Sunday, February 5, 2012

Algorithms/Data vs. Analysts/Reports: Fight!

eco2market-mapQuick, what's the second most traded commodity in the world, after oil? Sorry, no: it's not coffee. In fact, while hard data is scant, it may well be -- of all things -- carbon. No, really. According to the World Bank (PDF) , the global carbon market was worth a whopping 1.42 Facebooks US$142 billion in 2010. Mind you, it's not like container ships weighed down to the gills with graphite are crossing and recrossing the Pacific every week. What we're actually talking about here is the trade in carbon offsets, ie, the absence of carbon. Very Zen, no? Anyway, techies should be comfortable with this notion; I seem to recall spending less time studying electrons than I did "holes," ie their absence, while acquiring my EE degree. Anyway, where there's a $twelve-figures market, there are startups fighting for a share. In particular, there's a bit of a war on to see who will be the primary aggregator of carbon-market data. On one side, dominating the market, I give you the Goliaths Point Carbon, a tentacle of the Thomson Reuters kraken, providing "independent news, analysis and consulting services for European and global power, gas and carbon markets," and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, doing much the same. On the other, I give you plucky little David eCO2Market, a Paris-based startup with an algorithmic sling.


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