Vandana Shiva: For Ecological Sustainability and Social Justice, Governments and the U.N. Should Tax Carbon
Vandana Shiva: For Ecological Sustainability and Social Justice, Governments and the U.N. Should Tax Carbon. Commentary by Vandana Shiva, NewStatesman (UK), September 20, 2009. “Emissions trading, or offsetting, is not in fact a mechanism to reduce emissions… Such schemes are more about privatizing the atmosphere than about preventing climate change… Carbon trading uses the resources of poorer people and poorer regions as ‘offsets’ for richer countries: it is between 50 and 200 times cheaper to plant trees in poor countries to absorb CO2 than it is to reduce emissions at source. In other words, the burden of ‘clean-up’ falls on the poor. From a market perspective, this might appear efficient, but in terms of energy justice, it is perverse to burden the poor twice – first with the impact of CO2 pollution in the form of climate disasters and then with offsetting the pollution of the rich… Regulating by carbon trading is like fiddling as Rome burns. Governments and the UN should impose a carbon tax on corporations, both for production — wherever their facilities are located — and for transport, which the Kyoto Protocol does not account for directly. Incentives for renewable energy are also essential. We face a stark choice: we can destroy the conditions for human life on the planet by clinging to ‘free-market’ fundamentalism, or we can secure our future by bringing commerce within the laws of ecological sustainability and social justice.” Vandana Shivais Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource in Dehradun, India.