, October 7, 2004


[Rachel's introduction: Carbon trading has been widely endorsed by business, industry, and even many U.S. environmental groups. But there's an aspect of it that seems to have been overlooked -- fairness and justice.]

The Durban Declaration on Carbon Trading

As representatives of people's movements and independent organisations, we reject the claim that carbon trading will halt the climate crisis. This crisis has been caused more than anything else by the mining of fossil fuels and the release of their carbon to the oceans, air, soil and living things.

This excessive burning of fossil fuels is now jeopardising Earth's ability to maintain a liveable climate.

Governments, export credit agencies, corporations and international financial institutions continue to support and finance fossil fuel exploration, extraction and other activities that worsen global warming, such as forest degradation and destruction on a massive scale, while dedicating only token sums to renewable energy. It is particularly disturbing that the World Bank has recently defied the recommendation of its own Extractive Industries Review which calls for the phasing out of World Bank financing for coal, oil and gas extraction.

We denounce the further delays in ending fossil fuel extraction that are being caused by corporate, government and United Nations' attempts to construct a "carbon market," including a market trading in "carbon sinks".

History has seen attempts to commodify land, food, labour, forests, water, genes and ideas.

Carbon trading follows in the footsteps of this history and turns the earth's carbon-cycling capacity into property to be bought or sold in a global market.

Through this process of creating a new commodity -- carbon -- the Earth's ability and capacity to support a climate conducive to life and human societies is now passing into the same corporate hands that are destroying the climate.

People around the world need to be made aware of this commodification and privatization and actively intervene to ensure the protection of the Earth's climate.

Carbon trading will not contribute to achieving this protection of the Earth's climate. It is a false solution which entrenches and magnifies social inequalities in many ways:

** The carbon market creates transferable rights to dump carbon in the air, oceans, soil and vegetation far in excess of the capacity of these systems to hold it.

Billions of dollars worth of these rights are to be awarded free of charge to the biggest corporate emitters of greenhouse gases in the electric power, iron and steel, cement, pulp and paper, and other sectors in industrialised nations who have caused the climate crisis and already exploit these systems the most. Costs of future reductions in fossil fuel use are likely to fall disproportionately on the public sector, communities, indigenous peoples and individual taxpayers.

** The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), as well as many private sector trading schemes, encourage industrialised countries and their corporations to finance or create cheap carbon dumps such as large-scale tree plantations in the South as a lucrative alternative to reducing emissions in the North.

Other CDM projects, such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC)-reduction schemes, focus on end-of pipe technologies and thus do nothing to reduce the impact of fossil fuel industries' impacts on local communities. In addition, these projects dwarf the tiny volume of renewable energy projects which constitute the CDM's sustainable development window-dressing.

** Impacts from fossil-fuel industries and other greenhouse-gas producing industries such as displacement, pollution, or climate change, are already disproportionately felt by small island states, coastal peoples, indigenous peoples, local communities, fisherfolk, women, youth, poor people, elderly and marginalized communities. CDM projects intensify these impacts in several ways. First, they sanction continued exploration for, and extraction, refining and burning of fossil fuels. Second, by providing finance for private sector projects such as industrial tree plantations, they appropriate land, water and air already supporting the lives and livelihoods of local communities for new carbon dumps for Northern industries.

** The refusal to phase out the use of coal, oil and gas, which is further entrenched by carbon trading, is also causing more and more military conflicts around the world, magnifying social and environmental injustice. This in turn diverts vast resources to military budgets which could otherwise be utilized to support economies based on renewable energies and energy efficiency.

In addition to these injustices, the internal weaknesses and contradictions of carbon trading are in fact likely to make global warming worse rather than "mitigate" it.

CDM projects, for instance, cannot be verified to be "neutralizing" any given quantity of fossil fuel extraction and burning.

Their claim to be able to do so is increasingly dangerous because it creates the illusion that consumption and production patterns, particularly in the North, can be maintained without harming the climate.

In addition, because of the verification problem, as well as a lack of credible regulation, no one in the CDM market is likely to be sure what they are buying. Without a viable commodity to trade, the CDM market and similar private sector trading schemes are a total waste of time when the world has a critical climate crisis to address.

In an absurd contradiction the World Bank facilitates these false, market-based approaches to climate change through its Prototype Carbon Fund, the BioCarbon Fund and the Community Development Carbon Fund at the same time it is promoting, on a far greater scale, the continued exploration for, and extraction and burning of fossil fuels -- many of which are to ensure increased emissions of the North.

In conclusion, 'giving carbon a price' will not prove to be any more effective, democratic, or conducive to human welfare, than giving genes, forests, biodiversity or clean rivers a price.

We reaffirm that drastic reductions in emissions from fossil fuel use are a pre-requisite if we are to avert the climate crisis. We affirm our responsibility to coming generations to seek real solutions that are viable and truly sustainable and that do not sacrifice marginalized communities.

We therefore commit ourselves to help build a global grassroots movement for climate justice, mobilize communities around the world and pledge our solidarity with people opposing carbon trading on the ground.

Signed October 10, 2004, Glenmore Centre, Durban, South Africa

To sign on to this declaration please send an email to or visit


Carbon Trade Watch

Indigenous Environmental Network

Climate & Development Initiatives, Uganda

Coecoceiba-Amigos de la Tierra, Costa Rica

CORE Centre for Organisation Research & Education, Manipur, India

Delhi Forum, India

Earthlife Africa (ELA) eThekwini Branch, South Africa


FASE-ES/Green Desert Network Brazil 2

Global Justice Ecology Project, USA

groundwork, South Africa

National Forum of Forest People And Forest Workers(NFFPFW), India

Patrick Bond, Professor, University of KwaZulu Natal School of Development Studies, South Africa

O le Siosiomaga Society, Samoa

South Durban Community Alliance (SDCEA), South Africa

Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, USA

The Corner House, UK

Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa

World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay


50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice, USA

Aficafiles, Canada

Africa Groups of Sweden, Sweden

Alianza Verde, Honduras

Ambiente y Sociedad, Argentina

Angikar Bangladesh Foundation, Bangladesh

Anisa Colombia, Colombia

Asociacion Alternativa Ambiental, Spain

Asociacion Amigos Reserva Yaguaroundi, Argentina

Asociacion de Guardaparques Argentinos, Argentina

Asociacion Ecologista Piuke, Argentina

Asociacion para la Defensa del Medio Ambiente del Noreste Santafesino, Argentina

Asociacion San Francisco de Asis, Argentina

Association France Amerique Latine, France

Associacion Lihue San Carlos de Barloche / Rio Negro, Argentina

Association pour un contrat mondial de l'eau, Comite de Seine Saint Denis, France

Associação Caete -- Cultura e Natureza, Brasil

Athlone Park Residents Association, South Africa

Austerville Clinic Committee, South Africa

Australian Greens, Australia

Aukland Rising Tide, New Zealand

BanglaPraxis, Bangladesh

Benjamin E. Mays Center, USA

Bluff Ridge Conservancy (BRC), South Africa BOA, Venezuela

Boulder Environmental Activists Resource, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, USA

The Bread of Life Development Foundation, Nigeria CENSAT-Friends of the Earth Colombia, Colombia

Center for Economic Justice, USA

Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka

Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights Inc./

Friends of the Earth (PNG), Papua New Guinea

Center for Urban Transformation, USA

Centro de Derecho Ambiental y Promocion para el Desarrollo (CEDAPRODE), Nicaragua

Centro de Investigacion Cientifica de Yucatan A.C., Mexico

Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, USA

Christ the King Church Group, South Africa

Clairwood Ratepayers Association (CRA), South Africa

Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers, USA

Colectivo de Proyectos Alternativos de Mexico (COPAL), Mexico

Colectivo MadreSelva, Guatemala

Comite de Analisis "Ana Silvia Olan" de Sonsonate - CANASO,El Salvador

Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, USA

Community Health Cell, Bangalore, India

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Netherlands

C.P.E.M. Nº29-Ciencias Ambientales, Argentina Del Consejo de Organizaciones de Medicos y Parteras Indigenas Tradicionales de Chiapas, Mexico Enda America Latina, Colombia


Ecoisla, Puerto Rica

EarthLink e.V.-The People & Nature Network, Germany

Ecological Society of the Philippines, Philippines

Ecologistas en Accion, Spain, Argentina

ECOTERRA International

El Centro de Ecologia y Excursionismo de la Universidad de Carabobo, Venezuela

Els Verds -- Alternativa Verda, Spain

Environment Desk of Images Asia, Thailand

FASE Gurupa, Brasil

Forest Peoples Programme, UK

Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa, Ghana

Friends of the Earth International

Friends of the Earth Australia, Australia

Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia

FSC-Brasil, Brasil

Fundacion Argentina de Etoecologia (FAE), Argentina

Fundacion Los de Tilquiza, proyecto AGUAVERDE, Argentina

Groupe d'Etudes et de Recherche sure les Energies

Renouvelables et l'Environnement (GERERE), Morocco

Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC-Italia), oficina de Nicaragua, Nicaragua

House of Worship, South Africa

Indigenous Peoples' Biodiversity Network, Peru

InfoNature, Portugal

Infringement Festival, Canada

Iniciativa ArcoIris de Ecologia y Sociedad, Argentina

Iniciativa Radial, Argentina

Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, USA

Instituto Ecoar para Cidadania, Brasil

Instituto Igare, Brasil

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Belgium

International Indian Treaty Council

Isipingo Environmental Committee (IEC), South Africa

Isipingo Ratepayers Association, South Africa

Jeunesse Horizon, Camerun

JKPP /Indonesian Community Mapping Network, Indonesia

Joint Action Committee of Isipingo (JACI), South Africa KVW Translations, Spain

LOKOJ, Bangladesh

London Rising Tide, UK

Malvarrosamedia, Spain

Mangrove Action Project (MAP), USA

Mano Verde, Colombia

Mercy International Justice Network, Kenya

Merebank Clinic Committee (MCC), South Africa

Movimiento por la Paz y el Ambiente, Argentina

Movimento por los Derechos y la Consulta Ciudadana, Chile

Nicaragua Center for Community Action, USA,

Nicaragua Network (US), USA

Nicaragua-US Friendship Office, USA

NOAH-Friends of the Earth Denmark, Denmark

Núcleo Amigos da Terra, Brasil

Ogoni Rescue Patriotic Fund, Nigeria

Oilwatch International, Ecuador

Oilwatch Africa, Nigeria

Organizacion Fraternal Negra Honduirena, Honduras

Parque Provincial Ernesto Tornquist, Argentina

Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition (PIPEC),Aotearoa/New Zealand

Pesticides Action Network Latin America, Uruguay

Piedad Espinoza Tropico Verde, Guatemala

PovoAção, Brasil

Prideaux Consulting, USA

Projeto tudo Sobre Plantas -- Jornal SOS Verde, Brasil

Public Citizen, USA

Rainforest Action Network, USA

Rainy River First Nations, Canada

Reclaim the Commons, USA

Red de Agricultura Organica de Misiones, Argentina

REDES-Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

Red Verde, Spain

Rettet den Regenwald, Germany

Rising Tide, UK

Sahabat Alam Malaysia /FOE-Malaysia, Malaysia

San Francisco Bay Area Jubilee Debt Cancellation Coalition, USA

Scottish Education and Action for Development, UK

S.G.Fiber, Pakistan

Silverglen Civic Association (SCA), South Africa

Sisters of the Holy Cross -- Congregation Justice Committee, USA

Sobrevivencia, Friends of the Earth Paraguay, Paraguay

Sociedad Civil, Mexico

SOLJUSPAX, Philippines

Tebtebba Foundation, Philippines

The Sawmill River Watershed Alliance, USA

TRAPESE -- Take Radical Action Through Popular Education and Sustainable Everything, UK / Spain

Treasure Beach Environmental Forum (TBEF), South Africa

Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development, Uganda

Ujamaa Community Resource Trust (UCRT), Tanzania

UNICA, Nicaragua

Union Chretienne pour l'Education et Developpement des Desherites (UCEDD), Burundi

Union Mexicana de Emprendedores Inios, A. C., Mexico


Wentworth Development Forum (WDF), South Africa

Western Nebraska Resources Council, USA

World Bank Boycott/Center for Economic Justice, USA worldforests, UK

World Peace Prayer Society, USA

Individual Signatories

Aarran Thomson, USA

Ángeles Leonardo, Argentina

Arlex Gonzalez Herrera, Colombia

Beth Burrows, USA

Dr. Bob de Laborde, South Africa

Brook Goldzwig, USA

Cesar Antonio Sanchez Asian, Peru

Christopher Keene, UK

Claudia Sofia Pereira Henriques, Portugal

Claudio Capanema, Brasil

Daniel Tietzer, USA

Dany Mahecha Rubio, The Netherlands

Dora Fernandes, Portugal

Dulce Delgado, Portugal

Eduardo Rojas Hidalgo, Ecuador

Edwin S. Wilson, USA

Eileen Wttewaal, Canada

Elisa Marques, Portugal

Emmanuel Moutondo, Kenya

Fabry Saavedra, Bolivia

Federico Ivanissevich, Argentina

Florencia T. Cuesta, Argentina

Florian Salazar-Martin, France

Fernando Moran, Spain

Fernando Guzman, Peru

Gar W. Lipow, USA

German A. Parra Bustamente, Colombia

Hannes Buckle, South Africa

Hansel Tietzer, USA

Helena Pinheiro, Brasil

Dr. Hugh Sanborn, USA

Hylton Alcock, South Africa

Hsun-Yi Hsieh, Taiwan

Ines Vaz Rute da Conceição, Portugal

Irina Maya, Portugal

Dr. J. Gabriel Lopez,, USA

James Mabbitt, UK

Jane Hendley, USA

Janet Weyker,USA

Javier Lizarraga, Uruguay

Jeff Purcell, USA

Jelena Ilic, Serbia & Montenegro

Jenny Biem, Canada

Joana Gois, Portugal

Joao Forte, Portugal

John Brabant, USA

Jonathan Derouchie, Canada

Joris Leemans, Belgium

Josep Puig, Spain

Joseph Herman, USA

Judith Amanthis, UK

Judith Velez, Isla Verde, Puerto Rico

Karen Roothaan, USA

Karlee Rockey, USA

Kiki Goldzwig, USA

Laura Carlsen, IRC

Leonardo Ornella, Argentina

Lina Hällstrom, Sweden

Lorna Salzman, USA

Luis E. Silvestre, Puerto Rico

Luis Edoardo Sonzini Meroi, Nicaragua

Ing. Mabel Vullioud, Argentina

Manuel Pereira, Portugal

Marcelo Bosi de Almeida, Brasil

Maria Benedetti, Cayey, Puerto Rico

Maria de Fatima Marques, Portugal

Maria Fernanda Pereira, Colombia

Maria Jesús Conde, Spain

Dra. Maria Luisa Pfeiffer, Argentina

Martha L. Downs, USA

Dr. Martin Mowforth, UK

Mary Galvin, South Africa

Matheus Ferreira Matos Lima, Brasil

Maurice Tsalefac, Professor, Universite de Yaounde, Camerun

Michaeline Falvey, USA

Miguel Parra Olave, Chile

Mike Ballard, Australia

Mike Berry, UK

Nick Gotts, Scotland

Norbert Suchanek, Germany

Nuno Miguel O. P. Matos Sequeira, Portugal

Oya Akin, North Cyprus

Pablo Alarcon-Chaires, Mexico

Patricia Angelo Batista, Portugal

Patricia Raynor, USA

Paulo Cesar Scarim, Brasil

Pedro Ribeiro, Portugal

Peter Rachleff, Professor, Macalester College, USA

Peter Sills, USA

Dr. Philip Gasper, USA

Prakash Deshmukh, India

Priscila Lins P. F. do Amaral, Brasil

Rafael Arturo Acuna Coaquira, Bolivia

Rafael Chumbimune Zanabria, Peru

Rafael Renteria, USA

Raj Patel, South Africa

Ray Hajat, Malawi

Robin Clanahan, South Africa

Roger de Andrade, France

Rogerio M Mauricio, Brasil

Roxana Mastronardi, Argentina

Ruth Zenger, Canada

Rufino Vivar Miranda, Mexico

Sajida Khan, South Africa

Sandra C. Carrillo, USA

Sara Hayes, USA

Saul Landau, USA

Sheila Goldner, USA

Sister Aloysia Zellmann, South Africa

Steve Wheeler, UK

Tobias Schmitt, Germany

Tyrell Haberkorn, USA

Usman Majeed, Canada

Wak Kalola, Canada

Zoraida Crespo Feliciano, Puerto Rico

See for up-to-date list of supporting signatories

To sign on to this declaration please send an email to or visit