Much ado about CO2 in Houston

All eyes have been on Washington, D.C. this week with the official start of the Obama administration and its big plans for new climate change laws, but it’s been a busy week for carbon trading in Houston, too.
Platt’s held its 2nd annual Carbon Trading Conference here. The International Emissions Trading Association is holding a two-day seminar . The Greater Houston Partnership also formally launched its efforts to promote the city as a home for companies to set up greenhouse gas trading operations with The Houston Climate Alliance. Even Deutsche Bank mentioned in a call to reporters it was going to set up a carbon trading desk in Houston sometime in the future.
And at the University of Houston, the graduate schools of business and law launched what many believe is the first class in the country on carbon trading, team-taught by Praveen Kumar and Craig Pirrong in the business school and Victor Flatt from the law school. (full disclosure: the author of this post is taking the class but not as part of any degree-seeking effort).
The class will be looking at both the legal and economic issues surrounding a cap-and-trade system for managing carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. We have written about these issues in the past, most recently this weekend.

“With all due modesty we think this course is unique,” Kumar said. “It’s the only course of its kind in this country and perhaps anywhere, because the issues surrounding carbon trading are very fast evolving.”

Flatt acknowledged that there are plenty of people who doubt that mankind is responsible for climate change, and that some of the students in the class might even be skeptics.

“But it doesn’t matter if you believe in climate change or not. Our policymakers do, internationally and domestically. And they’ve implemented legal regimes to deal with it,” Flatt said.

Here are a few online resources that either focus on carbon trading or touch on the topic from time-to-time:
Carbon Trading, the views of a European emissions trader.
Carbon Offset Daily, a blog on all things carbon, including the markets where new carbon credits are created.
Carbon Capture Journal, about the technologies necessary for CO2 reductions to happen.
The Climate and Energy Project, done by the Land Institute, an agriculture and public policy group. Very Midwest focused at times.
Energy Legal Blog, by law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. Infrequent posts, but they’re pithy.
Environmental Capital, the Wall Street Journal’s well-staffed energy and environment business blog.
Knowledge Problem, “Commentary on Economics, Information and Human Action” which happens to frequently focus on energy issues.
MasterResource, “a free-market energy blog” with many Houston ties.
DotEarth, The NYT’s science blog.
GreenInc. The NYT’s green energy blog (complete with annoying pop-up ad)