Whatever happened to RGGI?

Remember all the fanfare and hoopla?  Remember how this new regional cap’ n trade market was going to prove–once and for all–that cap’ n trade was the way to go?  Remember?  Remember that?

Well, back then, I wrote that the whole thing was a mess and a sham in a post called “Are We Saving the World Yet? RGGI Starts and So Does the Spin.“  At that auction the credits had a market clearing price of $3.05 per ton–which as I noted then, was $257 per ton less than dry grass.  I said that people would buy the credits as investments because they thought it was safer than putting their money into banks which seemed to be dropping like flies at the time.  (really, you should read my post.)

Anyway, so here we are in February 2010.  So how’s good ole’ RGGI doing?  According to CarbonPoint

Barclays Capital estimates the weighted average clearing price across all of the 2009 auctions was $2.78.

A broker predicted the average clearing price for 2010 allowances will be in the much lower $1.95-$2.05 range.

So, I guess that’s kinda like saying brokers have been making commissions, but no one has stopped emitting GHGs because of the thing.

Really, if the “success” of the program is that money is being raised to fund “clean energy” projects–which is the new spin being pushed by the RGGI folks–tell me again why do we need all of the problems that trading schemes bring?  (See, for example this recent New York Times article “Fraud Besets E.U. Carbon Trade System“)  Why not just assess a fee on dirty energy and use it to support clean energy?

So, really, are we saving the world yet?


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