 million, from a company called Blackstone Global Ventures, an environmental consultancy that trades carbon credits for industrial companies.

The thieves changed account-ownership information and executed illegal trades, said Nikos Tornikidis, a portfolio manager at Blackstone Global Ventures."

My guess is that they executed the trades and siphoned the proceeds off to a bank account somewhere.

Re:Isn't this kind of thing impossible to steal (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943312)

So basically it was the last option - the thieves engaged in unauthorized trades then stole the resulting CASH.

But some idiot decided that it would be a bigger news story if they lied and claimed they stole the carbon credits.

Cancel the illegal trades, then go through all the normal procedures that you deal with when someone convinces a financial organization to give out cash to people that were not authorized to receive it.

That's not really important compared to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34942856)

Some bastard stole my "slashdot first post" credit. :-(

If there's money to be made... (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942894)

If there's money to be made, assume there will be people who don't want to actually do the work to get the money... and that they'll circumvent rules, regulations, laws, treaties, barriers (physical and digital) to get to that money. Moreover, it's safe to assume that if there's a consistent, reliable flow of money, that these dishonest or disingenuous people will plant themselves or others in the system to make the siphoning easier.

Isn't this the point? (1, Insightful)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942926)

"siphoned off around $38 million..."
Isn't this the whole point? To just siphon off money for nothing?

So I own a coal power plant. I trade some cash for CREDITS from some cleaner nation instead of cleaning up my plant.
What are these nations giving in exchange for the cash? A promise to not cut down a tree? A promise to NOT build a factory in their nation? How does one produce and sell credits on this market? My business doesn't produce any pollution so we should have tons of credits to sell.

In three...two...one... (0)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942948)

So...any bets on how long before they start trying to blame 'deniers' for this cock-up?

"They hate us, it's all a big conspiracy, so it must have been them!!"

I'm just glad to see the whole wasteful process slowed to a crawl, even for a little while...

Theory colliding with reality (2)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34942968)

While carbon credits may sound like a good idea in theory, I had assumed from the start that they were doomed to fail in practice. How do you verify that a company that sells credits has really reduced their own carbon footprint by the requisite amount? It just seems too easy to game the system.

I hadn't considered the possibility of cyber-criminals simply stealing the credits outright; that makes matters even worse!

Shouldn't these credits be individually traceable, so that the stolen ones can simply be voided and re-issued? If not, then someone really f**ked up the implementation of this system.

Re:Theory colliding with reality (2)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943298)

How do you verify that a company that sells credits has really reduced their own carbon footprint by the requisite amount?

Same way you determine whether or not they're within the limits in an emissions-cap system, I suppose. Probably roughly the same way they're within environmental pollution regulations.

I'm not saying it's necessarily easy, but it's a problem shared by all systems for reducing emissions.

Re:Theory colliding with reality (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943394)

Probably roughly the same way they're within environmental pollution regulations.

I'd be willing to bet that for each instance where someone gets caught flouting environmental pollution regulations, there are at least three more who are getting away with it. Seems to me the temptation to cheat the carbon trading system would be even stronger, since it is essentially "free money".

Re:Theory colliding with reality (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943584)

Probably.

$7 million, not $38 million (4, Informative)

kanto (1851816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943212)

The European Commission (EC) suspended trading in carbon credits on Wednesday after unknown hackers compromised the accounts of Czech traders and siphoned off around $38 million

According to Wall street journal [wsj.com] (original poster yuna49 [slashdot.org] ) the latest theft was $7 million and the $38 million (0.02% of the market) is the total of the permits missing in action.

All we need to know about carbon credits (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34943628)

I haven't done a lick of descent research into them, but they always sounded like a silly, ineffective idea. What a surprise to find out that there's a Wall Street trading angle on the whole thing...

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