New York City – Protesters with Rising Tide North America’s “Greenwash Guerrillas” paid a surprise Halloween visit to the Carbon Market Insights conference in New York City today. Posing as delegates, two protesters took the stage at the exclusive event and presented the 700 attendees with a “Deed to the Atmosphere,” denouncing Carbon Trading as a sham approach to the fossil fuels crisis. The action was the first in the US to target the growing Carbon Trading industry.“Carbon trading puts the most crucial decisions about the future of life on this planet in the hands of fossil fuel industry,” said protester Jessica Starr “the very industry that got us into this mess in the first place.”
Though heavily criticized by environmental and human rights organizations world-wide, Carbon Trading is the primary mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, as well as in Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner’s (R-Va.) “America’s Climate Security Act of 2007.” The Carbon Market Insights conference brings together the leaders of the US financial, non-profit, and “eco securities” industries backing a domestic US Carbon Trading market.
Lieberman and Warner’s bill, S. 2191, is expected to clear the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee in November. If enacted, it would create a system of tradable permits in greenhouse gas emissions, which would be gifted to status quo polluters through 2036.
As these permits may be bought and sold for enormous profits on the marketplace, the environmental group Friends of the Earth has stated that the “Lieberman climate bill may contain the biggest corporate giveaways in American history”, valued at 1.5 trillion dollars. The European Emissions Trading System established under the Kyoto protocol has generated hundreds of billions of dollars of additional profits for the fossil fuel industry, yet most countries are failing to meet their greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
“Gifting free, tradable property rights to the worst polluters does little to ensure reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” said David Lee, another of the Greenwash Guerillas “Carbon Trading and the Lieberman bill are a subsidy for big polluters disguised as a climate protection measure.”
The Liebermen Bill allows the largest greenhouse gas emitters to “offset” or nullify their emissions by financing carbon reductions projects that take place in other locations, stalling implementations of technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases here. These projects, frequently initiated in developing countries, shift investment away from emission-reducing technologies domestically, and have also been criticized for not always delivering promised reductions. These projects have led to the displacement of low-carbon use communities in favor of large scale “clean development” projects including hydroelectric dams and genetically modified tree plantations. In Uganda, villagers have been arrested and even killed after being ousted from their land for tree plantations which they dared to cut down.
“Carbon offsets do little more than the selling of indulgences by Catholic churches in the 16th century,” said David Lee “it’s time to get serious about stopping climate change and shut these false solutions down.”