When Goldman Sachs joined some of its Wall Street rivals in late 2005 in secretly packaging a new breed of offshore securities, it gave prospective investors little hint that the deals were so risky that they could end up losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Not only were investors buying shaky securities backed by mortgages, but they also were agreeing to pay Goldman if the risky home loans nose-dived in value — as Goldman was betting they would.
Editor's note: This will be the last Morning Brief this week. We will resume next Monday. Happy holidays fom FP.
Top Story: Just days after countries agreed to a face-saving agreement at the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen, accusations have begun to fly about who was responsible for the disappointing conference. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva criticized the United States for failing to commit for emissions reductions. South African negotiators, who participated in the drafting of the final agreement, nonetheless attacked it as "not acceptable."
E.U. environment ministers will meet today to discuss how to proceed in the wake of the Copenhagen "disaster." Writing in the Guardian on Sunday, British climate secretary Ed Miliband accused China of having "hijacked" the proceedings for its own goals. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman responded that Miliband's accusations were just a way "to shirk responsibilities that should be assumed towards developing countries."
At least one minister seemed happy with how the talks turned out. Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh told parliament that India had been able to resist international pressure to agree to binding emissions cuts. The markets were less upbeat with carbon prices plunging on the European exchange on Monday.
He's back: Controversial Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's approval ratings are increasing again after his nose was broken by a mentally disturbed man last week.
-By Joshua Keating