Monthly Archives: June 2008

Carbon markets: Trading in ignorance

Are tradeable emission credits, offset schemes and carbon markets the way to solve the climate crisis? Do such markets demonstrate how ‘environment’ and ‘development’ can be combined into ‘green capitalism’? In a carefully argued deconstruction of the carbon market fiction, Larry Lohmann explains how such markets effectively conceal and undermine “the knowledge and analysis needed to respond to global warming.”

In his article, Lohmann provides examples of the wilful ignorance inherent in carbon markets. The following is my summary of these ’10 ways in which carbon markets create ignorance’.

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Filed under capitalism, climate change, David, social justice

The World According to Monsanto

The World According to Monsanto is a documentary that dissects the evil that is Monsanto. Evil is a very strong word, but I don’t know a better one. Watch for yourself and judge if I’ve been too harsh. It makes for fascinating, if grim, viewing, and is available to watch free on the web. Be warned – it will most likely make you feel angry and radical.

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Filed under Barry, capitalism, green politics, sustainability

The Green Party and the environmental movement in New Zealand

A recent editorial in the New Zealand Herald (4 June 2008 ) offers the Green Party some advice on political positioning:

Despite their durability, the Greens should be a stronger party in this country. Environmental values are widely held and can offer a political identity outside the normal social divide. The party in our Parliament, however, has not offered a separate identity, it adheres to a left-wing view of environmentalism, opposed to free trade, preferring public ownership to private property, distracted by issues it calls social justice.

A broader Green Party would build some conservation projects on private property rights and recognise the power of market forces to ensure resources are used sustainably. A party of that stamp would draw support from across the spectrum and could contemplate dealings with any government.

The Green Party needs to move out of left field and become a central player.

It’s not first time I’ve seen this complaint in the Herald (here’s another example). But one might easily be led to suspect the Herald’s motives in freely offering its counsel to the Greens, given the newspaper’s tendency toward unreconstructed neoliberalism (which might just explain the emphasis on private property rights and market forces, and the dismissal of social justice concerns in the above quote).

However, the frequency with which I have heard similar complaints from environmentalists, conservationists and even, at times, some party members suggests that it is not just editorial writers who have failed to grasp something quite fundamental about ecopolitics.

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, David, green politics

On the origin of specious(ness)

A recent study of environmentally sceptical books gives a fascinating glimpse behind the wall of denial that has been constructed in these publications. Peter Jacques, Riley Dunlap and Mark Freeman, the authors of the study, characterise this environmental scepticism as:

– the denial of the significance and even the authenticity of environmental problems

– the questioning of environmentally protective policies and a promotion of anti-regulatory policies

– the suggestion that environmental protection threatens western ‘progress’.

Compiled on the basis of these criteria, the “sceptics’ reading list” comprises 141 books published in English and appearing between 1972 and 2005.

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Filed under David, green politics

The Carbon Connection

Greens around the world are exhorting governments to take action on climate change. But in encouraging this action, we are also responsible for ensuring that it is both meaningful and just. The theme of climate justice is central to the 40-minute documentary The Carbon Connection (available for free viewing here).

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Filed under climate change, David, green politics, social justice