Resources: Climate

The main cause of human-induced climate change is rapidly increasing carbon dioxide emissions -- primarily the result of burning fossil fuels. To date, the principal international response has been a neoliberal instrument: carbon trading.

98 results
Vol 1, Issue 1, Oct-Dec 2013
India Climate Justice

31 December 2013

The relaunched magazine Mausam from the India Climate Justice network and collective.

Surveying the Territory
Larry Lohmann with Nicholas Hildyard and Sarah Sexton

20 May 2013

What with a growing climate crisis and increasing uncertainty over the future of fossil fuels, it can be no surprise that the question “what's the alternative to current energy systems?” is in the air. And there has been no shortage of answers competing for space and attention. In energy policy today, the main conflict is not between business as usual and “The Alternative”, but among the different proposed alternatives themselves. How are these alternatives to be evaluated against each other? The suggested solutions are diverse.

The Case of Climate
Larry Lohmann

15 September 2012

All processes of commodification are different, depending on what is being commodified, how it is commodified, the degree to which it is commodified, the resistances of the material and of the people affected and so on. For this reason, attempts to commodify some things may make headway, while attempts to commodify others fall down immediately. This draft chapter for the forthcoming book Nature™ Inc: The New Frontiers of Environmental Conservation (edited by Robert Fletcher, Wolfram Dressler and Bram Büscher) proposes an analytical tool that can help explain why neoliberal efforts to commodify climate benefit are failing so disastrously. A drastically abridged version has been published by the online magazine Mute at http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/performative-equations-and-ne....

Strategic Reflections on Climate Change and the "Green Economy"
Larry Lohmann

2 September 2012

This discussion paper sets out some lessons for political strategy suggested by the experience of climate change campaigning over the past 15 years. It outlines the dangers faced by advocacy NGOs of becoming "patzers" (blunderers) and clients of more sophisticated political actors. Comments on this work in progress, a shorter version of which was published in Development Dialogue No. 61 (September 2012), are welcome.

A Review and a Debate
Larry Lohmann

1 September 2012

This essay, published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Development and Change, reviews five recent books, four of them on climate change and one addressing what’s needed to spark the transition away from dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Included is a September 2012 reply by the authors of one of the books reviewed, Matthew Paterson and Peter Newell, and Larry Lohmann's rejoinder.

Joel Wainwright, Geoff Mann, Joshua Barker, Patrick Bigger, Mazen Labban, Larry Lohmann, Ben Wisner, etc.

19 July 2012

A recent paper on possible political scenarios in a greenhouse world, "Climate Leviathan" by Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann, is the subject of a debate organized by the journal Antipode, in which The Corner House participated. Further notes on, and responses to, the symposium are available at http://antipodefoundation.org/2012/07/19/symposium-on-geoff-mann-and-joe....

The EU ETS Failure as a Model for the “Green Economy”
Ricardo Coelho

15 June 2012

At a time when the "green economy" is being widely trumpted, it is prudent to review the comprehensive failure of one of its first avatars, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, to achieve its own objectives. The EU ETS has not reduced greenhouse gas emissions while consistently giving generous allocations of free permits to industrial polluters. It has allowed offset credits to be used and has created a broad range of questionable financial products.
The Spanish State, Public Funds and the EU ETS
Beatriz Martínez and Tamra Gilbertson

31 May 2012

This report from Carbon Trade Watch demonstrates how, in Spain, public funds supporting increased fossil fuel use are interacting synergistically with the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme to worsen global warming. (Also available in Spanish.)

Large-Scale Biomass Subsidies in the UK and the Role of the EU ETS
Joseph Zacune

31 May 2012

UK-based power companies are using the myth that biomass is 'carbon neutral' to continue their climate-damaging activities unabated. A British biomass boom is set to benefit polluters and cause widespread environmental destruction through land grabs and deforestation.

Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization

12 May 2012

The contributions collected in this special issue of ephemera question the underlying ideologies and assumptions of carbon markets, and bring to light many of the contradictions and antagonisms that are currently at the heart of ‘climate capitalism’. They offer a critical assessment of the political economy of carbon trading and a detailed understanding of how these newly created markets are designed, how they (don’t) work, the various actors that are involved, and how these actors function together to create and contest the ‘atmosphere business’. In six articles, five notes, three book reviews, and an interview (with The Corner House's Larry Lohmann), some of the most prominent critical voices in debates about the atmosphere business are brought together.

La neoliberalización del clima
Larry Lohmann

10 March 2012

Mientras la vorágine neoliberal aceleraba la destruccion del planeta, los gobiernos del Norte auparon un festín para los grandes contaminadores transformando la contaminación en otra mercancia globalizada. Su gran descubrimiento fueron los mercados de carbono. En este libro, Larry Lohmann desmonta la lógica y dinámica de los mercados de carbono que promueven la corrupción, empeoran la contaminación y excluyen todo esfuerzo por abandonar la dependencia de los combustibles fósiles.

Larry Lohmann

1 March 2012

Building more effective climate movements is, in part, a continuous process of interpretation and reinterpretation. This chapter from a forthcoming academic volume argues that climate activists can benefit from putting the current fashion for carbon trading into the context of the other market environmentalisms with which it has evolved; from exploring the insights of actor-network theory about the genesis and limitations of commodity-ready environmental objects; and from seeing carbon trading and other current defences of fossil fuel use in the context of accumulation cycles.

Nicholas Hildyard, Larry Lohmann and Sarah Sexton

16 February 2012

"Energy security" is full of pitfalls, both as policy and as rhetoric. Other ways are urgently needed of discussing and organising for a democractic, fossil-free future.

How can fossil fuels and uranium be kept in the ground and agrofuels off the land in ways that do not inflict suffering upon millions? Mainstream policy responses to these issues are largely framed in terms of "energy security".

Volume One

24 November 2011

Current proposals to address global warming by financing projects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) constitute a “threat to Indigenous Peoples, local communities, forests, our climate and your future”, contends this book, which lists some of “the worst REDD-type projects” in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Uganda.

Subsidizing and Legitimizing Corporate Pollution
Soumitra Ghosh and Subrat Kumar Sahu (edtiors)

1 November 2011

This book concludes that the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, as implemented in India, serves mainly to augment the profits of polluting corporations and addresses neither climate change nor the needs of local people. Some three dozen case studies are presented.

A critical review
Trusha Reddy (editor)

1 November 2011

This critical review of carbon trading in Africa includes analyses of the context and trends in the carbon market in Africa; offset projects in Uganda, Ethiopia and South Africa; and carbon finance and regulation. It shows how carbon trading provides new and different ways of profiting at the expense of a deteriorating climate.

Larry Lohmann

28 October 2011

This article explains how today's carbon markets construct a tradable product by postulating a series of false equations – between reducing carbon dioxide and tackling fossil fuel dependence, between different greenhouse gases, between different places and times, between hypothetical and real emissions reductions, between biotic carbon and fossil carbon, and so forth. Competition to exploit cascades of ever more fanciful equations to increase profits ensures that the carbon markets become ever more damaging to the cause of combating global warming.


Un álgebra interminable: las contradicciones de los mercados climáticos

Los mercados de carbono, que constituyen el enfoque principal de los gobiernos del mundo frente a la crisis climática, construyen un producto comercializable postulando una serie de ecuaciones falsas. Estos mercados equiparan la reducción de dióxido de carbono con la lucha contra la dependencia de combustibles fósiles; equiparan los distintos gases de efecto invernadero, así como lugares y tiempos diferentes. Estos mercados dicen que las emisiones hipotéticas y reales son las mismas y que el carbono biótico y el carbono fósil también son los mismos. Estas ecuaciones tienen la función de proteger o incrementar los beneficios empresariales, y los intereses capitalistas están siempre dispuestos a inventar más ecuaciones. El resultado es que los mercados de carbono son cada vez más perjudiciales para la lucha contra el calentamiento global.

The Contradictions of Neoliberal Climate Policy
Larry Lohmann

1 October 2011

The carbon markets that constitute the default international approach to the climate crisis, argues this article in the latest Socialist Register, aim both at opening up new frontiers for profit-making and at securing the background conditions for accumulation that are currently threatened by calls for greenhouse gas emission cuts. But they are afflicted by valuation paradoxes that are far more intractable than those affecting markets in other commodities such as food, energy, consumer durables, or even complex financial derivatives. The article is supplemented with a short interview with New Left Project's Ed Lewis.

Talking Climate in Public Space (Vol 3, Issue 1)
NESPON, NFFPFW and Nagarik Mancha

1 September 2011

This issue of the Indian magazine, Mausam, devoted to climate justice has articles on adaptation, the Climate Development Mechanism (CDM) and REDD projects.

Larry Lohmann

6 June 2011

The growing trend toward constructing environmental service markets is a response not just to ecological crisis but also to business crisis – in particular the prolonged profitability crisis that set in during the 1970s.

Failing at the Third Attempt
Carbon Trade Watch and Corporate Europe Observatory

7 April 2011

Carbon emissions in the European Union are rising, despite the Emissions Trading System, the EU's flagship measure for tackling climate change. The third phase of the scheme, beginning in 2013, is supposed to rectify the “teething problems” that have rewarded major polluters with windfall profits and undermined efforts to reduce pollution and achieve a more equitable and sustainable economy. In practice, it will continue to subsidise polluters and help them avoid taking meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Larry Lohmann

25 November 2010

An article published in Mexican newspaper La Jornada on the eve of the UN climate summit in Cancun (English and Spanish).


Hoy, México, como muchos países del sur, tiene un nuevo producto de exportación: los derechos de contaminación. Este mercado es uno de los legados del neoliberalismo y del hábito de los países del norte de descargar sus problemas sobre el sur global.

Pambazuka News

7 October 2010

The electronic Pambazuka News, which disseminates analysis and debate on the struggle for freedom and justice through the voices of the peoples of Africa and the global South, published a special issue on "New technologies and the threat to sovereignty in Africa", including articles on plantation projects that come under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UN’s Kyoto protocol.

Larry Lohmann

25 September 2010

This book chapter explores the interacting origins, development and politics of the “strange markets” in finance and climate developed in recent years and exposes the similar dangers they pose.


Los “mercados extraños” y la crisis climática

Este capítulo del libro explora los orígenes, el desarrollo y la política de los “mercados extraños” que han aparecido en las décadas recientes en el sector financiero y en la política climática internacional, y expone los peligros que presentan.

How it works and why it is controversial
Jutta Kill, Saskia Ozinga, Steven Pavett and Richard Wainwright

17 August 2010

Discussions of carbon trading are usually full of jargon, abstract concepts, mathematical formulae and technical detail, making it hard for many people to understand its implications and join in debates. This guide unravels the complexity, explains key concepts and terms, and describes how new interest groups and complex financial arrangements have become involved and transformed the practices.

Variations on Polanyian Themes
Larry Lohmann

16 July 2010

One lesson the financial crisis teaches us is: beware of the new carbon markets that constitute today's main official response to climate change. These markets are startlingly similar to the financial derivatives markets that have thrown banking systems into a tailspin. (German version also available.)


Mercados de incertidumbres y mercados de carbono: variaciones en temas de Polanyi

Una de las lecciones que la crisis financiera nos enseña es a tener cuidado con los nuevos mercados de carbono que constituyen hoy la principal respuesta oficial al cambio climático. Este artículo de la revista New Political Economy argumenta que estos mercados son sorprendentemente similares a los mercados de derivados financieros que arrojaron a los sistemas bancarios al caos en 2008.

Costly, Dirty, Money-making Schemes
Herbert Docena, Focus on the Global South

25 June 2010

This evaluation of Clean Development Mechanism projects in the Philippines suggests that most projects will further exacerbate climate change, compromise sustainable development, and enrich large conglomerates expanding their extractive and fossil fuel-intensive activities.

Cómo Funciona y por qué Fracasa

30 April 2010

Esta versión resumida del libro Carbon Trading, publicado por primera vez en 2006, pone a los activistas al día del desastroso historial del comercio de emisiones que, tras la debacle de las negociaciones sobre el clima de Copenhague, sigue siendo la principal respuesta de las elites de todo el mundo al cambio climático.

In Which Various Men with Beards are Enlisted to Help Explain Why Official Efforts to Address Climate Change Have Reached an Impasse
Larry Lohmann

25 February 2010

The approach to climate change that came to grief in Copenhagen in December 2009 is based on fetishism about molecules, numbers and targets. By trying to stuff politics, uncertainty, and history into a black box that is then set to one side, it has ensured its own demise. Tackling global warming effectively requires facing, rather than evading, the realities of inequality, conflict, exploitation, context and uncertainty.

The Political Economy of Offset Markets
Steffen Bohm and Siddhartha Dabhi

10 January 2010

This book presents case studies and critiques of carbon offset markets from around the world, emphasizing how this pillar of current mainstream climate policy affects the lives of communities. The book also presents alternatives to carbon markets which enable communities to live low-carbon lives.

Some reflections
The Corner House

5 December 2009

Overpopulation arguments in climate debates serve to delay making structural changes in North and South away from the extraction and use of fossil fuels; to justify increased and multiple interventions in the countries deemed to hold surplus people; and to excuse those interventions when they cause further environmental degradation, migration or conflict. Population numbers, in sum, offer no useful pointers toward policies that should be adopted to tackle climate change.

The Policy Reality
Larry Lohmann and Sarah Sexton

5 December 2009

This short contribution to a Forum discussion on climate change in the journal Global Social Policy outlines how and why the climate solution requires turning away from fossil fuel dependence and how the main official approach to the climate crisis worldwide -- building a single, liquid global carbon market worth trillions of dollars -- is likely to make climate change worse, not only exacerbating its social impacts but also generating negative impacts of its own.

How It Works and Why It Fails
Oscar Reyes and Tamara Gilbertston

2 November 2009

This streamlined sequel to the 2006 book Carbon Trading brings climate activists up to date with the disastrous record of carbon trading -- which in the wake of the debacle at the Copenhagen climate negotiations continues to be world elites' main response to climate change.

Larry Lohmann

1 November 2009

These days, being a climate activist can easily get you arrested -- or worse. But the bigger danger -- especially for activists in industrialized countries -- may be that of being seduced into expending all your energies promoting "solutions" that turn out to be bogus.

Learning about Climate Policy from the Financial Crisis
Larry Lohmann

18 September 2009

40. Studying the financial crisis and the climate crisis together can provide useful tools for understanding how to tackle both. Overconfident commodification of uncertainty (in the form of a trade in new and complex derivatives) helped precipitate a global economic crash. Overconfident commodification of climate benefits (in the form of a trade in carbon) threatens to hasten an even worse catastrophe.


Cuando los mercados son veneno: Aprender sobre política climática de la crisis financiera

El estudio simultáneo de la crisis financiera y la crisis climática puede proporcionar herramientas útiles para hacer frente a las dos. Los intentos imprudentes de mercantilizar incertidumbres (en la forma de un mercado de derivados complejos) ayudaron a provocar una crisis económica mundial. Los intentos irresponsables de comercializar el clima amenazan con contribuir a una catástrofe aún peor.

Talking Climate in Public Space
NESPON, NFFPFW and Nagarik Mancha

1 September 2009

Here is the long-awaited latest issue of a magazine aimed at returning the dialogue about climate change and its solutions to the "public space." Featured are pathbreaking articles uncovering the reality of UN-sanctioned "carbon saving" projects in the metals, hydroelectric, wind power, chemicals, waste management and electricity generating sectors, as well as analyses of the political economy of the scientific controversies over the monsoon and over Asia's so-called "brown cloud" of pollution.

The Rise of Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

22 July 2009

Carbon permit prices flashing on electronic screens in Wall Street trading rooms reflect a complex political movement to reorganize and redistribute power and knowledge. The carbon markets associated with the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the US's Waxman-Markey Act constitute perhaps the last great class project of a waning neoliberal regime – the ill-fated attempt to privatize the climate itself.


El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono

Los precios de los derechos de emisión de dióxido de carbono que aparecen en las pantallas de las computadoras de Wall Street reflejan un movimiento político complejo para reorganizar y redistribuir el poder y el conocimiento. Los mercados de carbono del Protocolo de Kioto y el Esquema del Comercio de Emisiones de la Unión Europea son uno de los últimos grandes proyectos del neoliberalismo – un intento malhadado de privatizar el clima. Este capítulo del libro, "El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono", describe las contradicciones del intento de formar una mercancía con el clima.

Larry Lohmann

22 July 2009

Proposals for Green New Deals aimed at tackling both global warming and global recession are streaming forth worldwide. Unfortunately, many give short shrift to the need to phase out both fossil fuels and fossil fuel substitutes. Many also rely on obsolete conceptions of technology transfer. Future climate movements will have to focus increasingly on the democratization of research, planning and finance.

Larry Lohmann

21 July 2009

Can the financial derivatives markets be regulated? Can the carbon markets be regulated? The questions are parallel. Both markets try to commodify new things: in the case of the financial markets an unprecedented range of uncertainties; in the carbon markets, the earth's carbon-cycling capacity. Regulation tends to assume that any problems with either market can be handled by "internalizing externalities"; this approach will fail. A more practical approach to these markets' problems looks to decommodification. Both approaches, however, have attracted supporters from across the political spectrum.


La imposibilidad de regular los mercados derivados financieros y de carbono

¿Es posible regular los mercados derivados financieros? ¿Es posible regular los mercados de carbono? Estas preguntas son parecidas. Ambos mercados tratan de comercializar nuevas cosas. Los nuevos mercados financieros tratan de comercializar una serie de incertidumbres sin precendentes; los mercados de carbono tratan de comercializar la capacidad del mundo natural para absorber dióxido de carbono. Muchos funcionarios gubernamentales y académicos asumen que cualquier problema de estos mercados puede ser manejado con "internalizar externalidades". Esto no es cierto. Un enfoque más práctico a los problemas de estos mercados es la desmercantilización.

Cowboys and Choirboys United
Larry Lohmann

8 June 2009

Not all markets can be regulated effectively. Two examples are the markets for advanced credit derivatives – largely responsible for the current economic crisis -- and the growing carbon markets that are claimed to be capable of addressing global warming and that are the particular subject of this draft chapter. The attempt to regulate such markets does little more than create an illusion of governance where none actually exists. That only allows the dangers to grow larger.


Cuando la regulación se convierte en corrupción: El caso de los mercados de compensación de carbono

No todos los mercados se pueden regular con eficacia. Un ejemplo son los mercados de derivados de crédito que son una de las causas de la crisis financiera. Otro ejemplo son los mercados de carbono que constituyen la "solución" al calentamiento global, favorecida por la mayoría de los gobiernos del mundo. El intento de regular estos mercados no hace más que crear una ilusión de una gobernabilidad que en realidad no existe. Esta ilusión sólo permite que los peligros crezcan más.

A Short Debate
The Corner House

2 April 2009

Merrill Lynch is a major Wall Street investor in carbon pollution permits. Here its Global Head of Carbon Markets debates The Corner House on whether carbon markets are effective.

A Critical Look at Recent EU Climate Claims
Larry Lohmann

2 December 2008

The European Union claims that it is "on track" to meet its modest Kyoto Protocol emissions targets. It is not. Much more importantly, it is not "on track" to wean itself off fossil fuels -- which is the real point of climate change mitigation efforts.

REDD with Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

30 September 2008

Many new schemes are afoot to allow the North to pay the South for conserving its forests in return for permission to continue using fossil fuels. But how would a market in pollution rights generated by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) play out in reality?

Six Soundbites
Larry Lohmann

20 August 2008

Will current plans to expand carbon trading in the US and elsewhere work? No. Carbon trading is aimed at the wrong objective, squanders resources on the wrong things, requires knowledge and institutions that do not exist, is antidemocratic, interferes with positive solutions, and puts ideology above experience.

Ten Examples
Larry Lohmann

18 August 2008

Carbon trading programmes such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and the Kyoto Protocol have 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. Part of this process is the creation of ignorance, argues this article published in the journal Development. (French version also available.)


El comercio de carbono, justicia climática y la producción de ignorancia: 10 ejemplos

El Protocolo de Kioto y el Esquema del Comercio de Emisiones de la Unión Europea han ayudado a movilizar a la economía neoclásica y a la planificación del desarrollo para crear nuevos proyectos de desposesión, especulación, búsqueda de rentas y redistribución de la riqueza de pobres a ricos y del futuro al presente. Una parte de este proceso es la creación de ignorancia.

Zembla (The Netherlands)

1 August 2008

Exploring both ends of the carbon market through research and interviews in Uganda and The Netherlands, this video (available in Portuguese and English versions) brings new clarity to the debate over climate change solutions.

The Inaugural Issue of an Indian Climate Change Magazine
Soumitra Ghosh and Subrat Kumar Sahu (editors)

10 July 2008

This new magazine is aimed at returning the Indian dialogue about climate change and its solutions to the "public space", instead of allowing it to remain the "exclusive property of governments, profiteers and 'experts' of various shades and hues".

Arlen Dilsizian interviews Larry Lohmann
Arlen Dilsizian with Larry Lohmann

10 July 2008

Climate change is not a new kind of social issue. It requires a re-examination of classic issues of power relations.

Larry Lohmann

9 July 2008

It's sometimes said that governments are failing to address climate change because they aren't taking the warnings of natural scientists seriously enough. In fact, as this draft chapter suggests, the failures may have more to do with lack of social science understanding -- in particular, with lack of appreciation of how the type of social change required actually takes place.

Larry Lohmann

3 May 2008

More and more commentators are now recognizing that carbon markets are failing to address the climate crisis. But more discussion is needed of why this is so, and how the way might be cleared for more effective approaches.

Larry Lohmann

13 April 2008

A discussion hosted by the Climate Justice Chicago Coalition at De Paul University examines how carbon trading creates transferable rights to dump carbon, slows social and technological change, promotes socially and ecologically destructive practices and is ineffective and unjust. This TV programme was produced by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

Kevin Smith

3 April 2008

Widely-publicized frauds in the carbon "offset" market have led to governmental and corporate proposals to apply standards. But no one has any standards that are working. And the more onerous any attempted regulation becomes, the more the market comes to be dominated by big corporate polluters with the money to work the system.

The Cases of Carbon and Cost-Benefit
Larry Lohmann

1 April 2008

Al Gore and many other mainstream environmentalists suggest that calculating and internalizing 'externalities' is the solution to environmental problems. Some critics counter that the spread of market-like calculations into 'nonmarket' spheres is itself a cause of environmental problems. In the course of a study of two real-world examples, carbon accounting and cost-benefit analysis, this article (published in the journal Accounting, Organizations and Society) proposes a possible way of getting beyond this stalled debate.


Hacia un debate diferente en la contabilidad ambiental: Los casos de la contabilidad de carbono y el análisis costo-beneficio

Al Gore y muchos otros ambientalistas de la corriente dominante afirman que la solución a los problemas ambientales es calcular e interiorizar las “externalidades”. Algunos críticos no están de acuerdo y dicen que la causa de los problemas ambientales es precisamente la expansión de la contabilidad mercantil hacia las esferas “ajenas al mercado”. Este articulo (de la revista Accounting, Organizations and Society) propone, a través de dos estudios de caso – los mercados de carbono y el análisis de costo-beneficio –, una salida de este debate improductivo.

Larry Lohmann

20 March 2008

Carbon trading proponents often assert that trading is merely a way of finding the most cost-effective means of reaching an emissions goal and a source of funding that leaves everything else exactly as it is. In fact, carbon trading undermines a number of existing and proposed positive measures for tackling climate change.

No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming
Gar Lipow

28 February 2008

The obstacles to tackling the climate crisis are political, not technological, argues this book, which focuses on the most carbon-profligate country, the United States.

Larry Lohmann

18 February 2008

 

Jutta Kill, Brian Tokar and Larry Lohmann

28 January 2008

A two-hour discussion on climate politics and carbon trading at the Unitarian Church, Montpelier, Vermont, on 28 January 2008, with Jutta Kill, Brian Tokar and Larry Lohmann, videoed by Orca Productions.

"Pay-to-Pollute" Principle Kills South African Activist Sajida Khan
Patrick Bond

30 December 2007

The death of Durban environmentalist Sajida Khan calls attention to the life-and-death consequences of the climate justice struggle. If South Africans are to be at the cutting edge of progressive climate activism, not partners in the privatization of the atmosphere, three citizens' networks -- environmentalists, community groups, and trade unions -- must join forces to identify the contradictions within both South African and global energy sector policies and practices and help synthesize modes of resistance.

Capitalist Patriarchy, Global Warming Gimmickry and our Responsibility for Rubbish
Patrick Bond and Rehana Dada

30 October 2007

Sajida Khan, an environmental activist based in Durban, South Africa, who died in July 2007, dedicated her life to fighting international corporations and local municipalities over the pollution and environmental degradation of her community. An interview with Khan about her views on environmental justice and possible ways forward to create healthier livelihoods is included.

Larry Lohmann

30 September 2007

Featuring photographs by Tamra Gilbertson, Nishant Male and Franceso Zizola, this slide show continues the series portraying the practical, on-the-ground effects of the trade in carbon credits through the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism and the voluntary "offset" market.

Kevin Smith

19 September 2007

Carbon trading, its backers claim, reduces emissions and brings sustainable development in the global South. But in fact it may do neither, and is harming efforts to create a low-carbon economy. (A Chinese version is appended to the English version.)

Larry Lohmann

5 September 2007

Emissions trading constitutes one part of carbon trading schemes such as those associated with the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and the Kyoto Protocol. Emissions trading delays structural transition away from fossil fuels, hands out large assets to the biggest polluters, and cannot be enforced globally.

Larry Lohmann

5 September 2007

Trading in carbon "offsets", which constitutes one part of carbon market arrangements such as the Kyoto Protocol, is ineffective and generally exacerbates local problems. This slide show offers some disturbing photographic evidence.

An Article for Red Pepper
Larry Lohmann

2 August 2007

The European Union, the US and big business are vying with each other to be recognized as taking serious action on climate change. But some of the most important leaders on climate change are groups fighting fossil fuel projects at the grassroots in places such as southern Thailand.

An Article for 1400 Sahitya
Larry Lohmann

30 July 2007

Under pressure to "tame" the threat of climate change to make it seem compatible with business as usual, many scientists have joined policymakers, economists and journalists in treating ignorance and uncertainty about climate as calculable "probabilities". Carbon traders, too, are forced to treat unknowns (and unknowables) as if they were calculable.

An Article from Environmental Finance magazine
Christopher Cundy

30 May 2007

For carbon trading advocates, the onward march of "cap and trade" schemes seems unstoppable. But a growing chorus of critics believes otherwise.

Kevin Smith

13 May 2007

When will it be publicly admitted that the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is not working?,p>

An Article for Development Today
Soumitra Ghosh

3 May 2007

The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism is claimed to "promote sustainable development" in the South at the same time it gives Northern industries licenses to continue polluting. But the skepticism with which countries with colonial pasts have always viewed such "aid" is also warranted here.

Larry Lohmann

30 March 2007

This interview with a Brazilian science magazine touches on the nature of technical fixes for global warming, the US role in formulating the Kyoto Protocol, and how carbon trading is wasting time that could be better spent on other approaches to climate change. (A Portuguese version is appended to the English one.)

Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins
Kevin Smith

28 February 2007

Buying "carbon offsets" to "neutralize" your carbon emissions is all the rage in middle-class society in Europe and North America. This book, published by Carbon Trade Watch, explains why offsets are not a constructive approach to climate change.

An Article for Climate Change Corp
Larry Lohmann

27 February 2007

Corporations seeking a good image in an era of climate change will steer clear of "carbon offset" projects, which are mostly propping up polluting and oppressive industries in the South. Instead, they will push for structural, long-term social changes that can help keep coal, oil and gas in the ground.

Comment and analysis in New Scientist
Larry Lohmann

2 December 2006

Far from being a solution to global warming, carbon trading is little more than licence for big polluters to carry on business as usual, says Larry Lohmann in this 'Comment and analysis' article in New Scientist magazine.

Interview with Red Pepper
Larry Lohmann

6 November 2006

The debate over how serious global warming is hides a more important conflict over who is to own the earth's ability to regulate its climate. From this perspective, George Bush and supporters of the Kyoto Protocol are on the same side. Both are working to entrench the rights and privileges of big polluters.

A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power
Larry Lohmann (editor)

9 October 2006

The globe is warming. The more carbon dioxide pours into the air, the less stable the climate becomes and the more urgent it becomes to leave remaining fossil fuels in the ground. Yet the dominant neoliberal approach to the crisis -- carbon trading -- is failing. It is slowing social and technological change; dispossessing ordinary people in the South of their lands and futures; undermining already-existing positive approaches; and prolonging industrialised societies' dependence on fossil fuels. This book lays out the case and describes what can be done.

Chapter 2 of Carbon Trading:A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power
Larry Lohmann (editor)

9 October 2006

Chapter 2 of the book, Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power, tells the extraordinary story of how corporations, academics, governments, United Nations agencies and environmentalists united around a neoliberal or 'market' approach to climate change emanating from North America. They made pollution trading -- a little-tested, highly-theoretical instrument designed merely to save industrial polluters money in the short-term -- the centrepiece of international efforts to tackle climate change.

Chapter 1 of Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power
Larry Lohmann (editor)

9 October 2006

Chapter 1 of the book Carbon Trading, traces the growing climate crisis to the mining of coal, oil and gas, and describes the growing political conflict over how to divide up the world's capacity to clean its atmosphere. It outlines the dangers of the crisis to people's survival and livelihoods, explores the political nature and implications of the problem, and sketches reasonable and unreasonable solutions. The flow of fossil carbon out of the ground, it points out, has to be slowed and ultimately halted.

Chapter 4 of Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power
Larry Lohmann (editor)

9 October 2006

Chapter 4 of the book, Carbon Trading, describes how supposedly carbon-'saving' projects set up in countries of the South to 'compensate' for continued fossil fuel use are helping to disposses ordinary people of their land, water, air -- and their futures. Projects to plant trees, burn methane from waste dumps, improve efficiency and promote renewable energy are described in ten countries, together with the tensions and conflicts created.

Chapter 3 of Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power
Larry Lohmann (editor)

9 October 2006

Chapter 3 of the book, Carbon Trading, explains why carbon trading -- one of the largest world markets ever created -- is ineffective in dealing with the climate crisis. It demonstrates that the experience of the United States in pollution trading is an argument against, rather than for, making carbon markets the centrepiece of action on global warming. It explores property rights and privatisation; emissions trading vs. structural change; and the special problems of carbon projects.

Chapter 5 of Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power
Larry Lohmann (editor)

9 October 2006

Chapter 5 of the book, Carbon Trading, dissects and sets aside the claim that "there is no alternative to carbon trading". It cites conventional regulation, public works, legal action, green taxes, popular movements against fossil fuel use, and the shifting of subsidies away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. For a more democratic and effective climate politics, the debate over climate needs to be conducted not only by corporations, ministries, specialists and big NGOs but by a wider public as well.

Can we save the planet?
Brian Tokar

15 February 2006

An accessible article from "Z Magazine" describing the key issues of global climate change discussed at last year's climate negotiations in Montreal.

Time for a Change
Larry Lohmann

9 January 2006

Carbon markets are not helping to phase out fossil fuels and are thus not helping to tackle global warming, this article for Foreign Policy in Focus argues.

Global Warming and the Privatised Atmosphere
Patrick Bond and Rehana Dada (editors)

20 October 2005

This book, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, outlines some of the practical threats to public well-being and climatic stability that arise from the growing fashion for carbon trading. It focuses on the disturbing record of South African "carbon-saving" projects and their role in shoring up a destructive oil economy.

Commodification, Calculation and Counterfactuals in Climate Change Mitigation
Larry Lohmann

20 September 2005

The Kyoto Protocol and kindred carbon trading measures have usually been presented as a small but indispensable step forward to mitigate climate change. Are they? Or, as this article for the journal Science as Culture asks, do they amount to a stumble backwards and a block to the emergence of more constructive approaches?

How to Respond to a Proposed New Export Market?
Larry Lohmann

29 January 2005

The new export market in biological carbon-cycling capacity is likely to have effects similar to export markets in soya, paper pulp, petroleum, timber, palm oil, maize, bananas, coffee or tourism. What are the best ways of encouraging discussion among affected communities about this new form of globalisation? asks this article for the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin.

The Corner House, SinksWatch and Carbon Trade Watch

2 December 2004

International carbon trading systems are failing. They are both climatically ineffective and politically infeasible. The UK Parliament's Environment Audit Committee conducted an Inquiry into the International Challenge of Climate Change: UK Leadership in the G8 and EU in October-December 2004. This Memorandum was submitted as written evidence to the Inquiry by The Corner House, SinksWatch and Carbon Trade Watch.

Markets, States and Climate
Mike Davis

30 December 2002

27. A revised understanding of nineteenth cenutry famines illuminates many current challenges of 'development' and questions the wisdom of development policies still pursued today.

Recommendations from Friends of the Earth to the ECGD
Kate Hampton, Friends of the Earth

23 May 2002

In 2001, governments agreed that export credit agencies should support the transfer of climate-friendly technologies. Urgent institutional reform is needed if Britain is to fulfil its commitment, argues this presentation at an NGO Seminar on Export Credit Reform held in the House of Commons, London.

Neocolonialism and Fraud
Larry Lohmann

2 April 2002

The Kyoto Protocol is not a step forward in the struggle to stabilise climate, but a stumble sideways into spurious science and the privatization of the atmosphere, contends this talk given at the "Resistance is Fertile" gathering in The Hague, The Netherlands

The Corner House

30 January 2002

This submission outlines how and why the UK Department for International Development (DfiD), and the multilateral agencies and non-governmental agencies to which its contributes, should act to curb emissions of greenhouse gases in developed countries. It recommends that the UK should support: initiatives to keep fossil fuels in the ground; alternative sources of energy; and movements working towards these ends.

Intellectual Corruption and the Future of the Climate Debate
Larry Lohmann

30 October 2001

24. The “carbon market” approach of international agreements to tackle climate change is incoherent. No one knows how to value the goods in this market, nor to whom they belong. As a result, the market, backed by a growing, well-funded, global climate technocracy, will subsidise further climate change. Democratic challenges to this “carbocracy” will be crucial in opening up the climate debate and combating the scientific fraudulence now rife in mainstream discussions.

The Shady World of Carbon Laundering
Larry Lohmann

15 May 2000

Tradeable carbon credits from forests cannot be scientifically quantified. NGOs interested in participating in markets for such credits need to be aware of the climatic damage they sanction as well as the damage they may do to communities affected by fossil fuel exploitation.

A New Plantation Economy
Larry Lohmann

1 May 2000

Tree plantations to "compensate" for industrial carbon-dioxide emissions are being established in many parts of the world, often infringing local land and water rights in the South. Understanding the discourses through which the carbon "offset" market is being created is crucial to political action on climate change.

Ethnic Discrimination and Conservation in Thailand
Larry Lohmann

9 April 2000

The intersections between international nature conservation and ethnic politics are of serious and growing concern to many social movements in Southeast Asia. This paper offers evidence that international environmentalist practices interact with local and national conditions to advance the structural work of ethnic discrimination and racism in Southeast Asia. The racist outcomes of these practices do not flow exclusively from unprofessionalism, faulty science, irrationality, immorality or incorrect beliefs -- and anti-racist strategy has to accommodate this insight.

The Politics and Culture of Combustion
Stephen J. Pyne with Larry Lohmann

28 February 2000

18. Sensational images of wildfires often prompt calls for sweeping, high-tech measures to control fire in the open. Yet fire in the open is a planetary necessity. The problem is too little controlled open burning in the North, and too much wildfire in the South -- and too many catastrophic, destructive blazes and not enough cleansing, fertilizing ones. Constructive debate about climate change, agriculture or forestry requires a careful look at the culture, ecology and politics of global fire.

Larry Lohmann

26 February 2000

A presentation at a seminar on "Environmental Justice in a Divided Society", Goldsmiths College, University of London, suggests that individual Western environmentalists are often pushed into supporting racist or discriminatory structures by their need to adhere to the rules of professional performance, including those of peer-reviewed science.

Planting New Problems
Larry Lohmann

15 December 1999

This article outlines two options put forward to tackle global warming -- reduce fossil fuel use or plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide -- and analyses the substantial differences between the two approaches.

Carbon ‘Offset’ Forestry and The Privatization of the Atmosphere
Larry Lohmann

31 July 1999

15. This briefing questions the view that tree plantations are a viable way of mitigating the climatic effects of industrial carbon-dioxide emissions. This “solution” to global warming is based on bad science, enlarges society’s ecological footprint, and reinforces neo-colonialist structures of power.

Aubrey Meyer and Nicholas Hildyard

2 December 1997

3. Most scientists agree that human-made emissions of greenhouse gases have to be reduced signifiantly. The North is the main emitter of these gases and should make the most cuts. Many Southern countries argue that emission targets should be set on a per capita basis within a framework of “contraction and convergence”: per capita emissions should converge globally to an agreed ceiling, allowing emissions of developing countries to increase and those of developed countries to contract.