"We have been monitoring the EU carbon trading scheme and how it is failing to reduce emissions and we’ve done a lot of field research on the impact of offset projects on Southern communities, helping to shine a more critical light on what is going on with those projects instead of the glossy coverage you get from the companies themselves. People may have been hearing a lot from lobby groups like the US Climate Action Partnership how wonderful carbon trading is, but we have a very different story to tell.
Carbon colonialism is about treating the supposed low cost emissions reductions in Southern countries as a new commodity that can be profitably exploited for the benefit of Northern consumers and companies. What we are also seeing, and Jutta can say more about what is happening in these Southern countries, is that often these projects have a harmful impact on local communities. This fact has been brushed under the carpet so people can keep doing it. We hear very little about these communities and what is happening on the ground, we only hear the positive side. Our experience is that people on the ground are having a very rough time with these projects.
If we are trying to offset emissions with tree planting we would need to look for other planets to plant the trees on.
Through personal offsets, companies are commoditizing peoples desire to do something about climate change. They are taking people’s impetus to do something real and reducing it to a mouse click — another act of consumerism.
One of the reasons why so much emphasis has been put on offsets and carbon trading is not because of the track record in reducing emissions this way, because they have no proven track record in this, but because of the compatibility with the current economic system which is very market oriented and fixated on year upon year growth. We need to address this growth-fixation and its corresponding growth in fossil fuel consumption in order to deal with climate change. There needs to be some movement toward extracting ourselves from the current economic system as it stands."
From the excellent Trans National Institute, on carbon trade. Trade and colonialism and classical, growth-oriented economic system. Again. But this time, it gets even worse: no cheaper products for people from developing countries (the usual excuse for encouraging unbridled trade), just cheaper pollution.