European Climate Exchange launch

22 April 2005
At 8am London time on 22 April, which in the US is 'Earth Day', the European Climate Exchange opened for business. The first trade was reported a few seconds later.

Like the Chicago Climate Exchange, which launched more than two years ago, the ECE sees an opportunity in a market picking up steam since the European Union launched its trading scheme in January as part of its bid to meet Kyoto Protocol targets on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The ECE is housed in London's International Petroleum Exchange. Back on 16 Feb (the day the Kyoto Protocol came into force), Greenpeace UK invaded the IPE in order to halt oil trading.

I was impressed they got into the IPE at all, having noted some years ago that it was a hard target. Not suprisingly, a number of the activists were quite badly duffed up by the traders, east end barrow boy types who were losing money every minute the greenies stopped trading (Greenpeace activists had tied gas powered bull horns to helium balloons which floated up the ceiling way out of reach and made a deafening racket, thereby bringing open outcry to a halt)

At the time, the reaction from industry was predictable. "By attacking an exchange that is about to launch emissions trading – Europe’s biggest effort so far to encourage heavy polluters to reduce emissions – Greenpeace could stand accused of being unnecessarily incendiary towards business" said Energy Risk magazine.

I don't see anything on the Greenpeace UK site today welcoming the opening of the ECE - something which Greenpeace presumably supports (on the logic "Kyoto is flawed but better than nothing, and carbon trading shouldn't be counted out a priori"?). Perhaps they are on their way there right now with some flowers and chocolates?

Caspar Henderson

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