Following closely on the heels of the failed UN Copenhagen climate conference, , the Second Annual Carbon Trade Summit will be convened on January 12-13th in New York City, bringing together representatives of some of the most polluting industries, industry associations, carbon financiers, banks, government officials and corporate “big greens.” Participants will include executives from JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Duke Energy, and many more. (See http://www.iglobalforum.com/conference_live.php?r=22&p=home.)
Here they will discuss how to take advantage of the emerging carbon markets. Under a veneer of greenwash, they will be determining ways to ensure that marketable allowances for greenhouse gases (a.k.a., “cap-and-trade” schemes) remain the centerpiece of global climate policy.
What is carbon trading and why is it a false solution that blocks positive alternatives?
Corporations are claiming the atmosphere as a private commodity and buying and selling “rights” to pollute it. Manipulation of these “rights” – in combination with so-called “offsets” (projects that claim to reduce emissions on their behalf, but most often do not) – will allow the industry to stonewall real pollution reductions for another 15 to 20 years, with devastating consequences for all life on earth. Carbon markets in the European Union have proven extremely volatile, prone to manipulation and gaming, and they do not help reduce emissions.
Why would this stalling be dangerous and immoral?
The consensus of science is that we do not have much time to waste. Tipping points of runaway global warming are already being approached. It is absolutely necessary that real pollution reductions begin immediately and proceed expeditiously. It is grossly immoral to turn this greatest threat to humanity into yet another economic bubble for Wall Street.
How did corporate power sabotage Copenhagen?
The U.S. went to Copenhagen with an abysmally weak offer. Obama claimed (incorrectly) that he could not go beyond the targets that had been approved in the House of Representatives. At both the UN and Congressional levels, this is the product of a corporate war on reason, combined with lobbying in the extreme (e.g., 4-5 climate lobbyists per member of Congress). They are blocking efforts to secure a safe future, misleading the public about the seriousness of the threat, and advocating persistently for so-called “market mechanisms” as the only means to reduce emissions. These corporations have a stranglehold on both the U.S. Congress and on international climate policy.
What can we do?
Never before in history has the need for a grassroots resistance movement been more urgently needed. Climate scientists now tell us we are on course for 4 to 7 degrees of warming in the coming century, a death sentence for much of life on this planet, including human populations starting with the most vulnerable. If the climate movement is going to have any chance for success, it must confront the true source of this emergency. Placing the future of life on the altar of market fundamentalism is a path to annihilation. We must demand system change, not climate change! As tens of thousands of people chanted a few weeks ago on the streets of Copenhagen, “Our climate is not their business!”
Climate SOS (www.climatesos.org) and Climate Pledge of Resistance (CPR for the Planet) are gathering allies to protest this event. A “Peoples Alternative Carbon Summit” will offer speakers in a panel presentation on Sunday evening Jan.10, including Professor Michael Dorsey of Dartmouth College. A rally will be held outside of the venue. Some may engage in nonviolent civil disobedience.
To join this effort and take a stand for climate justice, for real solutions, and for the future of our planet, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org