Carbon Trading, Climate Justice and the Production of Ignorance: Ten Examples
Commerce du carbone, justice et ignorance

by Larry Lohmann

first published 18 August 2008

The idea that global warming can be addressed by turning hitherto unpriced greenhouse gas pollution dumps into a tradable, ownable commodity has helped mobilize neoclassical economics and development planning in new projects of dispossession, speculation, rent-seeking and the redistribution of wealth from poor to rich and from the future to the present.

A central aspect of this process has been the creation of new domains of ignorance. This article for the journal Development cites ten processes of ignorance-creation, focusing particularly on the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. It then asks what the quest for climate justice becomes once it is incorporated into a development or carbon market framework. An "Afterword" written in 2010 is also available here.

This article has been published in French as "Commerce du carbone, justice et ignorance" in Écologie & Politique. It has also been translated into Spanish and Finnish.