Richard Widick (IICAT:10/16/16)
In the interest of directing attention to the manifold possible futures dictated by the current policy initiative at every scale of governance (from local/municipal to global), we dedicate this page to archiving what we believe are the best tendencies in contemporary theory and practice of climate action – which we define as any and all personal (individual), private (market), public (civil society) or state (governance) activity explicitly undertaken for the purpose of climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.
To the extent that modern democratic governance achieves the ideal of governance by and for the people, it represents collective efforts to apply science to the better engineering of social life, whereby “better” in this case we mean sustainable and productive of interwoven human and environmental values, over-against what in contrast might be too simply referred to as merely economic/private values—for example, whereas industrial forestry operators might consider it best to use unregulated clear cutting for the maximization of short term corporate profits for private firms, social regulation of that same industry promoting restoration forestry might best produce a sustainable mix of social values (for example timber industry jobs), environmental values (like recovering forests, stream ecology, salmon fisheries and wildlife) and economic values (profits, etc.).
CARBON TAXES – for the reshaping of investment and consumption choices. In this section we provide the best sources and information we know of for comprehending and using economic policy to reshape investment and consumption incentives in such a way as to promote sustainable development.
Robert Stavins & Josephy E. Aldy provide a lucid description of how carbon taxes might be used to lower emissions: “Using Markets to Address Climate Change: Insights from Theory and Experience,” Daedalus 141(2), Spring 2012, pp. 45-60.
The Carbon Tax Center brings together the pioneering work of scientists, economists, and environmentalists devoted to transforming the legal/regulatory environment for decision makers at all levels to reflect the emerging reality of climate change in the 21st century…
But will carbon taxes actually work, in practice? See this recent evidence from British Columbia, Canada, which province instituted a carbon tax in 2007.
Please watch NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen explain the rationale for putting a price on carbon at the 2010 Pricing Carbon Conference at Wesleyan:
THE WORLD BANK Carbon Pricing Initiative:
Read the World Bank’s Carbon Pricing Watch Report 2016.
The Joint Statement on Carbon Pricing, released at the UN General Secretary’s special Climate Summit, September, 2014.
CARBON MARKETS & the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism – for the mitigation of greenhouse gas production… is this a false solution?
On January 19, 2015, “Make Forests Pay” appeared on the Opinion page of the New York Times.
Given that this is the final year negotiating the next universal climate treaty; that the key debate is the role of markets in the new treaty; that the core of that debate is the veracity and efficacy of these markets… it should strike the reader as perplexing to read from these Professors, speaking of today’s already achieved carbon offset credit markets, that “These markets are booming, with trades each year in the tens of billions of dollars.”
Really? But what price have they established? Have they accounted for any measurable sequestration? How much profit has been extracted, by comparison? Are traders flocking to participate, or running for their lives? Are news organizations covering the scene, or downsizing their staffs for lack of interest?
Time permitting, a deeper engagement with the actual potential of carbon markets would include some historical material analysis of actually existing carbon markets.
Instead, what we have here the unfettered celebration of the idea of these markets. Take a look at the article first, then scroll down and visit the site of the Rainforest Standard, which the authors put forward as an exemplary effort.
“Make Forests Pay,” by Don Melnick, Mary Pearl, & James Warfield [Don Melnick and Mary Pearl are professors of biology at Columbia and the City University of New York, respectively. James Warfield is deputy director of Columbia’s Center for Environment, Economy and Society.]
2014, Third World Network, Briefing Paper, “Urgently Needed Emission Reductions and Climate Finance: Can Market Mechanisms Deliver,” by Kate Dooley.
See also Dooley’s June 2013 Briefing on the June 2013 Bonn talks: “Review Collapsed Markets Before Moving On New Markets, Developing Countries Say.”
Urgently needed emission reductions and climate finance: Can
market mechanisms deliver
A 2012 article in the New York Times illustrate the complexity of CDM and carbon market public-private finance mechanisms interned to put a price on carbon and harnas market forces using incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In “Carbon Credits Gone Awry Raise Output of Harmful Gas,” Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew W. Lehren (New York TImes, August 8, 2012) explain how 19 corporations that produce ozone-killing greenhouse gasses actually produce the harmful waste in order to receive the UN-issued carbon credits, by which they profit by selling on world carbon markets when other companies buy them to offset their own emissions in order to meet their emissions on reduction targets under Kyoto in their home nations. It is a complex issue that we find easier to understand when presented inconcrete case studies—that is what this article provides and why we think it is a great place to begin your own evaluation. Take a closer look at the case here, on a page devoted to the topic: Carbon Credits Gone Awry.
Please watch this 2010 video in which Michael Dorsey, Visiting Fellow and Professor of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment, discusses the nature and the challenge of using carbon markets as a solution:
Jan 10, 2010, NYC Panel Discussion:”Selling the Sky: Carbon Trading and the Failure of Copenhagen.” Dr. Michael Dorsey is featured in this draft footage recorded by firstname.lastname@example.org, fansmiles productions. for more information on this panel, go to climatesos.org beyond talk (climate pledge of resistance), Institute for Social Ecology and countercarbontrading@actforclimatejustic
CTX, an electronic platform for trading carbon offsets:
NEW URBANISM – for the reshaping of human habitation.
Planetizen: Planning, Design and Development – a public interest information exchange “for the urban planning, design, and development community. It is a one-stop source for urban planning news, commentary, interviews, event coverage, book reviews, announcements, jobs, consultant listings, training, and more… covering a wide number of planning, design, and development issues, from transportation to global warming, architecture to infrastructure, housing and community development to historic preservation… a forum for people across the political and ideological spectrum, ensuring a healthy debate on these and other important issues.”
American Rivers: Greening Urban Infrastructure. Report: “Banking on Green: A look at how Green Infrastructure can save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide.”
GREEN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – for reshaping the way people work and how businesses do business.
Climate Action. In partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the organization Climate Action describes its work as “Assisting Business Towards Climate Neutrality,” and uses the term “carbon negative development.” Read the Climate Action self-description page here. Their entire site warrants careful examination for its advocation of and archiving of public-private partnering efforts at green economic transformation in the interest of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. A good assessment of the relationships between market and state agents in the international climate wars will have to survey the wide field of innovation reflected in the collected resources presented here. It remains a relevant question whether so-called green development amounts to a chimerical greening of the same old carbon-fueled capitalist business as usual—but in our view that determination must be made on a case by case basis.