This Corner House submission to a 2008 inquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee into the UK's Export Credits Guarantee Department and Sustainable Development critiqued the ECGD's decision-making procedures concerning sustainable development; its inadequate Business Principles and need for a proactive approach; its due diligence and monitoring; information disclosure; and the OECD and ECA reform.

On 25 March 2009, the UK Ministry of Justice published its long-awaited Draft Bribery Bill, the stated aim of which is "to reform the criminal law to provide a new, modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences that will enable courts and prosecutors to respond more effectively to bribery at home or abroad". The Corner House was requested by the Joint Parliamentary Committee scrutinising the Bill to submit evidence on the proposed new offence of bribing foreign public officials.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights of the UK Parliament requested evidence for its inquiry into business and human rights on the State's duty to protect against human rights abuses by businesses; corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and the need for individuals to have effective access to remedies when their human rights are breached. The Corner House submission to the Committee focused on the policies and practices of the UK Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) in the context of the state's duty to protect human rights. The Committee subsequently called for supplementary evidence on the government's Draft Bribery Bill and the Industry and Exports (Financial Support) Bill, which The Corner House provided.

BBC2 Television's Newsnight current affairs programme summarised its 8 minute broadcast: "In 2006, the British government scotched a serious fraud investigation into BAE's biggest deal, with Saudi Arabia. Now, Peter Marshall [Newsnight presenter] reveals that the company may have returned the favour. It has stopped a billion pound insurance contract which tied the government to the Saudi business." Information about stopping the insurance contract came to light as a result of legal correspondence between The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade with the UK Export Credits Guarantee Department.

The US public television's flagship public affairs programme, Frontline, produced a 60-minute documentary on "black money" -- the secret payments that make up the shadowy world of international bribery. It reveals how multinational companies create slush funds and set up front companies to obtain business and contracts. In describing the crackdown on these practices, the documentary focuses on BAE Systems and allegations about its billion dollar bribes. It includes an interview with former Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Director Robert Wardle, who describes as "blackmail" the Saudi threat to withdraw intelligence cooperation with the UK if the SFO's BAE-Saudi investigation continued.

Proposals for Green New Deals aimed at tackling both global warming and global recession are streaming forth worldwide. Unfortunately, many give short shrift to the need to phase out both fossil fuels and fossil fuel substitutes. Many also rely on obsolete conceptions of technology transfer. Future climate movements will have to focus increasingly on the democratization of research, planning and finance.

Can the financial derivatives markets be regulated? Can the carbon markets be regulated? The questions are parallel. Both markets try to commodify new things: in the case of the financial markets an unprecedented range of uncertainties; in the carbon markets, the earth's carbon-cycling capacity. Regulation tends to assume that any problems with either market can be handled by "internalizing externalities"; this approach will fail. A more practical approach to these markets' problems looks to decommodification. Both approaches, however, have attracted supporters from across the political spectrum.


La imposibilidad de regular los mercados derivados financieros y de carbono

¿Es posible regular los mercados derivados financieros? ¿Es posible regular los mercados de carbono? Estas preguntas son parecidas. Ambos mercados tratan de comercializar nuevas cosas. Los nuevos mercados financieros tratan de comercializar una serie de incertidumbres sin precendentes; los mercados de carbono tratan de comercializar la capacidad del mundo natural para absorber dióxido de carbono. Muchos funcionarios gubernamentales y académicos asumen que cualquier problema de estos mercados puede ser manejado con "internalizar externalidades". Esto no es cierto. Un enfoque más práctico a los problemas de estos mercados es la desmercantilización.

Carbon permit prices flashing on electronic screens in Wall Street trading rooms reflect a complex political movement to reorganize and redistribute power and knowledge. The carbon markets associated with the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the US's Waxman-Markey Act constitute perhaps the last great class project of a waning neoliberal regime – the ill-fated attempt to privatize the climate itself.


El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono

Los precios de los derechos de emisión de dióxido de carbono que aparecen en las pantallas de las computadoras de Wall Street reflejan un movimiento político complejo para reorganizar y redistribuir el poder y el conocimiento. Los mercados de carbono del Protocolo de Kioto y el Esquema del Comercio de Emisiones de la Unión Europea son uno de los últimos grandes proyectos del neoliberalismo – un intento malhadado de privatizar el clima. Este capítulo del libro, "El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono", describe las contradicciones del intento de formar una mercancía con el clima.

Merrill Lynch is a major Wall Street investor in carbon pollution permits. Here its Global Head of Carbon Markets debates The Corner House on whether carbon markets are effective.

One lesson the financial crisis teaches us is: beware of the new carbon markets that constitute today's main official response to climate change. These markets are startlingly similar to the financial derivatives markets that have thrown banking systems into a tailspin. (German version also available.)


Mercados de incertidumbres y mercados de carbono: variaciones en temas de Polanyi

Una de las lecciones que la crisis financiera nos enseña es a tener cuidado con los nuevos mercados de carbono que constituyen hoy la principal respuesta oficial al cambio climático. Este artículo de la revista New Political Economy argumenta que estos mercados son sorprendentemente similares a los mercados de derivados financieros que arrojaron a los sistemas bancarios al caos en 2008.