30 Apr 2010, 11:22pm
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Obama’s Climate Change Initiative (Cap and Trade) = Friends In High Places?

Key Obama Climate Change Exchange Being Swayed by Top U.N. Officials

Five members of the Chicago Climate Exchange advisory board are present or former top-ranking U.N. officials — including one who received $1 million from a convicted South Korean lobbyist in the Oil for Food scandal.

By Edward Barnes, RomanticPoet.com, April 20, 2009 [here]

A greenhouse gases trading system funded with the support of then-Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama, which is likely to play a major role in his $650 million cap-and-trade initiative, lists five present or former top-ranking U.N. officials on its advisory board who’ve had enormous influence over climate change matters — including one who received $1 million from a convicted South Korean lobbyist.

The most controversial figure of the five, Maurice Strong, was one of former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s key aides at the U.N. for years until the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal forced him to leave. Since then Strong has lived mostly in China. Calls to the exchange for comment about Strong’s role, and that of other U.N. figures, were not returned.

The Climate Exchange, which began operations in 2003, provides trading in carbon emissions and their offsets, along with those of other greenhouse gases, is among a group of companies and institutions that voluntarily participate in the program. It bills itself as the only voluntary, legally binding exchange of its kind in North America. Among its member companies are Ford, DuPont and United Technologies as well as a number of electric utilities; other participants include the City of Chicago and Miami-Dade County.

In the latest budget submitted to Congress last month, President Obama proposed backing cap and trade as the nation’s primary response to reduce global warming; a bill with that aim has also been submitted in the House of Representatives. Under the cap and trade plan a fixed number of carbon producing “permissions” would be made available to manufacturing and other industries each year; the totals would be reduced over time, forcing down the overall total of carbon dioxide emissions.

To meet their targets, companies would either have to cut production of the offending carbon-based gases or buy “offsets,” or credits from companies that do not reach their allowed levels or actively create projects that reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Offsets also include planting trees and other activities that remove carbon from the atmosphere. However it is used, the scheme is guaranteed to boost the cost of fossil and other gas producing forms of energy in the U.S., as well as the costs of every economic sector that relies on that energy.

The likelihood of cap and trade or a similar scheme being enacted got a significant boost last week, when the Environmental Protection Agency officially announced that greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health and welfare via global warming, a prelude to official regulation of the emissions.

The Chicago Climate Exchange is the brainchild of Richard Sandor, an economics professor who has worked for the both the Chicago Mercantile Association and the Chicago Board of Trade. Known as “Mr. Derivative,” for his work in creating interest rate futures markets, Sandor first proposed the creation of the climate exchange in 2000, just before the signing of the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gas reduction.

Initial funding of almost $1 million which was crucial to the exchange’s launch came in 2000 and 2001 from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, whose board of directors, which approved the funding, included Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator.

Paula DiPerna, the Joyce Foundation’s president at the time funding was approved, became the Climate Exchange’s vice president by the time the foundation gave a second, and larger, tranche of money to the budding venture. Barack Obama, by that time an Illinois state legislator, was still on the foundation board.

Along with Maurice Strong, the other current or former U.N. officials on the climate exchange’s 18-member advisory board are: Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former head of the UN Environmental Program (UNEP); Rajenra Pachauri, head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Michael Jammit Cutajar, former executive director of the U.N. Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC); and Thomas Lovejoy, former science adviser to UNEP and currently senior adviser to the president of the U.N. Foundation, which was originally founded with a $1 billion gift from CNN founder Ted Turner. The foundation calls itself “an advocate for the U.N. and a platform for connecting people, ideas and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems.” … [more]



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