Whether Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs has committed a crime remains to be seen, but the investigation may well uncover the environmental lobby and its public figurehead. For nearly a decade, Goldman Sachs has been a quiet but major investor in cap and trade. And Goldman’s main investment partner has been Al Gore.
About a decade ago, Goldman executives recognized that personal fortunes could be made with the invention of a carbon trading system through the passage of a U.S. cap-and-trade bill. This area was well suited to Goldman Sachs, the architects behind the complex world of futures trading and exotic derivatives.
Goldman joined Al Gore in 2004 and capitalized his investment company, Generation Investment Management. Strangely for a man who was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Gore decided to register his company in London — not the United States.
In November 2004, Gore unveiled GIM. Standing at his side was David Blood, the CEO of Goldman Asset Management. Blood was to become his co-founder (the new company was quickly nicknamed “Blood & Gore”). It was established with the initial capital of $206 million, much of it from Blood clients at Goldman Sachs.
Gore also turned to Goldman Sachs guru (and later Bush Treasury Secretary) Henry Paulson to help him establish GIM. At the time, Paulson himself was an eco-warrior of sorts, serving as chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy.
Today, seven of Gore’s GIM chief partners are from Goldman Sachs. The company is now valued at $2.2 billion.
It doesn’t stop there. The Goldman Sachs/Gore team then established the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a new cap-and-trade carbon trading platform, and partnered with the UK-based Climate Exchange, Plc (CLE), a holding company listed on the London Stock Exchange. CLE does carbon trading in Europe. In late 2004, they also created the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFX).
Goldman is reported to have made an investment of $23 million in the venture. Between Gore and Goldman, they are the largest investors in the Chicago Climate Exchange, owning 20% of it.