Tag Archives: critique of carbon markets

Getting climate policy back on course with the Kaya Identity

Here’s another take on the need for a new approach to combat climate change. It is based on the Kaya Identity – not, as you might think, a novel by Robert Ludlum, but a simple equation that gives some very useful insights into the factors that determine levels of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Basing their alternative ideas on this equation, Gwyn Prins and 12 colleagues explain How to get climate policy back on course (pdf here). It needs to be put back on track because, as Prins and colleagues put it, the existing policy approach (based on carbon markets) is an “abject failure” (p.4).

The Kaya Identity suggests that there are four – and only four – macro-scale policy levers that are available for making emissions reductions and each of the four levers suggests a particular approach to policy:

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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