Mississippi Kemper coal Power PSCs Failed to Satisfy State Law Now Will Face More Exposure

The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling that approved construction of Southern Co’s USD 2.8 billion coal gasification project in Kemper County, Mississippi.

In a 9-0 voter, the state supreme court said the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s May 2010 approval of the project failed to satisfy state law and sent the case back to the PSC.

Source – Reuters

(www.steelguru.com)

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Mississippi Public Service Commissioners About to Be Exposed For Corruption On Kemper Power Plant

This is an example of corruption being, “above the law.”  The Mississippi Public Service Commissioners will not be able to provide proof that this plant is of public convenience and necessity because 1. It is experimental and is using unproven technology on a commercial scale. 2. Carbon capturing provides no benefit to the public and the ratepayers should not be required to pay for it, ever.

Would love to see them try to prove either one of these 2 issues.  It is illegal to gamble ratepayers’ money for a risky scam of carbon capture that fails to provide a public benefit nor is it the most cost effective.

 

The Mississippi Power will keep building Kemper County

Posted: Mar 16, 2012 3:12 PM CDT Updated: Mar 16, 2012 3:12 PM CDT

By Brad Kessie, News Director – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) –

Mississippi Power will keep building its new Kemper County Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle facility, despite a ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court to send the certification process back to the Public Service Commission.

“We are confident there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Commission’s approval of the Certificate,” said Jeff Shepard, company spokesman.

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling said the PSC didn’t provide details as to how it reached the decision it did.  That decision approved the certificate of public convenience and necessity Mississippi Power needed to build its Kemper County facility.

The Sierra Club appealed the PSC ruling to the Supreme Court, hoping to derail the $2.7 billion power plant, now under construction in Kemper County’s Liberty community. The environmental group argued the PSC broke the law by failing to lay out its reasoning clearly when it eased the financial terms under which Mississippi Power Co. could build what it calls Plant Ratcliffe.

Mississippi Power officials expect the PSC to rule on its behalf again.  “It is our hope and expectation that the Commission will address this expeditiously. We intend to continue construction of this facility to provide our customers with a sound energy future and unlock the facility’s substantial customer benefits,” Shepard said.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Cap and Trade by Stealth: U.S. States Partner With Foreign Governments

By Alex Newman   The New American

While Americans were battling cap-and-trade legislation at the national and international levels, global-warming alarmists were quietly building regional systems between state and local governments, private industry, and even foreign governments that basically achieve the same effect — higher energy prices for consumers and more money for governments.

The first and most prominent of these U.S. cap-and-trade systems is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). It was created not by the people through their legislatures, but by a so-called “Memorandum of Understanding” between state governors.

Consisting so far of 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — the scheme is described on the RGGI website as “the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Its board of directors consists primarily of each participating state’s top environmental bureaucrats.

The “Initiative” works by having each state cap its carbon dioxide emissions at a certain level, then auctioning off emissions permits to the highest bidder. Eventually, the CO2 limits will be reduced, causing increased energy prices as companies pass along the added costs to consumers. By 2018, the RGGI plans to reduce energy-sector emissions by 10 percent.

Thus far, the scheme has netted close to a billion dollars by selling “carbon credits” to utility companies and other firms in participating states, earning about $50 million through an auction held on December 1. The first auction was actually held in 2008, and there have been nine since then. Spoils from the emissions permits are then handed out by state governments to companies, environmental groups, and others.

Incredibly, the RGGI has managed to avoid public scrutiny of its operations by incorporating as a non-profit organization and leaving enforcement and regulation to the individual states. The corporation claims it does not have to respond to public requests for information since, technically, it is not actually a government entity.

But the corruption is already coming out in the open. “New Hampshire conservationists had high hopes for how $18 million in funding generated by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) might advance energy efficiency projects,” wrote columnist Fergus Cullen in the New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this year. “Unfortunately, cronyism and corporate welfare hallmark too many grants awarded by the Public Utilities Commission so far.”

Cullen’s piece details, among other things, the outrageous handouts to “environmental” front groups and big businesses that helped push the scheme through. For example, an activist group in New Hampshire called “Clean Air Cool Planet” was incorporated by out-of-state bigwigs to promote global-warming alarmism — including Al Gore’s discredited “documentary,” An Inconvenient Truth.

“Having helped create this pot of money, Clean Air was one of the first in line with its hand out so it can do more alarmist advocacy, paid for with public resources awarded by friends,” Cullen explains. The group has already received almost half of a million dollars. Another example cited by the columnist: “Yogurt on a mission” producer Stonyfield Farm, with $300 million in yearly sales, received nearly $150,000 to upgrade its air-conditioning system.

Money was basically shoveled out, “creating opportunities for the well-connected and the in-the-know” while “millions of dollars have gone out the window, wasted like heat leaking out of an uncaulked pane,” Cullen concludes.

But RGGI boss Jonathan Schrage — who after intense public pressure recently disclosed his salary of almost $170,000 per year — thinks the scheme is great. “I look forward to building RGGI Inc. into a dependable administrative ally of each state’s RGGI program,” Schrag said in a press release when he was appointed executive director. “The states have done tremendous work to develop the first CO2 cap-and-trade system in the U.S.”

Not everyone thinks so, though. And in an e-mail to supporters, the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise warned of even bigger problems to come. “RGGI is the prototype for more regional cap & tax entities,” wrote the organization’s executive vice president Ron Arnold. “Soon RGGI will expand to every state and stick you with astronomical energy prices.”

Arnold blamed the “corruptocrats in Washington” for the “gigantic waste of tax dollars,” adding that the “crooks behind RGGI must be exposed” and held accountable. He also said that, despite RGGI claims that it is “making a significant impact to combat the threat of global warming,” the data proves otherwise.

“The only impact RGGI has made so far is they have raised energy prices and created a slush fund for each member state,” Arnold explained. And according to his letter, “the fact that global warming isn’t even real” won’t prevent the “climate change scam” from spreading to other states. And he’s right — it’s already happening.

An even bigger and more ambitious effort that includes Canadian provinces — and even Mexican states — as “observers” is set to go into effect in 2012. Known as the Western Climate Initiative, the scheme is described on its official website as “a collaboration of independent jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.”

Among the participating “jurisdictions”: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and four Canadian provinces. So-called observers, “jurisdictions” that are likely to join soon, include six Mexican states, an additional six U.S. states, and another three Canadian provinces. The Western Climate Initiative, like the RGGI, was also created by an agreement between state governors — not legislatures.

A similar scheme for the American Midwest, under the banner of the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, is also set to enter into force in 2012. The agreement encompasses Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — for now. Three other U.S. states and one additional Canadian province are listed on the scheme’s website as “observers.”

One unifying factor between all the regional partnerships is the emphasis on promoting expansion and eventual federal — and even international — involvement. And in Cancun at the global warming summit, state and local-government leaders made it clear that they would continue marching forward with the anti-carbon dioxide schemes at the global level — no matter what the outcome of United Nations climate talks currently underway in Cancun.

“We are proving that while a global agreement is important, we do not need to wait for it to start building the path to a new low carbon future,” explained Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the co-chair of the States & Regions Alliance, during a summit at the COP16. “As our national counterparts meet here in Cancun to continue the negotiations, states and regions are continuing to show the leadership necessary to make practical headway on climate action.”

And this is all part of the broader global plan. The so-called “States and Regions Alliance” represented by Premier Charest — some 60 state and regional governments accounting for about 15 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product — is part of a shadowy but powerful international non-profit known as “The Climate Group.”

The organization works with the United Nations Development Program, the World Economic Forum, the Administrative Center for China’s Agenda 21, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other high-profile institutions, agencies and governments to advance the global climate agenda. And it promotes the implementation of global-warming schemes through “sub-national” levels of government — among other things.

“States, regions and cities are where the rubber hits the road in terms of practical action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote States and Regions Alliance co-chair and Quebec Premier Charest, along with his fellow co-chair, South Australia Premier Mike Rann.

“The UN Development Program estimates that 50 per cent to 80 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to keep climate change below 2C will need to be delivered at state, regional and city levels,” the co-chairs noted in their joint column for The Australian entitled ‘Think globally, act locally? States already are.’ “This is because regional governments often control regulation for many of the key areas for addressing climate change, such as power generation, the built environment, waste management, transport and land use planning.”

CEO of The Climate Group Steve Howard offered a similar analysis. “A clean industrial revolution is not only possible, but it is well underway in the world’s leading states, cities and regions,” he told COP16 attendees at the “Climate Leaders Summit” in Cancun Wednesday. “The subnational governments in our Alliance are not waiting for a global agreement but are forging agreements of their own to lead a growing global market for low-carbon goods and services already estimated at $4.7 trillion.”

Despite the U.S. Senate’s rejection of cap-and-trade legislation, the carbon-tax agenda is still being implemented in America and around the world. Using the Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama administration is moving forward on regulating emissions of carbon dioxide at the federal level. And through alliances and agreements between states and even foreign governments — unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution — those same forces are building a powerful and expensive carbon regime that could eventually encompass every state in the Union, and beyond.

For original text http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/5466-cap-and-trade-by-stealth-us-states-partner-with-foreign-governments

Thomas Fanning, the United Nations Promoter, Now on FED Reserve Bank Board

Thomas Fanning known for teaming up with population control whack-job Ted Turner to waste tax dollars in another solar scam  is now on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.  The corrupt continue to be promoted up in power as they comply with the United Nations Plans for Sustainable Development and the Kyoto Protocols.  Thomas Fanning CEO of Southern Company the parent company of Mississippi Power is involved in their own scams.

Southern Co. (SO) Chief Executive Thomas Fanning has been appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the company said Monday.

Fanning will serve the remainder of a term that began Jan. 1, 2010, and runs through Dec. 31 of this year.

Fanning is a Class C director, appointed by the Fed’s board of governors in Washington to represent commerce, industry, agriculture, labor or consumers.

Southern Co. received federal approval earlier this month to build the first new U.S. nuclear power plant in decades.

The company plans to build two new reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia near the South Carolina border and is waiting for the Department of Energy to close on an $8.3 billion loan guarantee after the company received a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this month.

Southern’s Georgia utility has estimated the project will cost more than $6 billion, to be split among the project’s owners. Southern, which will own 46% of the new reactors, expects to pay $2.2 billion.

Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities will own the rest of the project.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said earlier this month that he expected Southern to obtain the loan guarantee after the company got its construction and operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Green energy company given federal stimulus funds lays off 125 workers, gives pay raise to executives

Green energy company given federal stimulus funds lays off 125 workers, gives pay raise to executives

 

Published February 26, 2012 | FoxNews.com

 

An electric car battery company reportedly has laid off 125 employees since receiving $390 million in government subsidies, but is still handing out big pay raises to company executives.

A123 systems, which was touted as a stimulus “success story” by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., had a net loss of $172 million through the first three quarters of 2011, according to the Washington Examiner’s “Beltway Confidential” blog, citing a report from the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

A123’s primary customer, Fisker Automotive, is also struggling financially. “Yet, this month A123’s Compensation Committee approved a $30,000 raise for [Chief Financial Officer David] Prystash just days after Fisker Automotive announced the U.S. Energy Department had cut off what was left of its $528.7 million loan it had previously received.”

This month has seen significant pay boosts for other A123 executives, as well, including vice presidents Robert Johnson and Jason Forcier.

The raises were reported by the company in its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the Mackinac report.

“It looks highly suspicious,” Paul Chesser, associate fellow for the National Legal & Policy Center, told Mackinac. “It looks like they are trying to pad their top people’s wallets in case something really bad happens.”

New Electric Smart Meters in Mississippi Can Be Removed or Blocked

Use the letter below to forbid smart meter installation (or modify the letter to demand the meter be removed).

From:
Energy Customer’s Name
Street Address
City State Zip

To:
Energy Provider
Street Address
City State Zip

Date of letter

NOTICE OF NO CONSENT TO TRESPASS AND SURVEILLANCE, NOTICE OF LIABILITY

Dear (Energy Provider) and all agents, officers, employees, contractors and interested parties,

If you intend to install a “Smart Meter” or any activity monitoring device at the above address, you and all other parties are hereby denied consent for installation and use of all such devices on the above property. Installation and use of any activity monitoring device is hereby refused and prohibited. Informed consent is legally required for installation of any surveillance device and any device that will collect and transmit private and personal data to undisclosed and unauthorized parties for undisclosed and unauthorized purposes. Authorization for sharing of personal and private information may only be given by the originator and subject of that information. That authorization is hereby denied and refused with regard to the above property and all its occupants. “Smart Meters” and digital meters violate the law and cause endangerment to residents by the following factors:
1. They individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy.
2. They monitor household activity and occupancy in violation of rights and domestic security.
3. They transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants.
4. Data about occupant’s daily habits and activities are collected, recorded and stored in permanent databases which are accessed by parties not authorized or invited to know and share that private data by those who’s activities were recorded.
5. Those with access to the smart meter databases can review a permanent history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants.
6. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, corrupt law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance.
7. “Smart Meters” are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.
8. It is possible for example, with analysis of certain “Smart Meter” data, for unauthorized and distant parties to determine medical conditions, sexual activities, physical locations of persons within the home, vacancy patterns and personal information and habits of the occupants.
9. Your company has not adequately disclosed the particular recording and transmission capabilities of the smart meter, or the extent of the data that will be recorded, stored and shared, or the purposes to which the data will and will not be put.
10. Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency energy contamination from smart meters exceeds allowable safe and healthful limits for domestic environments as determined by the EPA and other scientific programs.

I forbid, refuse and deny consent of any installation and use of any monitoring, eavesdropping, and surveillance devices on my property, my place of residence and my place of occupancy. That applies to and includes “Smart Meters” and activity monitoring devices of any and all kinds. Any attempt to install any such device directed at me, other occupants, my property or residence will constitute trespass, stalking, wiretapping and unlawful surveillance and endangerment of health and safety, all prohibited and punishable by law through criminal and civil complaints. All persons, government agencies and private organizations responsible for installing or operating monitoring devices directed at or recording my activities, which I have not specifically authorized in writing, will be fully liable for a fee of $100,000.00 for any violations, intrusions, harm or negative consequences caused or made possible by those devices whether those negative consequences are provided by “law” or not.

This is legal notice. After this delivery the liabilities listed above may not be denied or avoided by parties named and implied in this notice. Civil Servant immunities and protections do not apply to the installation of smart meters due to the criminal violations they represent.

Notice to principal is notice to agent and notice to agent is notice to principal. All rights reserved.

Signature

Smart Meter

Smart Meter (Photo credit: Duke Energy)

 

United Nations Environmental Program Bureaucrat Lays Out Green Economy Agenda

This is not our original thought or idea, nor is it one man’s opinion. The United Nation‘s Sustainable Development plans also named Agenda 21 by the U.N.,  is based on false science and will cost us everything especially our freedom.  PLEASE begin to learn for yourself.  Until you have determined your own opinion and done your own research you will not understand what we as Americans are up against.

Southern Company with Mississippi Power united with a foreign government agency United Nations following the Kyoto Protocols that will bring hardship to American families.

agency (United Nations) to destroy the economy of this nation.


United Nations Environmental Program Bureaucrat Lays Out Green Economy Agenda

United Nations Environmental Program Bureaucrat Lays Out Green Economy Agenda

February 6,2012

Achim Steiner, the U.N. bureaucrat who heads up the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) lays out his green economy plan — and touts government “stimulus programs” to create “green jobs.” At least 100 nations are pushing for expanded powers for the UNEP to control the world’s economies.

Sierra Club took $26 million from natural gas lobby to battle Mississippi Power’s Lignite Coal Plant

This battle has more to do with the destruction of America’s economy and energy than the environmental issues of coal. This is Sustainable Development through the United Nations  and will be the end of America IF we don’t stop it.  The first step is for us to learn more about it and see for yourself, know for yourself, then decide what action you can do.

Start here.   http://www.freedomadvocates.org/

Sierra Club took $26 million from natural gas lobby to battle coal industry

12:45 AM 02/04/2012

A Time magazine blogger reported Thursday that the Sierra Club, America’s oldest and most august environmental organization, accepted millions of dollars in donations from one of the nation’s biggest natural gas-drilling companies for a program lambasting coal-fired power plants as environmental evildoers.

The total take for John Muir’s conservation group? A whopping $26 million over four years from Chesapeake Energy and its subsidiaries, mostly through Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon.

The news rocked the environmental movement, sent the Sierra Club headlong into explanation mode, angered coal companies that the organization targeted with natural gas money, and had free-market advocates shaking their heads.

The episode “raises concerns about influence industry may have had on the Sierra Club’s independence and its support of natural gas in the past,” wrote Time’s Bryan Walsh.

The Daily Caller asked Chesapeake Energy spokesman Jim Gipson whether his company’s donations were made with the expectation that the Sierra Club would attack the coal industry, and whether the company has subsidized other green groups that oppose generating electricity by burning coal. Gipson did not respond to the email.

The Sierra Club launched its “Beyond Coal” campaign in 2001 on a shoestring budget, aiming to shut down as many coal-fired power plants as it could. McClendon’s money appears to have helped that campaign during a critical time when it was firing on all cylinders, lobbying against new power plant construction and working to close existing facilities, all the while hammering clean-coal advocates and blaming “big coal” for mercury pollution, asthma and assorted unforgivable ecological sins.

In 2007, the natural gas industry was also engaged in trying to persuade the federal government that its product was a more environmentally benign alternative to coal. Having the Sierra Club as a compatriot didn’t hurt.

“Back in 2007,” Gipson told Time, “Chesapeake and the Sierra Club had a shared interest in moving our nation toward a clean energy future based on the expanded use of natural gas, especially in the power sector.”

The company made its Faustian bargain with the Sierra Club’s then-leader Carl Pope, whose replacement Michael Brune put an end to it more than a year ago and refused an additional $30 million of Chesapeake’s money. The green group likely found that bitter financial pill easy enough to swallow, however, after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $50 million from his personal philanthropy in July 2011 for the anti-coal program.

On the Sierra Club’s blog Thursday, Brune explained his organization’s past lapse of judgment, saying “[t]he idea was that we shared at least one common purpose — to move our country away from dirty coal.”

But that was then. When the Chesapeake dollars began flowing five years ago, the natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking,” in industry-speak — had not yet become the environmental movement’s bête noire.

Now, Brune quickly added, “It’s time to stop thinking of natural gas as a ‘kinder, gentler’ energy source.”

A Charleston, West Virginia-based business newspaper reported that a Friday morning meeting of the West Virginia Coal Association ended with a new accusation of undue influence by natural gas industry insiders.

Kentucky Coal Association president Bill Bissett told the meeting that Chesapeake has also funded the American Lung Association’s Clean Air Initiative. The result, he said, is that the lung health group has attacked the coal and oil lobbies while leaving the natural gas industry alone.

Scott Rotruck, Chesapeake’s vice president of corporate development and state government relations, holds a seat on the American Lung Association’s board. The association’s Clean Air Initiative website currently features a large Chesapeake Energy logo and describes a $500,000 matching-gift pledge by the company.

Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Chris Horner told TheDC that the natural gas industry’s financial support “apparently dictated, as opposed to followed,” the Sierra Club’s advocacy work.

“Here we see the group being paid so much money I have no idea how they could possibly spend it all, to tout gas, block — according to their own boasts — more than 100 coal plants and now force closure of many existing plants. Only to no longer receive support and coincidentally find gas to be a very, very bad thing. Huh.”

Food and Water Watch, another environmental group with a strong position against natural-gas fracking, declined to comment.

Ron Arnold, the executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, told TheDC that the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign is a divide-and-conquer tactic to convince electric utilities to use natural gas instead of coal. But by 2010, he said, with the Sierra Club nearing its goal of making coal-derived power production burdensome and prohibitively expensive, “it backed out of the gas deal and suddenly refused to take any more dirty money.”

“How long will the Sierra Club’s grassroots members put up with this?” Arnold asked.

National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovich was livid Friday, blasting the Sierra Club for “both its hypocrisy and its incompetence.”

“[I]ts support for gas as the bridge fuel has ironically dampened investment in renewable energy which the Club claims to support,” Popovich told the Platts energy newswire. “With friends like the Sierra Club, the renewable energy industry doesn’t need any enemies.”

At the helm of a crisis of confidence, the Sierra Club’s Brune may find himself with a shrinking pool of allies after President Obama fondly name-checked natural gas in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address.

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years,” Obama said, “and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.”

“Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. … The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/04/sierra-club-took-26-million-from-natural-gas-lobby-to-battle-coal-industry/#ixzz1lfqTeXVX

The Green Movement is a joke

Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk is Southern Company’s Mississippi Power Latest Cap-And-Trade Setback

Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk In Latest Cap-And-Trade Setback: ‘A major European bank closed its US carbon trading business this week in sign that 2012 is a “make-or-break” year for cap-and-trade’

By

A major European bank closed its US carbon trading business this week in a sign that 2012 is a “make-or-break” year for cap-and-trade programs designed to fight climate change.

London-based Barclays determined the US carbon market, currently comprised of a handful of states, is too small to justify the expense of a dedicated trading desk in New York, according to sources familiar with the decision. Barclays was a major player in US greenhouse-gas trading programs on the East and West coasts and remains active in Europe’s carbon market, the largest in the world. Seth Martin, a Barclays spokesman, declined to comment.

Barclays Global Investors headquarters on Howa...

Image via Wikipedia

“That is not good news for carbon-dioxide trading, especially not in the US,” says Gary Hart, a market analyst for ICAP Energy and a veteran pollution-rights trader. “There’s such uncertainty around the use of carbon cap-and-trade programs.”

The carbon cap-and-trade concept, which regulates the greenhouse gases linked to climate change by letting companies buy and sell pollution allowances, has suffered a major reversal of fortune since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. Obama pushed Congress to create a national carbon market, by some estimates worth roughly $100 billion a year. The proposed market, similar to the European Union Emissions Trading System, caught the attention of major financial institutions, such as Barclays and JP Morgan, which saw U.S.-issued carbon allowances as a potentially lucrative new commodity.

“2012 could possibly be the make-or-break year” – Hart

But Obama later backed away from cap-and-trade when it floundered in the US Senate. That left a state-run carbon market in the US Northeast, where prices have crashed by more than 40 percent since 2008 and one of its members, New Jersey, quit the program entirely. Another state-level carbon market, estimated to be worth about $9 billion a year, was scheduled to start in California this year. But it was delayed until 2013 amid a legal challenge from environmental-justice activists who oppose carbon trading.

Even Europe’s carbon cap-and-trade program, in place since 2005, has been rocked by tax-fraud and computer-hacking scandals. Since Obama’s election, carbon prices there have plummeted about 60%, according to Paris-based environmental-trading exchange BlueNext, amid weak economic growth.

After a troubled few years on both sides of the Atlantic, carbon cap-and-trade advocates need to start turning things around this year, Hart says. “2012 could possibly be the make-or-break year,” he says.

Cap-and-trade supporters can already look forward to some wins in 2012. Australia plans to start a carbon tax in July, which will transition to a carbon market over three years, and Europe’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases is expanding to include emissions from aircraft. In the US Northeast, the states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are conducting a comprehensive review of their cap-and-trade market this year, and may recommend changes that lead to higher carbon prices.

But Hart says carbon-market observers will mostly be watching California this year to see if its environmental officials stick with the revised 2013 start date for the state’s cap-and-trade program. Few things could boost the carbon cap-and-trade concept more than the active involvement of California, the most populous U.S. state and ninth-largest economy in the world, Hart says. “That would keep it on life support, at least,” he says.

Here

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