The Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM), which was supposed to reduce emissions, is subsidising the fossil-fuel industry.
A new British government kitemark suggests that most carbon offset schemes are flawed, but fails to address the more fundamental problem of paying others to clean up after us.
Carbon trading and offsets distract attention from the wider, systemic changes and collective political action that needs to be taken in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Promoting more effective and empowering approaches to climate change involves moving away from the blinkered reductionism of free-market dogma, the false economy of supposed quick fixes and the short-term self-interest of big business.
The National Emissions Trading Taskforce is due to present some sort of design scheme for an Australian national emissions trading scheme in the second half of 2007, and PM John Howard has announced a task group to look at how Australia could participate in the global market.
The carbon offset industry was all about growth in 2006. The high-profile, Britain-based CarbonNeutral Company reported an annual turnover of £2.7 million, while the global market sold an estimated £60 million, and this figure was estimated to increase five times over in three years.