Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cap-and-Trade Exchange Calls It Quits

See background from NYT, Energy Blog:

Cap-and-Trade Exchange Calls It Quits

The only national carbon cap-and-trade exchange in the United States is shutting down because of Congressional inaction on limiting emissions, company officials say.

The Chicago Climate Exchange is a voluntary but legally binding greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading system modeled after a federal cap-and-trade program from the 1980s that successfully curbed emissions tied to acid rain.

Members of the exchange, which include DuPont, Motorola, I.B.M. and other major companies, agreed to binding emissions limits, with those who exceeded their limits required to buy credits from those who emitted less.

Activity on the exchange surged last year as Congressional Democrats crafted and then passed comprehensive cap-and-trade legislation, as the exchange was regarded as well positioned to serve as a central vehicle for the emissions trading envisioned by the law. But when a similar bill failed to gain traction in the Senate and was abandoned this year, interest dwindled and the price of its carbon credits crashed.
With climate legislation in the United States dead in the water for the foreseeable future, participants in the exchange have lost interest, said Jeffrey C. Sprecher, chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange, an operator of futures exchanges for agricultural, credit, currency and energy contracts that purchased the Chicago Climate Exchange in July 2010 for $600 million.

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