RIP: Carbon Trading

  • Date: 26/10/10

In a little reported move, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is ending carbon trading this year — the very purpose for which it was founded. CCX will remain open for business, however, as it transitions into the murky world of dealing in carbon offsets.

Outside of a report in Crain’s Chicago Business and a downplayed article in the pro-cap-and-trade publication Carbon Control News, the media has ignored the demise of the only voluntary U.S. effort at carbon trading.

CCX was sold earlier this year for $600 million to the New York Stock Exchange-listed IntercontinentalExchange (Symbol: ICE), an electronic futures and derivatives platform based in Atlanta and London. ICE also acquired the European Climate Exchange as part of the transacrtion. The ECX remains open to accomodate the Kyoto Protocol-required carbon trading among EU nations. The sale of CCX to ICE allowed climateers like Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and Goldman Sachs to cash out of investments in CCX.

At its founding in November 2000, some estimated that the size of CCX’s carbon trading market could reach $500 billion. The CCX was the brainchild of Richard Sandor who used $1.1 million in grants from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation to launch the CCX. Sandor received $98.5 million for his 16.5% stake in CCX when it was sold. Not bad for an idea that didn’t pan out.

Incredibly (but not surprisingly), although thousands of news articles have been published about CCX by the lamestream media over the years, a Nexis search revealed no news articles published about the demise of CCX in the five days since the CCX’s announcement.

With the demise of CCX carbon trading, only the still-pending Waxman-Markey bill is keeping cap-and-trade alive (technically, at least) in the U.S. According to JunkScience.com’s Cap-and-Trade Death Clock, however, Waxman-Markey only has about 68 days of life left before it, too, turns into a pumpkin.

Green Hell Blog, 26 October 2010

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