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Carbon offsets are “emissions-saving projects” created to supposedly compensate for continued pollution in industrialised countries in the North. The vast majority of these projects are undertaken by companies, international financial institutions and governments.

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Under these schemes, governments or intergovernmental bodies set an overall limit on greenhouse gas emissions in a certain time period (“a cap”) and then grant industries a certain number of licenses to pollute (“carbon permits” or “emissions allowances”). Companies can trade their permits. In practice, it has rewarded major polluters with windfall profits instead of making them reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at source.

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The UN claims that the main aim of the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)” mechanism is to make forests more valuable standing than they would be cut down by creating a financial value for the carbon stored in the trees. However, by extending enclosures and turning biodiverse ecosystems into carbon stocks, REDD+ endangers Indigenous Peoples and forest-based communities, collective territories, cultures and environments.

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By looking at the economic and political processes of the world system that are causing the climate disruption, climate justice movements mainly seek to stop resource-intensive industrial production, to “leave fossil-fuels in the ground, coal in the hole and the tar sands in the lands”.

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Climate change affects everyone, but research shows that the financially poorest peoples of the world suffer the most. Women are the majority of those living in poverty in the world. Women are often in the center of climate, environmental and social struggles.

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Monoculture crops and plantations have a host of social and environmental problems associated with their cultivation. In the South, monoculture plantations are large-scale and often produce bulk products for the export market, not for local use.

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creativecommons 2014  Carbon Trade Watch