CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDUP: Federal Commission Investigates Chicago Climate Exchange

By Published On: August 21, 2009

Using its authority to review whether markets perform a significant price discovery function, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission August 17 said it is investigating whether the Chicago Climate Exchange is transparent enough to prevent price manipulation. Carbon offset credits are voluntarily traded in the Chicago market. “The CFTC’s significant price discovery function authority helps to promote transparency and guard against fraud, manipulation, and other abuses,” said commission chair Gary Gensler. * * * * * A Congressional investigation discovered five new letters fraudulently sent without consent to Congress on a key energy and climate vote. The new letters purported to represent elderly services organizations and senior centers. Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) released the letters August 18 as part of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming’s ongoing investigation into the extent of fraudulent letters allegedly sent by Bonner & Associates--a so-called “astroturf” group subcontracted by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. The group allegedly sent the letters to influence members of Congress on the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, HR 2454, recently passed by the House. The latest five letters brings the total number of fraudulent letters to 13, now representing 9 different community groups. They were posed to appear as if they were sent by groups representing senior citizen services like the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging. Previous letters already made public were from the Charlottesville NAACP chapter, Creciendo Juntos, a Hispanic advocacy organization, the Jefferson Area Board on Aging, and the American Association of University Women. The letters released this week are also the first ones sent to Pennsylvania Representatives Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) and Christopher Carney (D-PA), along with Tom Perriello (D-VA). * * * * * Reconstructions of past hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean indicate that the most active hurricane period in the past was during the “Medieval Climate Anomaly,” a warm period about a thousand years ago. During that period, climate conditions created a “perfect storm” of cold La Niña-like conditions in the eastern Pacific Ocean combined with warm tropical Atlantic waters, according to an article published August 13 in Nature. “Hurricane activity since the mid-1990s is the highest in the historical record, but that only goes back a little more than a century and is most accurate since the advent of air travel and satellites in recent decades,” said Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State University. “It is therefore difficult to assess if the recent increase in hurricane activity is in fact unusual.” Mann, worked with researchers at the University of Massachusetts and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on the study. Despite uncertainty, he concluded that “the ‘paleodata’ support the contention that greenhouse warming may increase the frequency of Atlantic tropical storms.” Storms may be not only stronger, he said, but more numerous during warm periods. The National Science Foundation and the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences supported this work.

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