I want to consider the poetic quality of this recent, brief news piece, which I offer in full:

Greyhound ends short life in carbon trade

Published: 11 Nov 2010 17:59 CET Last updated: 11 Nov 2010 18:35 CET

CO2 trading house Greyhound Energy Markets has stopped trading, one of its owners said Thursday.

The London-based day trader, which started operations in March this year, is no longer actively buying and selling carbon due to a lack of volatility in the markets, said Brett Stacey, chief executive officer of Carbon Desk, a carbon broker that owned 33 per cent of the company.

“If the markets improve we could start trading again. There is no volatility and there is no volume and as traders you have to make money,” Stacey said.

“We never made any money and we never lost any money,” he added, saying Carbon Desk provided loans to the company to start trading.

Gerry Vlam and Simon Gadd, who were both previously with Saxon Financials, have both stopped trading for Greyhound.

Vlam is now a broker at Tullett Prebon.

By Andrew Allan – aal@pointcarbon.com


Terse and almost bereft, the note reads like a death announcement in a medieval chronicle, the genre Hayden White described as such:

‘Chronicles are, strictly speaking, open-ended. In principle they have no inaugurans; they simply ‘begin’ when the chronicler starts recording events. And they have no culminations or resolutions; they can go on indefinitely’ (1975: 6).

For White it is a bit of a negative description. He develops a rhetorical analysis of the chronicle in order to frame his ‘metahistory’–his analysis of history writing as a genre driven by origins, plot and narrative development.

Here we find financial traders lost in history, nearly ignored by it. “There is no volatility and there is no volume…. We never made any money and we never lost any money.” Adrift on the open seas of climate policy-making, waiting out the doldrums, hoping for the trade winds that were promised by Copenhagen.

We have the key facts of the matter, namely who has invested, what has happened to the people involved, whether they have been reabsorbed into other spaces. Yet drama pervades the written form no doubt deliberately through the metaphor of death juxtaposed against the ambiguous pathos of discovering one’s existence is irrelevant.

Paul Rabinow (2003: 86) takes up the genre of the chronicle in his Anthropos Today, as a matter of reflecting on the role of anthropological narrative once overarching theoretical gestures have fallen aside, and–perhaps most relevantly–when critical elements of his topic of study, genomics, are reported in precisely such a way. The audience here must be counted on to drive the relevance of such a report. Indeed it comes from Point Carbon, a trade journal with an annual subscription rate of nearly $1000us.

For Rabinow, the form of the chronicle enables a space for thinking about work as a practice of disciplined emergence in light of the biotech informants he found most compelling to engage with.

“By definition such persons needed to be reflective and pragmatically concerned about their changing situation. That organizational and human evaluation of self and others produced wonderful informants. One might call them ‘technicians of the tentative’” (87).

This entry trembles with the uncertainties of climate change as an event. Read with an eye from the carbon markets, it marks the folly of overambition that thundered through Copenhagen in December of 2009, a riot of commercial aspiration for a new green economy.

But I received the article from a radical activist email list. From that view one can hear the irony of a venture that missed its mark, and the sigh of nervous relief from those who fear the rise of carbon cowboys whose who expertise is only to create and ride financial volatility.

Eschewing interpretation, the business genre qua chronicle leaves the text open as much as possible with the full recognition that audiences will interpret as they are apt to. Like a clear glass, what is visible is mostly one’s own expectation.

But what happened to Simon Gadd?