Money men say "show us the rules"

Investors talking green investment and why they need governments to act first.

Trillions of dollars are supposedly available for green investment. Don't need to show these investors the money. They have that aplenty. Somebody toted up the potential investment moolah: $13-trillion. Larger, even, than Bill Gates' fortune. These potential investors say, "Show us the rules."

Today this international gathering of politicos and money handlers are conflabbing at the United Nations. And the word is the moneyed want to know they can safely invest in greentech, that carbon will be taxed in some open manner and that governments are serious about dealing with global warming. Today's conference will be webcast. The meeting has the poetic moniker of “The 2010 Investor Summit on Climate Risk: Developing a Low-Carbon Economy, Leveraging Private Investment.” Here's the website for the conference. They are certainly pushing a rock uphill. The recent "results" of the Copenhagen climate change conference led to a drop in carbon permit prices where there is already an open carbon market.

What these investors would apparently like to see are the sort of locked-in subsidies that already pertain to coal mining, oil extraction and processing, mineral and oil leases on public lands, corn and soybean farming, publicly-maintained highways and dozens of other government rules and giveaways that favor the traditional fossil fuel industries in the U.S. and elsewhere. The wanna-be green investors are asking for the kind of social and political change wrought when cars replaced horses, and then gas-powered cars trumped railroads and trolley lines.

Co-sponsor of the conference is the Ceres Foundation, a non-profit founded in the aftermath of the "Exxon Valdez" oil spill in Alaska just over 20 years ago.

Here you can find a video report on the sustainablity conference. Here you can find a July 14th NPR interview about the conference.

NOW THIS IS THE CRITICAL YEAR?

Months ago we were hearing that Copenhagen's December climate talks would be crucial. Well, maybe they were, but nobody's claiming success. So now the U.S. climate negotiator is telling the investment conference THIS IS THE CRITICAL MOMENT. He says the agreement reached at Copenhagen must be nurtured, fleshed out and turned into a global treaty, and soon.

It's also clear from the American's speech today the Obama Administration is not going to rely on the cumbersome U.N. process to reach a working agreement among major greenhouse gas polluters.

This could be a critical year in the investment world according to one international study group. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is not fussed about foreclosures or bankers' bonuses. They see two major areas of greentech investment that need serious attention. WEF says there's major risk that not enough investment in 2010 will go into agriculture and energy.

Specifically WEF calls out the global susceptibility to oil price shocks without sufficient alternative energy production. And they say agriculture is not keeping up, with one billion humans already under-nourished. You can read the whole global risk report for 2010 here. [poll id="216"]