JPMorgan World Bank Veteran Leaves Saying CO2 Trading ‘Died Out’
2011-11-23 07:30:29.842 GMT
By Ben Sills
Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) — Odin Knudsen, the JPMorgan Chase &
Co. managing director for environmental markets, resigned last
month as the largest U.S. lender scaled back its climate-related
Knudsen, 68, left the New York-based lender by mutual
agreement after it became apparent the U.S. was not going to
join a global system to trade carbon emissions, undermining the
bank’s business plans, he said in a Nov. 21 telephone phone
interview. JPMorgan spokesman Brian Marchiony in London declined
“We’d all been geared up for the U.S. coming on board at
some point,” Knudsen said. “The market pretty much died out.”
Knudsen, once headed the World Bank Carbon Fund, is the
second senior carbon markets banker to announce his departure
this month after emissions credits and clean power stocks
plunged in 2011. Investors deserted those markets as the United
Nations plan for a global emissions cap remains gridlocked and
European governments that subsidize most clean energy projects
are battered by the sovereign debt crisis.
Benchmark EU carbon-emission permits have dropped 36
percent this year while the Bloomberg Industry solar energy
stocks index has plunged 68 percent, undercutting investor
interest in buying research and advisory services.
The value of carbon trading fell 8 percent to 23.7 billion
euros ($32 billion) in the third quarter from the previous three
months as the price of European emission permits slumped,
according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.
UBS AG, the Swiss bank that lost $2.3 billion from
unauthorized trading this year, in September shut its climate-
change advisory practice and fired the staff, according to
former vice chairman of the securities unit Jon Anda, who ran
the team. Anda was fired along with his team.
Clean-energy analyst Ben Lynch left Commerzbank AG in the
past two months, according to spokeswoman Claire Tappenden. The
industry is being covered by Lauren Licuanan, a power analyst.
Knudsen, who worked 27 years at the World Bank before
joining JPMorgan on Sept. 11, 2007, originally planned to leave
earlier this year and was persuaded to stay on to assess the
bank’s own environmental impact.
By the time he quit the environmental markets business
“there were only a few of us left,” he said. The unit had
employed several “tens” of people around the world at its
height. He declined to give specific details of staffing numbers
because the information is confidential.
He plans to develop his own company, Real Options
International, offering carbon securities analysis, and may tap
the emissions market that California is due to start in 2013.
The U.S.’s failure to join a global market “was a large
disappointment,” Knudsen said. “You’re starting over again.”
For Related News and Information:
Levelized cost of energy: LCOE <GO>
Top environment stories: GREEN <GO>
Spain top stories: IBER <GO>
Global energy statistics: NRG <GO>
–With assistance from Catherine Airlie in London. Editors: John
Viljoen, Todd White
To contact the reporter on this story:
Ben Sills in Madrid at +34-91-700-9603 or
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at +44-20-7330-7862 or