Carbon Trading – a critical conversation on climate change

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

This book, published by Sweden’s Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, argues that carbon-trading schemes are “both ineffective and unjust” and will only prolong the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) aims to tackle climate change by creating a market for carbon in Europe. The authors of the book agree that the main cause of global warming is rapidly increasing carbon-dioxide emissions. However, they find that instead of reducing the extraction of fossil fuels and encouraging the development of other solutions – the primary goals of the EU-ETS – current carbon-trading policies will actually prolong the world’s dependence on oil, coal and gas.

The publication takes a broad look at several dimensions of carbon trading. It analyses the problems arising from the emerging global carbon market pertaining to the environment, social justice and human rights, and investigates climate mitigation alternatives. In addition, it provides a short history of carbon trading and discusses a number of ‘lessons unlearned’. Finally, nine case studies from different parts of the world provide an on-the-ground assessment of various carbon ‘offset’ schemes.

Carbon trading “dispossesses ordinary people in the south of their lands and futures without resulting in appreciable progress toward alternative energy systems”, said the book’s editor, Larry Lohmann of Corner House.

“This is the most absurd and impossible market human civilisation has ever seen,” added Soumitra Ghosh, a contributing author. “Carbon trading is bad for the south, bad for the north, and bad for the climate.”

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