Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Security

Huge Phishing Attack On Emissions Trade In Europe 114

Posted by timothy
from the feel-good-measures dept.
bratgitarre writes "A targeted phishing scam on companies trading with greenhouse gas emission certificates in Europe has reaped millions, Der Spiegel reports. By sending phishing e-mails to companies in Australia and New Zealand purporting to be from the German Ministry for Environmental Protection (German article, Google translation) the criminals obtained login credentials for companies owning polluting permissions. They then swiftly sold them to other polluters in various European countries. Damages are probably huge for a single incident, as 'one medium-sized German company alone had lost allowances worth €1.5 million ($2.1 million).' German federal officials, who can trace some of the transactions, claim that out of 2000 certificate sellers, seven responded to the scam."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Huge Phishing Attack On Emissions Trade In Europe

Comments Filter:
  • Russian gas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:10PM (#31014874) Journal

    I wonder if this is related to Russian gas and their tricks in selling it to Europe and Eastern Europe. It's a long tradition they always try something in the winter, as they did this year too, and most of Europe depends on it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just what we need, another derivative in the energy markets for traders to salivate over ala Enron.
      That's why the so called cap and trade is advocated by the sausage-makers. It is a big giveaway to the Goldman Sachs crowd.

      And Al gore stands to make hundreds of millions if the trading scheme goes into practice.

      Even a global warming partisan activist like James Hansen )NASA) calls this a scam, and favors a simpler "carbon tax"
      -Jay

      • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:29PM (#31015090) Journal

        The cap and trade model theoretically allows a cap to be achieved as efficiently as possible. Some plants will emit less because they will have already switched to less emittive technologies. Some other plants have not. The extra fees allow the cost of using a greenhouse emitting technology to be properly reflected on the books.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by maxume (22995)

          So does a tax (except instead of issuing a certain number of certificates in order to achieve a given output, the rate is adjusted up or down (but probably only ever up...)).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Cap and trade allows the industry to distribute the right to pollute to the firms that need it the most. Companies that can reduce pollution easily and cheaply do so, and they get a nice black number on their quarterly report for selling their carbon credits. Companies that cannot efficiently reduce their pollution effectively subsidize the pollution reduction of their industry.

            Taxation is a punitive measure that does not have the above merits. It only encourages the most trivial improvements to manufacturi

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by maxume (22995)

              Which economists? All of them?

              Did they model China and India as a free for all (a tax can be applied to imports, and perhaps, rebated against exports)?

              As far as the tax receipts, it wouldn't be that hard to find something to do with the money (pay off debt is an easy one), the only hard part would be agreeing on where to spend it (and that's only a problem because our politics are ridiculous).

              • Which economists? All of them?

                Enough of them. Cap and trade is a solution that exists within the free market and naturally inherits the same equilibrium-seeking behavior. These days it's an exercise they assign to undergrads.

                As far as the tax receipts, it wouldn't be that hard to find something to do with the money (pay off debt is an easy one), the only hard part would be agreeing on where to spend it (and that's only a problem because our politics are ridiculous).

                Oh, really? Off the top of my head I can think of three completely sensible ways to spend the money to directly offset the social cost of pollution. FWIW, paying off debt is not one of those ways.

                The problem is that taxes are too 'fair:' you're equally taxing the companies that cannot afford to stop polluting and th

                • by maxume (22995)

                  As far as the tax receipts, it wouldn't be that hard to find something to do with the money (pay off debt is an easy one), the only hard part would be agreeing on where to spend it (and that's only a problem because our politics are ridiculous).

                  Oh, really? Off the top of my head I can think of three completely sensible ways to spend the money to directly offset the social cost of pollution. FWIW, paying off debt is not one of those ways.

                  What does this mean? Your "Oh, really?" makes no sense to me as a response to what I said.

              • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:30PM (#31016666) Homepage

                I'm kind of fond of a concept I haven't seen much mentioned -- CAT (Carbon-Added Tax). It's like VAT, but for carbon. The way VAT works is that at each step of the chain where value is added to a product, it is taxed based on the value added. Imports and exports are taxed based on their full value -- unless they've already paid VAT, wherein they're exempt).

                CAT would work the same way. At each step of the way where the product gains embodied carbon (that is, either carbon that's emitted in the process of making it or ends up in the product in such a way that it will be directly emitted when the product is used), it's charged CAT.

                The benefit of this to cap & trade is that it addresses the common question of, "What if India and China don't join us?" Well, then all of their goods get taxed CAT at the port. Since Europe would almost certainly join a CAT agreement if that was the standard, agreed-upon way to fight climate change, their goods -- having already paid CAT -- would not be taxed CAT upon import.

                Ideally, the program would be structured as a "feebate", with all CAT tax revenue being compensated for by, say, cutting payroll taxes.

                Really, though, you don't need any sort of carbon tax or cap to fight climate change in the biggest ways. Even charging for the other externalities would be enough. For example, the average coal power plant in the US causes about 3 1/2 cents/kWh worth of direct health-related damages to the economy, and the worst ones cause over 12 cents. This is from particulate matter, NOx, SOx, etc. The production tax credit for wind is only 2.1 cents/kWh. So if coal merely had to pay for its health costs, it'd rapidly disappear from our grid (primarily replaced by wind, natural gas, and possibly nuclear). Such a tax on health externalities would again be best structured as a feebate -- this time, as a subsidy for healthcare, weighted by county on a revenue-proportional basis (i.e., place with dirty power = pays the most tax = gets the most subsidy). You'd want to phase it in over 10 years so that there's time for the generation mix to adapt, of course.

                • Ideally, the program would be structured as a "feebate", with all CAT tax revenue being compensated for by, say, cutting payroll taxes.

                  It's a nice theory.

                  Then you get essentials like gasoline, electricity and heating oil, which have very inelastic demands. The idea is that market forces will decide the division of the tax between consumers and producers, and the government will pay back the consumers. The reality is that the consumer's share of a tax on gasoline (for example) is almost the entire tax.

                  It's good if your goal is to get companies to stop making luxury goods though. :)

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by FooAtWFU (699187)
                  The problem is calculating the "carbon added" is potentially quite obnoxious, and not always straightforward. Imagine the legal tussles, and all the decisions they'd make wrong. Is, say, Marini's Sweets (of Santa Cruz) going to have to calculate the carbon consumption from heating a cauldron of chocolate to make their chocolate-covered bacon chunk ice cream? Will they get a credit if it reduces the heating needs of their adjacent retail store? Should they really have to hire someone to figure it out for the
                  • by mzs (595629)

                    No actually the same problem exists in cap and trade. There has to be an honest way to count how much greenhouse gasses a company emitted into the atmosphere in a year and how many tons of CO2 is that equivalent to.

                    Rather than CAT, why not simply tax the company that removes the material from the earth. It's pretty easy to know how many tons of coal a company mined in a year as it simple to know how many gallons of crude were pumped. Now every other company picks that up as an increased cost along the way.

                    T

                • by ultranova (717540)

                  CAT would work the same way. At each step of the way where the product gains embodied carbon (that is, either carbon that's emitted in the process of making it or ends up in the product in such a way that it will be directly emitted when the product is used), it's charged CAT.

                  So, if I grow wood and burn it for energy, I'll be taxed more than if I mined and used coal? Because, after all, coal gets no new carbon added at any point, while wood sucks it out of the atmosphere throughout its life. The same goes

            • by zblack_eagle (971870) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:27PM (#31015928)

              What to do with the tax money? Subsidize R&D for renewable energy, subsidize renewable energy generation and fund more substantial public transport systems that actually have a hope of competing with cars. Yeah, I know that in practice this likely won't happen because governments like to lump all tax revenue into one huge pile. But in the same vein, cap and trade isn't going to work because governments insist on throwing free rights to their heavily polluting lobbyists

              • Well, governments are right to lump all tax revenue into one huge pile because money is fungible. :) It's difficult to comment on the success of taxation without discussing the likelihood of a government fulfilling their obligations.

                I'm not sure what you mean by free rights to lobbyists though. The reason carbon cap and trade isn't working in the EU is due to overallocation. It's hard to expect market forces to take over when you don't have scarcity....
                On the other hand, the American sulfur dioxide cap and

              • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:42PM (#31016806) Homepage

                Public transportation is only a partial solution. It's great at dealing with the high-density legs. It sucks at reaching specific endpoints. In areas where population traffic is very dense, it can be a 100% solution. Elsewhere... not so much.

                Out here in your average town of 60k people, with one of the best public transportation systems in the region, it just doesn't work well. To catch a bus from my home, I have to walk about five blocks. In Iowa (think of our winters). When I go to work and come home, they only show up hourly -- if I miss it, I'm in *big* trouble. The bus averages about 8 passengers onboard. It meanders all over the place to pick up and drop off passengers, increasing the length of the route and adding way more stops and starts and idling, reducing efficiency. The bus probably averages about 3 1/2 mpg diesel in the sort of drivecycle they put it through -- which is the CO2 equivalent of about 3mpg gasoline. 8 passengers, that's 24mpg equivalent if each person drove by themself... but you have to go perhaps 50% more miles you reach your actual destination, so it's really more like 16mpg. So if everyone drove by themself in an SUV, that'd be about the equivalent.

                And it takes 4 times as long for me to get to my destination (I have to do one transfer).

                What's the solution?

                  * More frequent bus trips -- but even fewer passengers per trip, and thus even worse per-passenger mpg?
                  * Less frequent bus trips -- *2 hours* between stops? Yeah, that'll up your ridership...

                Really... it just doesn't work effectively. And I say this as someone who generally enjoys subway and rail travel. On high-density legs, public transit works well (and that's what subways and rail are typically used for). Public transit is great for downtown areas and high residential density areas (apartments, etc). But in other places... no.

            • Economists have modeled cap and trade versus the other alternatives (in a game theoretic sense) and the results are pretty much clear. Within the framework of a free market, there is no more efficient way of forcing companies to internalize their externalities.

              “Last month, the European police agency Europol reported that the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) had fallen victim to fraudulent trading activities over the past 18 months, worth €5 billion for several national tax revenues.

              It estimates that in some countries, up to 90% of the whole market volume was caused by fraudulent activities.”
              Four charged with carbon trading fraud in Belgium

              Yes but in the economist's game, the game was the only game, in the real world ther

            • by slinches (1540051) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:31PM (#31017274)

              Economists have modeled cap and trade versus the other alternatives (in a game theoretic sense) and the results are pretty much clear. Within the framework of a free market, there is no more efficient way of forcing companies to internalize their externalities.

              Great. We have an optimal method of internalizing the CO2 externality. Now what is the impact of CO2 output in $$/kg so we can put this method into practice?

              The problem I have with cap and trade is not that the method being used is inefficient, but that the value of the carbon credits is being set based on political motives. Rushing into cap and trade without an accurate carbon credit value estimate could end up costing far more than the effects of uncontrolled CO2 emissions. At this point, can we even be sure that increased CO2 output will cause a net loss of overall wealth?

              • by yuna49 (905461)

                The problem I have with cap and trade is not that the method being used is inefficient, but that the value of the carbon credits is being set based on political motives.

                Isn't the solution to valuation of the credits to allocate them by auction? That's where the EU method failed in my mind. You can't just distribute the credits to existing polluters initially; you need to auction them off. Market mechanisms in situations like these probably come pretty close to the theoretical model, particularly when it c

                • by slinches (1540051)

                  Isn't the solution to valuation of the credits to allocate them by auction?

                  The only reason these credits have value is due to a government imposed restriction on CO2 output. Whether the market value of these credits is determined by auction or by trade amongst major producers is irrelevant because the value will be based only on how the cap is implemented and how many credits are available.

                  In order to minimize the total cost to the economy, the price of the carbon credits should match the actual external costs of releasing carbon dioxide. If the credits are above this value, the

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by jlarocco (851450)

              Say what you want about cap and trade, but you can't rightly call it "free market".

              Government mandated interference, like "cap and trade," is the antithesis of free market principles. A free market, by definition, is one without government interference.

              Cap and trade is called a "free market" solution by anti-capitalism folks, so that they can promote their agenda when it fails. Incorrectly labeling cap and trade as "free market" hides the fact that it's actually socialist government interference that

              • Government mandated interference, like "cap and trade," is the antithesis of free market principles.

                Pollution is called an 'externality' because it presents an added social cost of production that is not paid for by the firm. The costs of the externality - damage to your health, your property, your overall utility of the environment - are born by the people.

                This means society collectively subsidizes the production of the good. Sounds a lot like socialism to me!

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by jlarocco (851450)

                  This means society collectively subsidizes the production of the good. Sounds a lot like socialism to me!

                  That doesn't change the fact that calling "cap and trade" a "free market solution" is a lie.

                  If you want to say "We need to resort to socialism to solve this problem," then say it. Don't spread FUD by claiming cap and trade is a free market solution to the problem when it isn't.

                  • That doesn't change the fact that calling "cap and trade" a "free market solution" is a lie.

                    No, 'socialism' is the fact that I am paying for you to drive your F-350.

                    If you want to say "We need to resort to socialism to solve this problem," then say it. Don't spread FUD by claiming cap and trade is a free market solution to the problem when it isn't.

                    FUD stands for "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt." The only person spreading FUD is the person claiming that cap and trade is 'socialism' without actually supporting his argument. That'd be you, buck-o.

                    Try again, Milton Friedman.

                    • by jlarocco (851450)

                      FUD stands for "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt." The only person spreading FUD is the person claiming that cap and trade is 'socialism' without actually supporting his argument.

                      Cap and trade is direct government interference with the market to protect people from themselves and/or others. How is it anything but socialism? Meanwhile, your original claim that cap and trade is a free market solution to pollution directly contradicts the definition of a free market, yet you continue to insist it doesn't.

                    • Cap and trade is direct government interference with the market to protect people from themselves and/or others. How is it anything but socialism?

                      Because socialism involves the collective ownership of capital. Do you own the air we breathe? No. Do I? No. We all own it. It is collectively owned capital.

                      The sale of the right to pollute is the privatization of a public good. It is the literal opposite of socialism.

                      Meanwhile, your original claim that cap and trade is a free market solution to pollution directly contradicts the definition of a free market, yet you continue to insist it doesn't.

                      Try again.

            • "Economists have modeled cap and trade versus the other alternatives (in a game theoretic sense)"

              No politicians in that model? Cap-and-trade involves vast money flows that are not open to public scrutiny. If the penalty money goes into general revenues via a tax, then who gets the money will be somewhat more transparent.

              • But making the 'vast money flows' closed to public scrutiny is the point. A general tax involves a lot more government intervention in the private sector than a scheme like cap and trade.

                The point isn't to create a source of revenue for the government, or to directly penalize polluters. ACES/Waxman-Markey (the US carbon cap and trade bill) distributes 85% of the permits for free - $0, free - and auctions off the remainder. The objective is to get the permits in the hands of the firms that need them the most

            • "Economists have modeled cap and trade versus the other alternatives "

              Economists also told us that the price of real estate could only go up. What happened to that housing bubble? Oh yeah, the economists either lied, or they were so ignorant that they believed their own bullshit.

            • by mzs (595629)

              There is one more mechanism, the one used most often. For counties that signed on to Kyoto the certificates are managed by the UN and traded in a primary market largely in London (as well as the large secondary market now as well). The vast majority of current certificates in these markets tend to be for projects in a developing country. What happens is some company (usually not the carbon emitter itself) proposes a plan to a UN agency that basically says that right now some company in Brazil or where ever

          • by mweather (1089505)
            Market-based solutions work better than taxes, even when the market is government mandated.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by TapeCutter (624760) *
              "even when the market is government mandated"

              If you consider warlords, tribal elders, nobility, etc, as primative forms of government then I can't think of a market that is not government mandated, even the black market is to a large degree mandated by government prohibition.
          • by Dare nMc (468959)

            I see with the emission trading in my industry does things a TAX doesn't do. Despite having a couple years before the regulation comes into full affect we have pushed out products that meet the future regulation out now at significant additional cost. We are doing this so that low volume models that don't make economic sense for emissions development can continue to be sold with those credits. Without any credits we would have simply announced those low volume models would be discontinued at the emission

        • by Demonantis (1340557) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:13PM (#31015708)
          Could the public interest in the environment be used or emission regulations with penalties. It is just a created commodity. It will motivate people to reduce in the beginning, but not overall and with reduced returns as more companies upgrade so they can sell their artificial commodity instead of buying it depressing the value of upgrading. The only real benefit is that it motivates instead of forcing companies to adopt better policy. A carbon tax is a much better idea as it can be adjusted by the government and be used to fund green R&D while motivating companies to upgrade their facilities.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by NevarMore (248971)

            Except taxes simply make it harder for businesses to operate at all.

            The ONLY effective "green initiatives" are the ones that directly benefit the bottom line or personal space WITHOUT incentives, credits, penalties, or tax fudging.

            Examples:
            - drive less, spend less on gas, maintenance, etc.
            - turn the lights off when you leave a room, less on electricity
            - use less water, less on the water bill
            - better windows, less HVAC cost PLUS better comfort near that window
            - better

            • by Capsaicin (412918)

              The things that our parents yelled at us to do are both cost effective AND "green". They work. They're proven.

              They don't you know. In the absence of an overarching scheme to cap the amount of carbon produced, all you are doing when you switch that light off is lowering the marginal cost of production of Aluminium (for example).

            • Well, the taxes do change the bottom line, don't they? The coal suddenly is more expensive than wind and then you go green.

              How exactly green energy will magically benefit bottom line more than coal? Has it ever occurred to you that what is beneficial to you is not always good (i.e. beneficial to the rest)?

          • by Cyberax (705495)

            " It is just a created commodity. It will motivate people to reduce in the beginning, but not overall and with reduced returns as more companies upgrade so they can sell their artificial commodity instead of buying it depressing the value of upgrading."

            You forget that caps are not constant. They will be lowered with the time, so carbon emissions will become more and more costly.

        • Cap and trade. How does that work, exactly? Does it actually reduce the total of emissions, globally?

          Of course not. A steel plant is shut down on the Rhine, where government regulation limits total emissions to some standard that has been found acceptable. The plant is moved to someplace in Africa, or Asia, where there are no government regulations. The plant owner saves tons of money, not only on cheap labor, but thanks to the lack of emissions standards. Now, he can dump ALL emissions into the atmos

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        Even a global warming partisan activist like James Hansen )NASA) calls this a scam, and favors a simpler "carbon tax"

        Who better to scam than a scammer? What are they going to do, run to the police? Oh wait, carbon allowance trading is legal...

      • by emilper (826945)

        Imagine, scammers being scammed by other scammers ... where the world is going, I ask ? An ethics commission should be investigating this ...

      • by u38cg (607297)
        A carbon tax is an impossible sell politically. Cap and trade isn't. Better an imperfect scheme than none at all, so take your conspiracy theories and shove 'em.
  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:18PM (#31014960) Journal
    Is there any reason it would be a bad idea, if someone has control over millions in assets, two people's login credentials should be required to confirm a transaction? It's bad enough to have someone responsible for that much money be foolish enough to fall for a phishing scam, but I should hope there is a low chance two people could run a company successfully but both fall for the same scam.
    • by DaveGod (703167) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:51PM (#31015356)

      No, and any company should be doing just that. The company's auditors should be detecting if it's not required, and reporting such weakness to management. Failing to implement such basic controls will cost the company, whether or not there is fraud. The auditor will face much greater audit risk and hence have to increase his workload (and hence fee) to compensate.

      On the other hand, such a control probably would not be very effective against this. For example Person A gets tricked and then gets Person B who probably does not go through the detailed mechanics - if anything he'd go check out the official website and approve it on that basis.

      A more relevant control would be authorised supplier lists combined with set procedures. For example, a company would only allow emissions trading through a specific broker and the payments would always be made to that broker's escrow account. That way you can get fiddled and all you get is a call from your broker wondering why they have your money.

      For what it's worth transactions were a lot better controlled when everything was paid by cheque. Cheques required two signatories. Banks were very good at ensuring authorised signatories were authorised. Now for smaller businesses with internet banking you have a bookkeeper who needs access to print statements and the same login can complete transactions from start to finish - half the time they're using the managing director's login. Well, you can't have the MD's time being used up doing silly things like printing statements can you? And bookkeepers, it's not like they're in a high-risk position and able to hide fraud....

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:19PM (#31014968) Homepage

    Because good is dumb.

  • Is it only me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thewils (463314) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:27PM (#31015054) Journal

    or does anyone else think that the whole idea of trading emission allowances is a huge scam to begin with?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jgagnon (1663075)

      I agree completely... "Cap and trade" can so easily be corrupted that there is no point in going that route unless corruption is your goal.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by radtea (464814)

        "Cap and trade" can so easily be corrupted that there is no point in going that route unless corruption is your goal.

        Sure, look at what happend with cap and trade in sulpher emissions in North America in the '80's. It was such a complete failure that acid rain is no longer a looming problem... oh, wait.

        Just as a matter of interest, why do you hate market solutions so much? Are you some kind of socialist?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by maxume (22995)

          It really isn't obvious that CO2 reduction and capture is anywhere as easy as sulfur reduction apparently was.

          (it is arguable that the sulfur reductions simply demonstrated that the producers could easily bear increased regulatory requirements, there wasn't really any sort of active market)

        • Re:Is it only me (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:52PM (#31015382) Journal

          It was such a complete failure that acid rain is no longer a looming problem... oh, wait.

          Why do I feel this will be the exact same justification for the next environmental crusade after "looming AGW" fails to destroy the mankind?

          • Because you suffer from some form of cognitive bias? Perhaps an omission bias,

            We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.

            - Douglas Adams.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Talderas (1212466)

          Just as a matter of interest, why do you hate market solutions so much? Are you some kind of socialist?

          The introduction of artificial scarcity by a non-market entity (government) does not make something a market solution.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Chris Burke (6130)

            Neither is allowing externalities to go unaccounted for.

          • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:44PM (#31017408) Journal
            "The introduction of artificial scarcity by a non-market entity (government) does not make something a market solution."

            How is that rhetorical bullshit informative? There is nothing artificial about the biosphere's capacity to absorb our wastes. Ignoring those limits implies humanity is no smarter than jar of fermenting yeast.

            And where do you get the idea that government is a "non-market entity"? - Not only are they usually the largest customers but they make the rules, the rules - ARE - the market.
            • Are you saying a market can't exist without rules set by an arbitrary entity?
              • Are you saying a market can't exist without rules set by an arbitrary entity?

                It can, most certainly. And it will quickly devolve into a monopolistic or feudal system. People are too smart to sit idly by and not make money any way they can, so inevitably an unregulated market will be taken over by those willilng to use the most shady business practices and cut the most corners. This is similar to now, except we have in place minimum standards that determine how low a company can go and still be allowed to conduct business. Those rules help ensure a healthy and competitive market, an

              • I'm not sure how arbitrary democracy is, but what I'm saying is I don't belive in magic fairy dust [youtube.com]. It ignores history [youtube.com]
        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by clone53421 (1310749)

          Offtopic, but I find it amusing that your sig states that something is a statistical certainty, and quotes a probability that is almost nil.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jimbolauski (882977)

          Just as a matter of interest, why do you hate market solutions so much? Are you some kind of socialist?

          Remind me how exactly a commodity, emissions in this case, will be limited by the government and sold by the government to the people or given out by the government to chosen companies (see pay to play schemes) who can then trade them is a market solution. A real market solution would be companies who want to tout their C02 standards can advertise that they are good for nature and people could buy that product and will be able to look down on other people who choose not too, note the second way does not m

          • Re:Is it only me (Score:4, Informative)

            by maxume (22995) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:23PM (#31015866)

            You are ranting about free markets. Cap and trade is the government using a market to help put a value on regulatory certificates. It is a market.

          • by T Murphy (1054674)
            To go with your solution all products would need to list their carbon footprint on the label, and perhaps a brief explanation to help people evaluate the numbers- like how nutrition labels give you %DV for a 2000 calorie diet.

            Fast food restaurants have been kicking and screaming to avoid printing calories on their menus and packaging, as they know consumers seem to think if the item doesn't say anything bad on the label, there must be nothing wrong with it. Not that "low carbon footprint!" wouldn't help
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by rmushkatblat (1690080)
          It's obviously not a market solution if the government has to force it to exist.
          • "It's obviously not a market solution if the government has to force it to exist."

            Define "market".
        • Re:Is it only me (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sien (35268) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:23PM (#31015870) Homepage

          The US cap and trade on sulphur dioxide emissions was passed in 1990 [wikipedia.org].

          Overall, the Program's cap and trade program has been successful in achieving its goals. Since the 1990s, SO2 emissions have dropped 40%, and according to the Pacific Research Institute, acid rain levels have dropped 65% since 1976.[15][16] However, this was significantly less successful than conventional regulation in the European Union, which saw a decrease of over 70% in SO2 emissions during the same time period.[17]

          S02 emissions were also falling from a peak in the late 1970s toward the 1990s, in other words the US S02 trading scheme was on an already declining path and was less successful than more direct European approaches.

          S02 emissions trading was also local and not between countries which is another area where the proposed Green House Gas emissions trading schemes fall down. A corrupt county can just 'create' permits and then sell them. This has already happened [probeinternational.org] with European and other schemes.

          A tax would be a much more honest, much more transparent scheme than an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). ETS type solutions are attractive largely because politicians don't have to say they are a new tax, they can be easily gamed by giving out free permits and Enron style firms (including Enron itself before it went bankrupt) see a potential bonanza.

          • AGW is a global problem, verification of any system will be difficult. Technically I don't see much of a difference between cap and trade and tax, provided the tax is targeted at the source, rebates are given for verifyable extraction and sequestration (eg:biochar), the tax rate starts low and is predictably ramped up over time to achieve a specific reduction goal.
          • by radtea (464814)

            S02 emissions trading was also local and not between countries

            The rest of your comment is interesting and I'll have to look into what you're claiming, which is at variance with the usual account of cap and trade in sulphur emissions.

            However, this comment is just plain false: Canada is and continues to be a separate country, and the cap and trade system for sulphur emissions was a Canadian initiative that was jointly undertaken with the US.

        • by Wildclaw (15718)

          Just as a matter of interest, why do you hate market solutions so much?

          KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). I prefer market economy over plan economy any day of the week. Just like I prefer a plain tax over a cap & trade scheme any day of the week.

          Of course, you should not try to make things simpler than they are. But cap & trade definitely has the trademark smell of middlemen scheming to leech money of the system.

          Are you some kind of socialist?

          I very much prefer moderate socialism to destructive corrupt capitalism. But no, I am not a socialist or communist or capitalist. I prefer each idea to stand on its

    • It's not just you. Unfortunately, we're not in the government. They appear to have a different view. Or maybe they just like scams?
    • Meh... Better than nothing I suppose...

    • Re:Is it only me (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vxice (1690200) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:52PM (#31015376)
      Well at first yes, but isn't it a much bigger scam that people get to pollute, obviously they gain other wise they would have to pay to remove their waste pollution is free, rather than pay market value for access to the waste disposal they would use? You would complain about a company dumping waste on your lawn wouldn't you? If not then companies would dump everything they could, massively dropping their waste disposal costs. Unfortunately atmosphere is not easy to control access to, this is basically the classic example of a market failure and one of the few times economists advocate government stepping in and regulating industry by charging them for access to a resource they use but don't pay for. As long as it is free and there are no limits on what they can put in the atmosphere they will put everything they can to lower costs.
    • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:53PM (#31015408)

      The goal is to reduce emissions. At least in theory, a market-based system for doing that, with a hard number of credits available, should succeed in limiting (or reducing) emissions. (Provided that you don't abolish other current regulation limiting emission in any given area.) Allowing people to buy and sell credits then rewards companies that are efficient (because they can sell credits) and penalizes companies that are inefficient (because they need to buy more credits.)

    • Re:Is it only me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alinabi (464689) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:58PM (#31015488)
      It's mostly you. Every other commodity in this world is traded, including your odds of getting sick or having a car accident, so why not this one?
    • or could a better subject have been chosen for the parent post?
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by astar (203020)

      this is actually an interesting article, First of all there are some laughs in an intended speculative bubble being meta-scammed. Then recall the climategate crack. It seemed unusually timely to me. With this, it occurs to me that we may be getting some nicely self-counscious asymetrical warfare. Nothing I will ever know, but fifty years out, it might be generally knowable.

      Looking at all the silly comments, it amusing that about everyone tries to discuss co2 as a pollutant. I guess plants do not get a

      • Looking at all the silly comments, it amusing that about everyone tries to discuss co2 as a pollutant. I guess plants do not get a vote yet, for which we can be thankful.

        Sorry, your post suddenly triggered a memory and I just have to post this:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_VmMIbWKoo [youtube.com]

        To quote Karl Kruszelniki - "Carbon dioxide isn't a fuel, it's a byproduct! Calling CO2 'life' is like calling faeces 'food'!"

        • by astar (203020)

          Good post. I got some chuckles. Not many people should figure the saudis or the oil companies are their friends. But I wondered about the Karl quote. It had an element of deep truth (and deep error) which is a bit rare. So I googled him. Might be a polymath. It is useful to note that he did a political adventure on something like the climate change ticket.

  • by mdsolar (1045926) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:43PM (#31015264) Homepage Journal
    I can't see how the companies that bought the stolen property can retain it. It has to be returned to the owners. Hopefully, insurance will cover it.
    • I can't really understand how the money from selling that property can be kept by the scammer. Sure you can wire funds around, but you can never wire to anything but a bank or financial institution (or ten) and unless you show up to pull out the funds personally in cash with fake ID there is always a trail.

      Think about it - Bank 1 calls bank 2 saying the wire is bad and even if bank 2 has already wired it out to banks 3-15 they can still contact them and demand the funds back. Banking privacy doesn't cover

      • by Zerth (26112)

        Split the funds into dozens of accounts, then sell the ATM cards of those accounts at a highly discounted rate.

        You only realize a percentage of your take, but you are trading potential cash and capture for actual cash and time to escape.

        It's a lot like making counterfeit money, you shouldn't actually spend it, just sell it to somebody else.

        • Thanks, I expected that it was some kind of obfusticate and delay but apparently they dump the risk onto some other criminals as well. That does mean that every Euro can be traced up until it leaves an ATM (and then presumably you have a photo, time and location of the criminal). I guess that means it depends on non-integrated banking systems, the ATM card buyers being able to cash out the cards quickly and police disdain for chasing ATM thieves. Plus the sheer volume of legitimate transactions of course

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Because no one has ever laundered money in all of history.

  • by colonelquesadilla (1693356) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:13PM (#31015706)
    The latest environmental threat: overphishing
  • Amazing (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The really amazing thing about this is that, on the one hand, people in a position of being able to handle hundreds of thousands of Euros and more are still falling for an old chestnuts like phishing emails (7 out of about 2000 companies involved) and the other that the whole system, at least if TFA (in the German version) is to be believed, doesn't even use the most basic of security measures like even TANs - all needed by the phishers seems to have been the good old user name/pasword combination. If that

  • Renewable Resource (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:49PM (#31016884) Journal

    I fail to see the big catastrophe here. Pollution credits are a renewable resource, you can manufacture as many of them as you want by just changing the orientation of the magnetic field in a microscopic quantity of iron oxide.

    I mean, all they need to do is give the companies who got scammed extra credit under some pretense (perhaps they were nice at recess). It's just numbers on a page.

    • It's just numbers on a page.

      So is your bank account.

      Just sayin.

      • In case there was any confusion, I was agreeing with you about the illusory quality of paper/digital "valuables". (and pointing out that this category includes "money")
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122)

        No, the numbers in a bank account represent a quantity of currency which itself is only referential in value.

        In other words, the bank account is worse. Pollution credits represent a real thing: number of pounds of x you can dump on everyone. Your numbers in a bank account have to be converted into money before that can be turned into goods.

  • The photo illustrating the article has a caption saying "Trading in CO2 emissions allowances has been hampered in several European countries as a result of a phishing scam." The image shows cooling towers that reject nothing but water vapor. Unfortunately, 99% or the population will conclude that cooling towers reject horrible, polluting CO2.

    Scamminess seems highly contagious. Or maybe it's the natural state of most journalists these days.

"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977

Working...