Trading on Thin Air explains the methods used by the financial oligarchy in the past to extract the wealth of the nation and shows how the same strategy is being used today to subvert a movement for conservation and sustainability and harness it in order to create the next big bubble.
The carbon market is truly innovative. Although it works like any commodity market, what is being bought and sold does not exist.
The trade is not actually in carbon, but in not-carbon: in certificates establishing that so many tonnes of carbon dioxide (or the equivalent in other greenhouse gases) have not been emitted by the seller and may therefore be emitted by the buyer.
The purpose of setting up the market was, first, to establish a price for carbon and, second, to encourage efficient emissions reductions by allowing companies which would find it expensive to cut emissions to buy credits more cheaply. It has had some success on both count - some would argue too much on the second.