Friday, February 27, 2009

What will save the Earth and Wall Street?

A couple of recent articles in Wired and O'Reilly claim that technology for transparency, specifically XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language), is going to be crucial in saving the climate and also Wall Street. Go learn XBRL now!

In The Wired article, Daniel Roth suggests that XBRL

"...should become the lingua franca of every investment bank, hedge fund, pension fund, insurance company, and endowment fund. ... It is impossible to track any one loan in a CDO [collateralized debt obligation]; when it is combined and divided with other loans, it loses its independent identity... But if those mortgages and loans carried XBRL tags, and everybody who touched them along the way was required to use those tags as well, anyone would have been able to track their circuitous route through the financial industry and judge each CDO based on its actual content."
Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is a market for trading offsets of carbon and other climate related emissions, implementing the "trade" component of a "cap and trade" climate control scheme. As far as I understand, currently, CCX takes semi-manual submissions of trades via its website. However, it turns out XBRL can be used to automate carbon credit accounting and trading.

Kurt Cagle writes
"...think of each participant [of smart power grid] as a node in a network. At any given point, the state of that node - how much energy they have available for transmission at that point in time, how much energy they currently need to fulfill demands upon them - can be represented as an XBRL accounting document."
For more information, read the following recent articles

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