Monday, March 30, 2009

The Climate Exchange

At the Chicago Climate Exchange, you can trade your time share condo in the crappy North East for one with year-round jogging weather in Southern California. Ha -- no just kidding.

It will pay you not to grow crops.
By not tilling his 800 acres, Woollen by some estimates keeps 470 tons of carbon per year in the ground and out of the atmosphere. Because of that, Woollen gets carbon credits he can sell on the Chicago Climate Exchange. At first, neighboring farmers were skeptical. “They called me a tree-hugger,” Woollen said. “Then I showed them my first check.” Woollen gets about $3,000 a year from the climate exchange’s carbon-trading pilot program.
Here is another head scratcher:

In the western Virginia town of Christiansburg, the operators of a landfill sell carbon offsets tied to a project that captures methane, a powerful greenhouse pollutant, and burn it in a tall orange flare. They've made $43,000 on the Chicago Climate Exchange in just a couple of months.

But that project was put in long before the offsets were sold and for a different reason: to keep dangerous gases from accumulating in a capped landfill. So if the offset market dried up completely?

Nothing would change.

The money "is gravy to us right now," said Alan Cummins, executive director of the regional authority that runs the landfill. Even without it, he said, "we would always continue to flare."
The Chicago Climate Exchange trades in emissions of six gases: Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons. I'm pretty sure that mixture is quite close to my own flare. Should I start lighting up?

The carbon-offset idea is founded on the notion that carbon emissions are greenhouse gasses which are related to current global warming -- a debunked hypothesis. Since there is no evidence for greenhouse caused global warming, the carbon-offset is really a carbon-rip-off-set.

Then, there was this gem. My buddy in Des Moines, Iowa, says his neighbor Ed received a check from the government for over $1,000 for not raising hogs. He thinks Ed is onto something and now my buddy wants to go into the "not raising hogs business" next year. He asks:

What I want to know is, what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on, and what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all governmental policies. I would prefer not to raise razorbacks, but if that is not a good breed not to raise, then I will just as gladly not raise Yorkshires or Durocs.

As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be in keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven't raised.

If anyone has words of wisdom on not raising hogs, I'll put you in touch.

On a related note, I heard that Obama is trading in hogs.

Conclusion: It is becoming insanely more and more profitable to not grow, not raise, not consume and not expend. Is this economic stimulus, Obama style?


Anonymous said...

Oh, God! For a 60-year-old "Old Phart" this could be better than Social Security.

"I'm pretty sure that mixture is quite close to my own flare. Should I start lighting up?"

Thanks! That was eye-wateringly funny.

Bob in Los Angeles said...

Thanks Anon -- Glad you enjoyed and thank you for the kind feedback.

OBloodyHell said...

> On a related note, I heard that Obama is trading in hogs.

No doubt Hillary put him onto a great deal. She's an expert who knows all about hog futures.

Obama should be careful, though, as he's just as subject to insider trading rules as anyone, and he's got lots of inside information on government pork.

OBloodyHell said...

Appareently, all you have to do is own enough land to make some excuse for not doing something, and you can now make money from it.

It seems to me that, if you did this right, you should be able to make a lot of money just by carefully deciding what you're not doing -- you can get some money from Ag for not growing corn there, some money from the carbon people for not growing hogs on the same land, and some more from both for not raising any dairy cows (thereby reducing both milk production and methane production).

Now if only we can get the DEA to offer money for not growing marijuana, we could really be rolling in the government money for not doing something.

Now if only they could figure out how this might apply to people who can't afford kids not having kids -- you know, pay them to NOT have kids, rather than paying them to HAVE more kids -- things might actually make some sense.

Bob in Los Angeles said...

I love the whole hog/pork/politician relationship. It is a shame the So-Called Mainstream Media simply accepts the status quo as the preferred one. The SCMM should be outraged that Obama borked his promises about bill signing, one after another:
1. No pork
2. 5-20 days of review
3. Responsible Spending
4. Blah Blah Blah

Oh yes and Hillary made 100k trading futures? BAHAWHAHHWHAWA

bobn said...

I am missing something here - where is the CCX money coming from? Are there really companies signing up for this, not making their targets, and paying to stay in, just for shareholder "good-will"? Can I get names, so I can sell them short? (Joke. The stock market is a corrupt farce.)

As far as gov't paying people not to grow stuff, that's been around forever. Big Ag benefits mightily.

OBloodyHell said...

> Big Ag benefits mightily.

Yes, but NOW it comes with *sprinkles* !!!

And everyone needs *sprinkles* !!

Carl said...


And we should end Ag subsidies too.