Lehman sees U.S. climate move to spur carbon trade
TOKYO (Reuters) - Signs the United States will soon respond to global warming and a new climate pact now under discussion are set to drive the carbon market further in the next two years, Lehman Brothers said on Monday.
Several states in the United States, the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, have recently moved to choose carbon trading, instead of carbon taxation, paving the way for Washington to take similar moves.
"I'm fairly confident that no later than 2010 you'll see a passage of substantial climate change legislation in the United States," Theodore Roosevelt, Lehman's council on climate change chairman, said at a news conference in Tokyo.
"You'll see that the United States wants to take increasingly a global role in climate change leadership," he added -- becoming a driver for U.N.-led talks on a new framework to fight climate change when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
"When the United States comes out of the gate, that is to me not if but when, that opens the possibility of a serious dialogue between the United States and China, and Japan and other countries (on) how we're going to do this," Roosevelt said.
In addition to signs of a shift in the United States, John Llewellyn, Lehman's senior economic policy advisor, noted a revised carbon trading scheme is in place in Europe, while several exchanges in Asia, including the Tokyo Stock Exchange, have recently expressed an intention to create trading platforms.
"These developments in this region will of course further boost the importance of carbon trading," Llewellyn said.
Lehman has already moved into what may be the world's fastest-growing market, with its global carbon trading operations based in London, in line with other investment banks.
In November, the International Emissions Trading Association, an industry body, said carbon trading would double to at least $60 billion in 2007. Global carbon market traded volumes were worth less than $1 billion in 2004.
(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by David Holmes)