Monthly Archives: April 2007

Financial Times Uncovers Widespread Carbon Trading Fraud

The Financial Times, in a series of articles published today, probes the workings of the carbon trading business, and uncovers widespread fraud: buyers paying for reductions that don’t occur, organizations extracting large carbon reduction payments for programs they were going to implement regardless, clueless or complicit brokers, offset programs that are shams. We have been […]

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FT Editorial in Favor of Carbon Taxes

Count on the Financial Times to make a clear, compelling argument. From its editorial “CO2 needs a price but taxes are the best way to set it:“ The Kyoto protocol to fight climate change expires in 2012. The shape of a successor treaty is still in doubt, but one aspect seems certain: carbon trading will […]

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Various Updates on the Weakening Housing and Mortgage Markets

Yesterday, there was widespread commentary on the 8.4% fall in existing home sales in March. Some other factoids have gone comparatively underreported. From Nouriel Roubini’s RGE Monitor: [T]he Case-Shiller home price indices for February showing continued fall in home prices. The 10-city index fell 1.5% y-o-y; this is the lowest level since October 1993. The […]

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EU Really Losing Patience With Microsoft

Microsoft’s bad behavior may finally catch up with it. The EU is now threatening new sorts of punishment for Microsoft’s intransigence and bad faith dealings in what in the US would be called the remedy phase of its antitrust case. To recap the story: in December 2004, Microsoft lost its final appeal on an EU […]

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"Climate clash threatens EU-US summit"

The Financial Times has managed to be too polite. A more accurate title for this story would be “United States Again Refuses to Commit to Anything Regarding Global Warming.” Now this continuation of the US head-in-the-sand posture might be fine if the Administration hadn’t raised expectations by agreeing to a climate change summit. So its […]

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Critical Chinese Role in Determining Clean Fuel Technology

It seems China is becoming the pivotal player on many fronts. Apologies for being a day late on this story, but we could not access it on the Financial Times website and had to have the text e-mailed. As we have noted before, the proliferation of fuel technologies is slowing widespread adoption of cleaner cars. […]

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More Signs That Housing Slump is Affecting the Economy

Both Bloomberg and the Financial Times have prominent stories on the truly terrible existing home sales results for March. The National Association of Realtors announced that sales fell 8.4% in March, following a 3.7% rise in February. Price declines also worsened in 20 major cities. Some of the fall can be attributed to crappy weather, […]

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Did Derivatives Cause the Real Estate Bubble?

Felix Salmon thinks so: Sitting on the property panel with Bob Toll was Steven Green, of Greenstreet Partners. He had a very good explanation for the run-up in US property values in recent years: financial derivatives. “People always told you that there was no liquidity in real estate,” said Green. “And now the financial derivatives […]

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Brad DeLong Takes on Alan Reynolds on Income Inequalty

Alan Reynolds has become income inequality’s analogue to a global warming denier. Even after Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and President Bush have acknowledged that income disparity has increased, Reynolds is still fighting a rearguard action. He wrote a series of articles, starting with a Wall Street Journal comment last December, arguing against the widely-cited finding […]

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Risk Management Guru Warns About Brave New World of Finance

It’s one thing when people who have little to no experience in the financial markets worry about the risks posed by derivatives and other innovative financial products. It’s quite another when a concerned individual also happens to have been deeply involved in risk management at major Wall Street firms. The financial markets insider is Richard […]

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Real Estate Appraisers Pressured to Give Higher Valuations

Another sign of the times: appraisers are routinely prodded to sign off on a higher price than they are inclined to, but arm-twisting or bribery by the seller is becoming pervasive. National Appraisal Survey found that 90% of 1200 participants felt pressured to change their reports, up from 55% in 2003. In addition, there is […]

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Trading Volume vs. Short Interest

Barry Ritholtz in “Watching Trading Volume Fade Out” points out that the March stock market rally, while producing impressive gains, has done so on falling trading volumes. This is an important technical indicator. The run up to the 1987 crash featured record highs on decreasing volumes. Mind you, we aren’t saying there will be a […]

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