Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Daphne Wysham, "Carbon market fundamentalism," The Multinational Monitor, November 11, 2008.

[Carbon trading is angling to become the next derivative bubble scam. It will not reduce emissions. In the short term, it will increase emissions by selling off future develoment in underdeveloped countries. -jlt]

  ...the CDM is rapidly devolving into a subsidy for some of the dirtiest industries in the Global South and an excuse for inaction in cutting the significant greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries.

The waste-pickers of Delhi may soon rank among the world’s endangered species if carbon markets continue their rise. Now numbering in the tens if not hundreds of thousands, waste-pickers have plied the garbage of Delhi’s streets for decades. A disturbing spectacle, often including women and children in their ranks, they nonetheless provide a vital service: recycling. In a country like India, paper, plastic and metals are an increasingly valuable commodity. And for slum-dwellers, this may be their only source of income. And so they join the cows and dogs in a daily forage through garbage by the side of road, searching for plastic, paper, metals — anything that can be turned into cash.

Bharati Chaturvedi, director and co-founder of Chintan, a small non-governmental organization (NGO) servicing India’s waste-pickers, claims that more than 1 percent of Delhi’s population is engaged in waste-picking — a significant source of revenue for the poorest — and that they recycle 9 percent to 59 percent of all of the waste generated in the city. “These waste-pickers are providing a public service — for free,” Chaturvedi says.

But a waste incinerator now proposed in Timarpur, a suburb of Delhi, may change all that. Like other incinerators, this one will generate cancer-causing dioxins, mercury, and other heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. What’s new and different about this particular waste incinerator: It will generate carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

  The same deregulatory fervor that is playing out in the bankruptcy of Wall Street banks, credit card companies and derivatives traders brought the theory of carbon trading: Open up the free markets — in this case, the newly minted market in carbon — eliminate regulatory interventions such as carbon taxes or precise standards for polluters, and the market will seek out the most efficient means of achieving the same emissions reductions goals.

The whole article is available here =>
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