Good news: Layoffs! 

New job losses would not ordinarily qualify as good news, but Reuters reports that a lack of Senate action on cap-and-trade legislation is forcing the Chicago Climate Exchange to lay off about half of its remaining “really talented” 50-employee staff.

The first round of layoffs by owner Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which acquired CCX in April for $604 million, began July 23 when about 20 people were let go. Employees were reportedly told that the American marketplace for carbon credits was being “restructured.”

The only surprise is that Richard Sandor, who founded CCX in 2003 and was dubbed a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” in 2007, is being retained as an advisor. “Voluntary” trading of greenhouse gas emissions on CCX has all but dried up and prices have plunged from a high of over $7 per ton in 2008 to just 10 cents now, making recent stock market losses look rosy by comparison. Not exactly what Sandor, who once predicted a $10 trillion worldwide carbon market, expected would happen.

The biggest losers have been CCX’s two biggest investors — Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and Goldman Sachs — and President Obama, who helped launch CCX with funding from the Joyce Foundation, where he and presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett once sat on the board of directors.

More good news: As I reported in April, Fannie Mae owns a patent to operate a residential cap-and-trade program on CCX. Barring last minute, lame duck passage of President Obama’s energy bill, the mortgage giant will not be profiting from your higher energy bills.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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