SchNEWS Of The World


If you would like to buy a copy of this book
click here



from Rising Tide


THE LARGEST RESOURCE GRAB IN HISTORY: You can't trade in something unless you own it. When governments and companies "trade" in carbon, they establish de facto property rights over the atmosphere. At no point have these atmospheric property rights been discussed - their ownership is established by stealth with every carbon trade.

THE CARBON TRADE WILL STRENGTHEN EXISTING INEQUALITIES: Shares in the new carbon market will be allocated on the basis of who is already the largest polluter and who is fastest to exploit the market. The new "carbocrats" will therefore be the global oil, chemical and car corporations and the richest nations; the very groups that created the problem of climate change in the first place. What's more, the richest nations and corporations will be able to further increase their global share of emissions by outbidding poorer interests for carbon credits.

SO-CALLED SOLUTIONS POSE A DIRECT THREAT TO VULNERABLE PEOPLES: Development projects such as nuclear energy, large dams and other large-scale, hi-tech projects - as well as tree planting - have come to be known as Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanisms in the Kyoto Protocol and are tradable. But they assert foreign ownership of local resources, consolidate the power of undemocratic elites, oust people from their land and undermine local self sufficient economies and low-carbon cultures.

CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEES: Displacement of peoples caused by the large scale projects on their land, as well as those who have had to leave land because of climate change effects such as droughts or flooding, are turning millions into refugees.

ECOLOGICAL DEBT TO 'SOUTH' NOT ADDRESSED: Repayment of the ecological debt of the north to the south, which is caused by the extraction, use and destruction of southern resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, forests, marine and genetic resources, is not acknowledged. Neither is the fact that while a small number of highly industrialised countries have caused the damage, all countries suffer the consequences of climate change.


TREE PLANTING IS NOT A SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: Carbon absorbed by forests is only removed from the carbon cycle for as long as the tree is standing and alive. Industrial forestry will not sequester (breathe in) carbon.

CARBON TRADING ALLOWS COMPANIES TO PROFIT FROM MEASURES THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED ANYWAY: Because we cannot know the future, we cannot be certain that a project selling carbon credits has really reduced its emissions further than would have occurred without this intervention. Competition and technical innovation, for example, ensure that industry consistently reduces its energy costs. For example, British Airways, an early supporter of the new UK emissions trading system, is claiming financial credits from the government for the cut in emissions caused by the collapse of its business after September 11th last year, (actually it was in trouble long before S11, and simply used it as a convenient hook on which to hang extensive job cuts.)

"HOT AIR" TRADING IS AN ACCOUNTING FRAUD: Russia's economic collapse since 1990 has reduced its emissions by 30%. Russia is intending to sell this incidental windfall (often call "hot air") as international carbon credits - potentially swamping the market. If countries subsidise their emissions with these Russian credits, the final global emissions will end up being exactly the same as they would have been without a carbon market or a Kyoto protocol.

HUGE INCENTIVES FOR CHEATING: There are strong incentives for cheating and creating bogus credits that do not represent any real reduction in emissions. The seller gets the cash without having to change anything and the buyer gets cheap credits. And what's to stop you transferring polluting activities to areas that are not accounted?


THE CARBON MARKET CANNOT BE MONITORED OR CONTROLLED: The temptation for all parties to cheat means that every transaction must be scrutinised and every sale certified. Yet there is no global institution or accounting system that can manage the complexity of this market.

THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK WILL NEVER BE STRONG ENOUGH: International legal frameworks are usually very weak. Countries that want to use carbon credits to subsidise their emissions are already arguing for penalties so small they will fail to discourage cheating. The door is open for any country desperate for foreign currency to endorse doctored carbon credits.

CARBON CREDITS FROM DIFFERENT SOURCES ARE NOT EQUIVALENT: The market assumes that carbon credits from different sources will be fully interchangeable. However, carbon sequestered in sinks (that is breathed in by forests) is an entirely different product from the carbon "saved" by a technical innovation, which is different again from the carbon "saved" by changes in social patterns. Add to this the complexity of trading in different greenhouse gases. Each source requires different monitoring rules, different criteria and different agencies. Forcing them to be interchangeable in one market is a recipe for corruption and fraud.


* Governments want to be assured of a cheap way to buy off their failure to meet Kyoto targets that will keep the public and corporations content.

* Brokers, accountants, and financial institutions are extremely excited at the thought of the size of their cut in a new $2.3 trillion speculative market.

* Corporations and other major polluters want "flexible" governments who don't punish them for their emissions and hand over public money to pay for any emissions they are forced to make.

* Oil companies support carbon trading as a way to avoid making any cuts in oil production.

* Academics and financial consultants see rich pickings from becoming "experts" in the new market.


* Educate the public on the urgency of climate change and the need for dramatic solutions.

* Set a schedule for cutting global fossil fuel consumption by 60%, and 90% within ten years.

* Recognise the moral (and political) imperative for fairness and social justice by allocating targets to every country on the basis of equal per capita emissions.

* Reduce the supply of fossil fuels with an international ban on all new oil, gas and coal development. As a first step, cut the $200 billion per year global subsidies for coal and oil power. Carbon trading is not concerned with the supply of fossil fuels, which is why oil companies support it. As a result, government subsidies are increasing, reducing the price of energy and swamping any attempts at reducing demand.

* Invest heavily in renewable energy to replace all fossil fuel supplies. Right now funding renewables is a far more expensive way to reduce carbon emissions than credits from bogus "hot air", tree planting, or outright fraud. These cheap carbon credits will dictate the market price.

* Involve all people in the achievement of climate justice - particularly those most affected in the 'global south'.