Chicago Green Jobs

Chicago Climate Exchange, Are You Ready For Your Close Up?
February 28, 2009, 2:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The hot topic around the water cooler today: is our very own Chicago Climate Exchange going to become America’s official greenhouse-gas emission trading system?

For those of you who don’t obsessively follow budget news, here’s the deal: the budget blueprint Obama just sent to Congress projects ten years out, and his numbers assume that we’ll be getting $78.7 billion in revenue from a greenhouse-gas cap-and-trade market by 2012. It’s the job of Congress to send Obama a bill creating such a system, and with the revenues due in just four years they don’t have any time to shilly-shally. What does this mean for Chicago? More after the jump.

The good news is that the CCX has been up and running since 2002 – it’s the only legally binding system for companies seeking to offset their greenhouse-gas emissions in North America.  No need to reinvent the wheel, is there? Of course, tell that to New York’s Green Exchange. The Green Exchange launched this year and, according to its website,  “offers the broadest slate of environmental risk management and trading products, backed by the New York Mercantile Exchange, the world’s largest physical commodities exchange.”

And that’s the key, really – creating a greenhouse-gas “cap-and-trade” system really means inventing a whole new commodity: permits to pollute.  Obama’s budgets anticipates that this new commodity market will generate a total of $645 .7 billion by 2019. That is a lot of dough, and there are a lot of people and organizations who are going to be angling for a piece of the pie.

CCX is well positioned, but there are a lot of ways a federal cap-and-trade system could be constructed. And that’s assuming that the bill will pass Congress.  Fortunately, in a move of extreme cleverness Obama has already outlined how those billions will be spent in his budget:  tax cuts for the middle and low-income earners, cash to offset the rising energy costs that may result from the new system, and investment in green energy. It’s going to be hard to argue against a system that will skim off the top of Exxon’s record-breaking profits AND fund tax cuts for the cash-strapped Americans who spend huge chunks of their paychecks at the pump.


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