Imaginary exchange goes *poof*

By Ezra Levant  Toronto Sun

The Chicago Climate Exchange is shutting down at the end of the year.  Nobody’s buying carbon credits.

Right now, days go by when not a single trade is done. When trades are done, carbon dioxide sells for just five cents a tonIt’s over.

In related news, the Pixie Dust Exchange has plenty of eager sellers but still no buyers. And the opening of the unicorn exhibit at the zoo has been postponed indefinitely.

None of these things exist in real life. Except the Chicago Climate Exchange. It was given millions of dollars in start-up subsidies, including from Chicago’s Joyce Foundation when Barack Obama was a board member. Buying and selling imaginary carbon credits was going to lead us to a bold, green future, when people would pay billions — Al Gore said trillions! — to buy hot air.

If only Enron and Bernie Madoff had been smart enough to call their pyramid schemes “green funds.”

The Climate Exchange was created by a professor named Richard Sandor. In 2002, Time magazine called him a “Hero of the Planet” for that act.

But as the exchange’s own website suggests, companies bought and sold carbon as a public-relations exercise — to greenwash their operations in the eyes of the gullible media.

Big guns like Goldman Sachs bought a stake in the exchange hoping for far more. They were betting that with Obama in the White House, carbon trading would become mandatory under the Democrats’ “cap and trade” scheme. That was the plan Obama said would cause “the rise of the oceans to slow and the planet to heal.”

But that law died in the U.S. mid-term elections, the worst showing for Democrats since 1948. Carbon trading was one of the reasons: In a TV ad, Senate candidate Joe Manchin actually took a rifle and used the cap and trade bill as target practice.

And he won.

And he’s a Democrat.

Don’t worry about poor Prof. Sandor, though. The Investors Business Daily reports he managed to sell his stake in the exchange for $98.5 million.

Too bad the Exchange is being shut down. Because at five cents a ton, the entire oilsands, all 100 companies up there, could buy Al Gore’s good housekeeping seal of approval for just $1.5 million a year.

The exchange made it all seem so real. You could even buy or sell carbon dioxide with different “vintages” — that’s what they called hot air from various years — as if they were fine wines.

But $1.5 million is still a lot of money to spend buying an imaginary product — moral permission from foreigners to run our Canadian economy. That’s a lot less than the $2 billion carbon sequestration scheme proposed by the government of Alberta — a plan to bury pixie dust, or hot air, or maybe both, in the ground.

All of Canada’s carbon dioxide emissions combined were 734 megatons in 2008. At five cents a ton, that’s just $36.7 million to buy an indulgence for the whole country — for every car, factory, airplane and farting cow.

Just $36.7 million? That’s not much more than the travel budget for the Canadian delegation to the Copenhagen Conference and other global-warming parties last year.

Sure, it’s a shakedown. But it’s a pretty modest one. Just $1.10 per Canadian to push the mute button for a whole year on hysterical global-warming activists? That’s a bargain.

As the unloved Chicago Climate Exchange dies, a dangerous myth dies too: That carbon credits are worth anything, and that somehow trading these worthless, imaginary credits, could replace the jobs we’d kill in real industries.

No; carbon credits are a tax, a tax on environmental hysteria and appeasement-oriented companies. If Goldman Sachs can’t make money off them, no-one can.

Next time someone tells you that we’re all going to get rich off some government green scheme, tell them you’ve got a little climate exchange to sell them, and you’ll throw in a unicorn too.

— Read Levant’s blog at

7 thoughts on “Imaginary exchange goes *poof*

  1. Nobody calls it like Ezra!

    For all those mega-green-morons who think carbon sequestration is a good idea I have but two
    words to say:


    I’ll bet the windy-greenies will be to ignorant to even google it!


  2. I googled fischer-tropsch and discovered that the process can be used to generate fuels from sea water because sea water contains 140 times more Co2 than air. This could make wind power obsolete as an alternative energy source. I love it.

  3. The trick about cap&trade is that the public thinks it will be applied only to the big polluters like coal and oil power generation, but these companies simply pass the extra costs on to the consumer. In effect, Cap&trade on big polluters is really a cap&trade on you. Eventually we will all be carbon traders with the setting of carbon rationing or personal carbon credits. You’ll be issued a carbon credit card and you will buy carbon credits like you buy gas; buy it when the price is low, hold off when it’s high. I can’t wait to see my children issued their very own carbon credit card. How about you? It’s all ready to go.

    Read it here:

  4. Jeepers…

    Carbon makes up about 20% of -Us! That is one heluva lot more then seawater!

    Can we use the fischer-tropsch process on greenies to make fuel?

    No! We can’t do that!

    Nice thought though!



  5. We should wish the carbon displaced by renewables was only costing us $ 100/tonne. If displacing system-average emissions, on-shore wind has the cheapest implied carbon cost, at about $ 500/tonne. The most expensive is small solar, at close to $ 5,900/tonne. Crazy, though I DID hear something about green jobs …

  6. Green Dreams by strange bedfellows…

    Interesting Story — Mentions NBC — owned by GE

    On Sunday, NBC Universal launched its annual “Green Week,” as part of the company’s “Green is Universal” environmental awareness campaign.

    As NBC embarks on yet another week of “environmentally themed programming,” it falls to media watchdogs to point out the massive conflict presented by NBC parent company General Electric’s significant financial interests in the policies “Green Week” indirectly advances.

    GE spent millions of dollars on a venture whose profitability depends on policies that its media arm, NBC Universal, shills for under the guise of “environmental awareness.”

    And GE’s financial stake in left-wing climate legislation goes far beyond the current political nonstarter of cap and trade. The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney has reported extensively on GE’s investments in “green” technology:

    GE spends millions lobbying to protect and expand the cornucopia of wind subsidies that includes a “production tax credit” for wind farms, government mandates on utilities to buy wind power and local subsidies. In one case in upstate New York, the GE turbines will be powering a wind farm completed using eminent domain.

    GE’s coal gasification, solar power generation, electric cars and biodiesel businesses are the same: Consumers and investors acting with their own money would not patronize these technologies, but Congress, acting with your money, will. GE’s $20 million annual lobbying budget sees to it.

    GE has also launched a venture dealing in “greenhouse gas credits,” which are literally worthless until Congress starts limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Throw in the expensive but unattractive light bulbs they’ve convinced Congress to mandate, and the pattern is clear.


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