Today’s lead story US Congress inquiry reveals fake letters from ‘voters’ opposed to climate bill from the Guardian is not exactly a new story. (It’s a week or so old now.) But it does highlight one important trend and fact that needs to be dealt with by Democrats, Obama Administration and Cap-and-traders if they are serious about climate bill passage by the Senate.

There was an interesting battle fought some years ago as the German exchange, Eurex, tried to enter the US with a separate exchange called Eurex US. Eurex US was eventually launched in 2004, with an eye toward creating a second market for US Treasury futures – a serious competitor to the Chicago Board of Trade at the time. What soon became apparent in the run-up to the 2004 launch was that members of Congress weren’t all that crazy about Eurex US and our allies from Germany. Years of lobbying, hobnobbing, dinners and donations by the Chicago exchanges seemed to give them a little extra protection when they needed it. And as Eurex US hit delay after delay, it occurred to the folks from Eurex US that, while they may have filled out all the forms right, there was always another special House or Senate ag committee meeting that could be held to discuss the problems created by Eurex US. In the end, Eurex US was indeed launched but with the amount of time that passed, the Chicago guys got their house in order and fended off the competition.

The lesson learned here isn’t so much that CBOT did anything wrong in Washington by protecting its self-interests and using its considerable political clout. They just did it better than Eurex US did. They figured out a way to use the political powers that were there to help them at a real moment of vulnerability. Eurex for its part, didn’t realize that if you really, really, reallty want something in Washington, you have to fight for it – someway, somehow. Some might even say, any way, any how.

What is occurring today in the climate bill space is not all that much different in my eyes. A new regime is trying to force its way into the energy and climate space and is facing off against older, bigger and more established interests such as big oil and its API group, or the coal lobby. Of course the stakes are much higher than one derivatives exchange facing off against another. We’re talking about a major shift in energy policy, a brand new climate plan which incorporates cap-and-trade. If those who support it, really want it, they’ll have to fight for it like the fate of the world is at stake.

Jim Kharouf

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