Tuesday 1 January 2008

Essential information on carbon trading

The Climate and Capitalism website has brought together a range of information on carbon trading from The Corner House, which they say is the best source of analysis and comment on global carbon trading. There are some excellent sources of information here to help us understand emissions trading, at the time when the Labour government is trying to push through its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The arguments against emissions trading need to be made loudly and by mass organisations like unions and political parties, otherwise the corporates will succeed in framing the debate around market mechanisms rather than real public solutions like free and frequent public transport. See also Europe's ETS delivers windfall profits to polluters and The fine art of greenwashing From Climate and Capitalism (17 June 2008): (1) Carbon Trading: Solution or Obstacle? More and more commentators now recognize that carbon markets are not helping to address the climate crisis. But more discussion is needed of: how carbon markets damage more effective approaches; whether carbon markets could ever work at all; and why carbon trading has been successful in political terms despite failing in climatic terms. (2) Carbon Trading, Climate Justice and the Production of Ignorance: Ten Examples Carbon trading schemes have helped mobilise neoclassical economics and development planning in new projects of dispossession, speculation, rent-seeking and the redistribution of wealth from poor to rich and from the future to the present. A central part of this process has been creating new domains of ignorance. What does the quest for climate justice become when it is incorporated into a development or carbon market framework? (3) Toward a Different Debate in Environmental Accounting: The Cases of Carbon and Cost-Benefit Many mainstream environmentalists suggest that calculating and internalising ‘externalities’ is the way to solve environmental problems. Some critics counter that the spread of market-like calculations into ‘non-market’ spheres is itself causing environmental problems. This article sets aside this debate to examine closely actual conflicts, contradictions and resistances engendered by environmental accounting techniques and suggest what the long-term political and environmental consequences are likely to be. (4) Gas, Waqf and Barclays Capital: A Decade of Struggle in Southern Thailand Slowing and halting new fossil fuel developments must eventually move to the top of the global climate change agenda. But what are the obstacles to, and resources for, such a project? The 10-year struggle against a large natural gas development project in one corner of Southeast Asia offers lessons in some of the relevant themes of global politics: the use of military force to secure and transport fossil fuel resources; the regulation of international finance; sectarian violence; corporate social responsibility; intensely locally-specific yet internationally-reinforced, forms of class conflict and racism; and the question of how a more tenacious solidarity for the defence of community and commons might be built among diverse and all-too-often isolated movements in different geographical and cultural locations. (5) Pictures from the Carbon Market, Part 2 This slide show of photographs continues a series portraying the practical, on-the-ground effects of the trade in carbon credits through the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism and the voluntary ‘offset’ market. (6) How Carbon Trading Undermines Positive Approaches to the Climate Crisis Carbon trading proponents often assert that trading is merely a way of finding the most cost-effective means of reaching an emissions goal. In fact, carbon trading undermines a number of existing and proposed positive measures for tackling climate change. These include the survival and spread of existing low-carbon technologies, movements against expanded fossil fuel use, and well-tested green policy measures. Carbon trading also undermines public awareness and political participation, as well as creating ignorance. (7) Video: A Chicago Conversation on Carbon Trading A discussion hosted by the Climate Justice Chicago Coalition at De Paul University examines how carbon trading creates transferable rights to dump carbon, slows social and technological change, promotes socially and ecologically destructive practices and is ineffective and unjust. (8) Video: Carbon Trading: A Lecture at Brigham Young University (9) The Limits of Free Market Logic Carbon trading, its backers claim, reduces emissions and brings sustainable development in the global South. But in fact it may do neither, and is harming efforts to create a low-carbon economy. A Chinese version is appended. (10) Pollute and Profit When will it be publicly admitted that the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is not working? Industries are not switching to clean energy technology. The Scheme’s guiding principle seems to be ‘polluter profits’ rather than ‘polluter pays’. (11) The Carbon Neutral Myth: Offset Indulgences for Your Climate Sins (published by the TransNational Institute) Buying ‘carbon offsets’ to ‘neutralize’ your carbon emissions is all the rage in middle-class society in Europe and North America. This book explains why offsets are not a constructive approach to climate change.

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