Interview with Com Ciencia magazine

by Larry Lohmann

first published 30 March 2007

Pollution trading, a gimmick originally invented to save large US corporations money in making small cuts in emissions of easily-measurable substances over the short term, is inappropriate and unworkable when applied to the severe, scientifically and politically complex global problem of climate change. Subsidising the worst polluters in both North and South, carbon trading is merely delaying the actions required.

Carbon trading is also riven by an insoluble scientific dilemma. On the one hand, carbon traders aim at creating a flow of cheap, standardized credits. Yet the harder they try to bring about this flow, the less believable their carbon credits become, and the less credible the market.

Addressing the climate crisis is not a matter of trying to find low-cost technical fixes for big business. Rather, it requires attention to issues of power imbalances, rights, land, capital and social change. It's a problem for everybody, not just scientists, economists and government officials.

(A Portuguese version of this interview is appended to the English one.)


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