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The Wall Street Journal examines the effectiveness of the UN carbon-trading scheme today in an article debating the pros and cons of funding coal and natural gas projects in India and China. Critics of the funding claim that financing is being diverted to these projects from renewable energy projects. The trading scheme has also been accused of financing power plants and cleaner coal-burning technology that would have been constructed otherwise.

Both criticisms miss the point. If the carbon-trading scheme is a free market, renewable energy projects would find themselves being financed on their own merit. For example, current market prices, according to the WSJ article, are ~$13 per ton of carbon emissions. If solar projects can be financed and replace carbon emissions at cheaper rates, participating companies would buy them naturally.

The key is whether or not the UN scheme is a free market. Do projects of all colors and sources receive equal consideration? How good are disclosures and monitoring on these projects? When developed and developing countries get together to formulate such global markets, the quality and access to information will be key to good buyer-seller outcomes, and for us, a cleaner world.

Dear Mr. Munawwar Hasan,

You claim to represent millions of Muslims. Quite a bold claim. But not quite as reckless as your claim that:

"America is against the interests of Muslims. Muslims hate Americans. If this [India-US nuclear] deal goes through, then Americans will make a lot of money."

The logical extension of your argument would be that all kinds of trade should be prohibited with the U.S. because free trade makes money for both parties. I would like to submit the following data for your review:

U.S. Exports by Destination (2007 - in millions)
Afghanistan - $495.3
Saudi Arabia - $10,396
Indonesia - $4,235
Qatar - $2,757
Pakistan - $2,035
Iran - $145

Even countries with Muslim majorities with mostly democratic regimes (Indonesia and Afghanistan) import goods and services from the U.S. and in your words, help the "Americans make a lot of money." Iran imports from the U.S. despite their leader publicly describing the latter as their enemy.

I could include data on imports to the U.S. from these countries because Americans benefit from imports, but frankly speaking, I would need to explain consumer surplus and how goods and services are produced, which would be more than sufficient to ask you the following:

Do Muslims really hate Americans and American products?

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