China: We just gave Cambodia $1.2 billion because we're nice

China is denying that the $1.2 billion in aid that Vice President Xi Jinping pledged during a visit to Cambodia yesterday had anything to do with the fact that just hours earlier, the country deported 20 Uighur asylum speakers -- a move that Xi praised during the very same visit:

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman defended the deportations Tuesday, called the handling of the Uighurs an "internal affair" and said there were "no strings attached" to the aid package.

"According to my knowledge, some are suspected of criminal cases," Jiang Yu told a regularly scheduled news briefing. "Public security forces will handle the relevant outlaws. Their whereabouts, I have no information to offer you."




Market for carbon permits not warming

I'm seeing a lot of spin out there from environmental advocates and supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama about last weekend's climate-change denouement in Copenhagen. The gist of their argument is that the summit may not have been a smash success, but it was the beginning of a process that will lead to good things down the road.

I don't agree with this view -- I'm much more sympathetic to Michael Levi's realization that "the United Nations climate negotiations will never quite work" -- but I do respect those who hold it.

That said, here's one indication that Copenhagen was a huge disaster: As noted in today's Morning Brief, carbon prices took a major dive yesterday.

Prices for carbon permits for December 2010 delivery, the benchmark contract for pricing European permits, dropped nearly 10 per cent in early trading, before recovering to end the day 8.3 per cent lower at €12.41.

One dealer described the market as like “a falling knife” but said that a rise in European gas prices had helped to support the carbon market.

UN-backed certified emissions reductions for December 2010 delivery fell 7.9 per cent to a low of €10.89 a tonne, a six-month low.