Imagining Climate Solutions

by Larry Lohmann

first published 1 November 2009

As an activist in a high-consuming society, you can wind up either expending your imagination on fertile possibilities or devoting it to the endless development of sterile fantasies. Which way you go often depends on a willingness to step back and, when necessary, change the subject.

For example, it may be hard to understand why current schemes to tackle global warming through carbon trading -- which many activists have devoted years of their lives in trying to develop -- are a dead end, until you step out of the economics classroom and ask what carbon trading would do to stop, say, the Canadian Tar Sands mining project.

Similarly, it may be difficult to grasp the futility of current proposals to generate pollution rights out of REDD schemes to "reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation" until you take a break from talking about carbon chemistry and also consider climate history and forest history.

This article was written for Canadian Dimension magazine and appeared in its November-December 2009, "End Times in Copenhagen" issue.