Green Groups at COP 25 Warn Against Market-Driven Solutions to Climate Emergency
As the United Nations climate summit COP 25 kicked off in Madrid, Spain on Monday, environmental advocacy groups warned that market-driven approaches to tackling the global emergency are an obstacle to real solutions to rein in emissions and making those most responsible for the crisis pay.
At issue are international carbon markets, which, as a DW headline put it, will “take center stage.”
“Big polluters must be rubbing their hands in glee that carbon market mechanisms, which further dilute the already weak and inadequate Paris emissions targets, are back on the agenda,” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Program coordinator for Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), in a statement.
As Nature explained Monday,
Climate groups have treated with suspicion carbon markets, whether they take the form of “cap and trade”—where one polluter can trade its surplus units of allowable carbon emissions to another polluter—or carbon offsetting—in which some activity is done to “offset” the carbon created a polluter.
In briefing paper last month, Friends of the Earth and other climate groups said that not only do carbon markets not work to adequately limit emissions, the market approaches can unleash harmful consequences for local and indigenous communities.
“Carbon markets operate on the false and unscientific assumption that offsetting emissions and selling permits to pollute will reduce global warming,” the groups said.
The briefing paper details a number of problems with the scheme, including that carbon prices are too low, the markets do nothing to remedy local impacts of fossil fuel projects, “offsetting” projects can lead to evictions of forest dwellers, and trading can allow fossil fuel companies—whose voices are uplifted over those of communities—a decade or more of time to continue planet-warming projects.
Global Justice Ecology Project and Biofuelwatch also addressed carbon markets in a statement on Monday, saying the approach was being pushed by Chile at this year’s climate conference.
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