Green Business: Selling Smoke

On Wall Street, people say anything can be sliced up and traded. A firm called Natsource proves the point

When Dawn Schrepel, an environmental and energy consultant in Washington, wanted to thank her 10 interns for a job well done, she bought each of them an unusual gift--a ton of carbon dioxide. "They were pretty surprised," she says, laughing. "And it took a little explanation." Schrepel, 33, bought the carbon dioxide not in giant tanks but on paper, through Natsource, an energy brokerage based in New York City.

Natsource trades not only standard commodities like coal and natural gas but also a new currency known as greenhouse-gas credits. These credits represent, in effect, the right to emit a certain amount...

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