Dag Hammarskjold Foundation [This story printer-friendly]
October 4, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: In the U.S., "carbon trading" has been advocated aggressively by New York-based Environmental Defense, which claims to have invented the concept in 1990. Now a new book reveals that carbon trading is essentially a scam to help the global north maintain its dominance over the global south. Carbon trading is "Bad for the South, bad for the North, and bad for the climate"]

New Book: Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power -- available for download [22 Mbytes PDF]. A paper edition will be available from the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation in November.

The growing debate over what to do about climate change promises to heat up further this week with the publication of an exhaustively- documented new book that says that the dominant "carbon trading" approach to the problem followed by the Kyoto Protocol and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is both ineffective and unjust.

The book, published by Sweden's Dag Hammarskjold Foundation together with the international Durban Group for Climate Justice and the UK- based NGO The Corner House, argues that carbon trading slows the social and technological change needed to cope with global warming by unnecessarily prolonging the world's dependence on oil, coal and gas.

Carbon trading "dispossesses ordinary people in the South of their lands and futures without resulting in appreciable progress toward alternative energy systems," said Larry Lohmann of the Corner House, the book's editor. "Tradable rights to pollute are handed out to Northern industry, allowing them to continue to profit from business as usual.[1] At the same time, Northern polluters are encouraged to invest in supposedly carbon-saving projects in the South, very few of which promote clean energy at all."[2]

Most of the carbon credits being sold to industrialized countries, Lohmann explained, come from polluting projects that do nothing to reduce fossil fuel use, such as schemes that burn methane from coal mines or waste dumps. The bulk of fossil fuels must be left in the ground if climate chaos is to be avoided, the book warns.

Carbon credits, added Jutta Kill of Sinks Watch, another contributor to the book, can't be verified to be mitigating climate change. Carbon trading, she said, "impedes the further development of already- existing positive approaches such as conventional regulation, public investment in energy alternatives, taxes, and movements against subsidies for fossil fuel extraction."

"This is the most absurd and impossible market human civilization has ever seen," said Indian activist and researcher Soumitra Ghosh, a contributing author of one of the book's nine detailed case studies on carbon projects in the South. "Carbon trading is bad for the South, bad for the North, and bad for the climate."

Larry Lohmann (UK): +44 (0)1258 821218, +44 (0)1258 473795, larrylohmann@gn.apc.org.

Soumitra Ghosh (India): +91 353 266 1915, soumitrag@gmail.com.

Jutta Kill (Germany): +44 7931 576538, jutta@fern.org.

Daphne Wysham (US): +1 301 573 2468 or +1 202 234 9382, ext. 208, dwysham@seen.org.

Esperanza Martinez (Ecuador): tegantai@oilwatch.org.

Anna Pinto (India): anarchive.anon@gmail.com.

Dr. Michael K. Dorsey (US): +1 734 945 6424, Michael.K.Dorsey@Dartmouth.EDU.

Roy Laifungbam (India): roy.laifungbam@gmail.com.

Patrick Bond (South Africa): pbond@mail.ngo.za.

Tom Goldtooth (US): +1 218 751 4967, ien@igc.org.

Ricardo Carrere (Uruguay): +598 2 413 2989, rcarrere@wrm.org.uy.

Wally Menne (South Africa): plantnet@iafrica.com.

Anne Petermann or Orin Langelle (US): +1 802 482 2689, globalecology@gmavt.net.

Graham Erion (Canada): +1 416 7958044, graham@erion.ca.

Trusha Reddy (South Africa): trusha.reddy@gmail.com.

Tamra Gilbertson (Spain): +34 685 35 66 59, tamra@tni.org.

Olle Nordberg or Niclas Hallstrom (Sweden): +46 18 10 27 72, olle.nordberg@dhf.uu.se, niclas.hallstrom@dhf.uu.se.

Javier Baltodano (Costa Rica): licania@racsa.co.cr.

Timothy Byakola (Uganda): +256 41 342 685, acs@starcom.co.ug.

Marcelo Calazans (Brazil): marcelo.fase@terra.com.br.

Adam Ma'anit (UK): adam@carbontradewatch.org.

Notes for Editors

1. Carbon trading was made the centrepiece of the Kyoto Protocol at the insistence of the US, which claimed that its trading scheme to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions had been a great success, and remained in place after the US pulled out of the treaty. Carbon Trading demonstrates, however, that the US's sulphur dioxide scheme was radically different from the Kyoto Protocol's trading arrangements and dealt with a radically different problem.

2. Carbon trading has two parts. First, governments hand out free tradable rights to emit carbon dioxide to big industrial polluters, as under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Second, companies buy additional pollution credits from projects in the South that claim to be emitting less greenhouse gas than they would have without the carbon market investment.