3E Intelligence

Professor Michael K Dorsey (Dartmouth College) questions the market-based solutions to climate change in a recent article published in Foreign Policy in Focus.

Under the provocative title “Green Market Hustlers“, Dorsey tries to prove that “neither cap-and-trade nor its other market-based ilk will bring us back from the edge. Indeed, the market approaches and the green business leaders who are promoting them might be pushing us closer to catastrophe“.

On a global scale, carbon trading is little more than an untested economic experiment that may not avert climate catastrophe in time. Moreover, carbon trading aids and abets climate injustice. In the main, trading is designed to parcel, privatize, and sell the right to pollute carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The very same petroleum, natural gas, and electricity concerns disproportionately responsible for carbon dioxide emissions and climate change — who denied the existence of climate change and are now urging gradual steps to address it — all stand to make windfall profits on untested and perhaps unverifiable cap-and-trade schemes buoyed up by increasingly fraudulent numbers of “offset projects.”

The article is part of a broader debate heating up mainly in the United States on the question of carbon trading versus carbon taxation as the best instrument to tackle global warming. A good summary of that debate was recently published in Reason Magazine.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in 2006 published a similar critical evaluation of carbon trading.

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