The Carbon Exchange

IssueMay 2009
Feature by Climate Camp

b> We’ve decided to focus on carbon trading in the financial sector, a system of legal and financial support that the G20 leaders are giving to climate criminals, by targeting the European Climate Exchange (Bishopsgate, London) on 1 April.

Carbon trading, like the financial system that led to the current economic crisis, is characterised by incredibly complicated accounting procedures that very few people really understand. The European Climate Exchange is one of the world’s centres of carbon trading, which is the main method used by wealthy industrialized countries and companies to avoid their emissions reduction targets – by trading carbon credits amongst themselves, either between countries (as happens under the Kyoto Protocol) or between companies (as happens under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme).

Essentially, it’s the way industry can continue as usual, while encouraging the poor and disadvantaged to sell their rights to pollute. That this system is designed and controlled by the traders and bankers who caused the financial crisis gives us even more reason to believe that far from being a solution to climate change, it is in fact a business scheme which is interfering with genuine, modern, grass-roots solutions.

One surprising problem with any numerical system of emissions restrictions is that it’s quite difficult to measure them. Additionally, this sensitive and vital task is not done by an independent body: polluters themselves are actually responsible for collecting data on both their current and past emissions, data against which any reductions will be measured!

We need commitment to change, not complication, corruption and stagnation.