The last few weeks have seen those who advocate strict regulatory regimes on greenhouse gases scrambling to regain their footing in the wake of a landslide of bad news that started with the comically weak vote last Summer for climate legislation in the House (just 219 yeas), continued through the release of the Climategate emails, the disastrous breakdown of the international effort to address global warming at the U.N. Conference of the Parties at Copenhagen last December, the embarrassment of the Senate Democrats refusing to even allow a vote on climate change legislation this Summer, and concluded with a rash of Republican candidates for Senate announcing their disdain for the notion of man-made climate change (the nerve!).
As bad as those were, the sharpest, most telling, and perhaps lethal blow came earlier this month. Almost entirely ignored by the media, Deutsche Bank announced that it was exiting the carbon trading business in the United States (reported here). As explained to Reuters by Kevin Parker, global head of the Asset Management Division, “You just throw your hands up and say … we're going to take our money elsewhere.” Parker also noted that Deutsche Bank will focus its “green” investment dollars more and more on opportunities in China and Western Europe, where it sees governments “providing a more positive environment.”
Well. Translated back into English, that means that Mr. Parker is clearly annoyed that American taxpayers are not as pliant as they should be, and certainly not as easy to get along with as Chinese taxpayers or European voters.
To add insult to injury, Reuters also reported earlier in the month that the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) is laying off staff at the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), citing (wait for it) a lack of U.S. action on climate change. The layoffs began on in late July, and although the total number of jobs to be cut was unknown, roughly half of the employees either had or were being let go. ICE would not confirm or comment on the layoffs, and (unlike Mr. Parker) they managed to avoid whining or blaming someone else. (their no comment can be found here)
Fickle politicians? Inconsistent international negotiators ?Troublesome leaks? Difficult opponents? All of those are probably survivable. But when the financial guys start looking for the exits, you know the game is nearing the end, the fat lady is getting ready to sing, and the buses are warming up.
Mayura Hooper Vice President of Press and Media Relations of Deutsche Bank responds:
Thank you for taking my call re. Michael McKenna's blog on the Examiner's website.
I'd like to clarify that Deutsche Bank has not made any announcements regarding its carbon trading business in the United States, as Michael McKenna states in his Aug. 30, blog (please see the following link). His information is incorrect.
Mr. McKenna refers to a Reuters article with Kevin Parker, the head of Deutsche Bank's asset management division, which was corrected. The corrected article makes clear that Mr. Parker speaks for a division of the Bank and points out that other areas of the bank will continue to look for climate change investment opportunities in the United States. The point Mr. Parker was making in his interview was that his business (Deutsche Asset Management) wants to invest more in the US but the lack of action from Congress makes it difficult to do so.
Please refer to the correct Reuters article below: