Carbon Trade Ends on Quiet Death of Chicago Climate Exchange

By John O’Sullivan

Republican mid-term election joy deals financial uncertainty among green investors as the Chicago Climate Exchange announces the end of U.S. carbon trading.

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced on October 21, 2010 that it will cease carbon trading this year. However, Steve Milloy reporting on Pajamasmedia.com (November 6, 2010) finds this huge story strangely unreported by the mainstream media.

To some key analysts the collapse of the CCX appears to show that international carbon trading is “dying a quiet death.” Yet Milloy finds that such a major business failure has drawn no interest at all from the mainstream media. Milloy noted that a “Nexis search conducted a week after CCX’s announcement revealed no news articles published about its demise.”

Not until November 02, 2010 had the story even been picked up briefly and that was by Chicagobusiness.com (Crain’s). Reporter, Paul Merrion appeared to find some comfort that while CCX will cease all trading of new emission allowances at the end of the year, “it will continue trading carbon offsets generated by projects that consume greenhouse gases, such as planting trees.”

Collapse is Personal Setback for U.S. President

Barack Obama was a board member of the Joyce Foundation that funded the fledgling CCX. Professor Richard Sandor, of Northwestern University had started the business with $1.1 million in grants from the Chicago-based left-wing Joyce Foundation enthusiastically endorsed by Obama. When founded in November 2000, CCX’s carbon trading market was predicted to grow anywhere between $500 billion and $10 trillion. Fortunately before its collapse Sandor was able to net $98.5 million for his 16.5% stake when CCX was sold.

Failure of European Climate Market May Follow

Milloy writes, “although the trading in carbon emissions credits was voluntary, the CCX was intended to be the hub of the mandatory carbon trading established by a cap-and-trade law. Trading carbon was, the only purpose for which it was founded.” But with their resurgence after the mid-terms the Republicans have now put a new cohort of global warming skeptics into the corridors of power.

Unlike the American voluntary scheme, the European cousin of the CCX, the European Climate Exchange (ECX), continues to trade due to the mandatory carbon caps of the Kyoto Protocol. But the future of the ECX will be in doubt unless a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol is introduced. That treaty expires in 2012. But the ineffectual Copenhagen Climate Conference (2009) exposed an inability among international politicians to agree on climate change. If this stalement persists then the European ECX may likely suffer the same fate as Chicago’s CCX.

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