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Carbon Trading : a Critical conversation on climate change

It is now accepted worldwide that the globe is warming to such an extent that the livelihoods of large swathes of the world’s population are under serious threat. Violent and frequent storms wreck people’s habitats; unpredictable weather drastically changes conditions for agriculture; new health threats emerge. As a result, awareness of global warming is increasingly infl uencing thinking in both the South and the North. The irony is, however, that some of the responses to the global threat of climate change are likely to cause new and severe problems, which, in a worst-case scenario, could actually increase global warming. As this special report shows, this seems to be the case with carbon trading – a grandiose market scheme set up as the world’s primary response to the crisis of climate change. The main cause of global warming is rapidly increasing carbon dioxide emissions – primarily the result of burning fossil fuels – despite international agreements to reduce such emissions. The trouble is that despite being aware of the serious situation, very few decision- makers are ready to tackle the problem at its roots. Instead of reducing the extraction of fossil fuels and searching for other solutions, current carbon-trading policies, in practice, favour the further exploitation of these fuels. Furthermore, new tree plantations, which are claimed as a means of mitigating the consequences of increased carbon dioxide pollution, often drive people out of their traditional living grounds and destroy biological diversity.

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