Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies
During my semester in France (Fall 08) I received a Rezelman Grant to take a trip to London to do some research and immerse myself in the world of Carbon Trade. I visited two opposing organizations: Point Carbon and Carbon Trade Watch. I also talked to people about their knowledge and understandings of the carbon trade systems, and got some interesting conclusions about it.
First, I visited Carbon Trade Watch, a nonprofit organization that aims to offer a durable body of research which with a justice-based analysis of climate change and climate policy. They take stories from different carbon-trade base projects around the world, include the voice of the affected and provide an alternative analysis for the new globalized- tradable item: air. They have a critique view on carbon neutrality, the use of agrofuels and the Clean Development Mechanism. While many encourage these actions in order to reduce Carbon Emissions, CTW argues that is just a façade and that many people are being affected in the process. Their point pf view relays more in the realization of ecological and social justice, rather than economics.
I was mainly interested in the REDD mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries). Different agencies and international organizations advocate for this mechanism; however CTW gave me a different perspective. They see this mechanism as a new form of eco-imperialism that disregards indigenous rights and various ecosystems.
On the other hand, I visited the more formal, less open Point Carbon. This is the main analysis agency for Carbon Trade, offset projects, and power and gas markets. They provide the insight analysis for different Carbon trade moves. They provide an analysis of the market, price, business and key market players. They were founded in 2000 and they provide private advisory for different business, including the biggest energy companies. They provide workshops, news feed, instant advisory, etc. for a really high cost. They showed me very little of their installations, however all filled with people and computers.
When I asked about their position and thought about Carbon Market and its consequences, they told me it was the best solution that we could find at this time, and the most viable one. They say they mainly help with transaction, and that they work with institutions and companies that work on CDMs and other trading mechanism. However, they could see that many of the organizations they work with are very socially committed.
Going to these two radically different organizations gave me a better understanding of the carbon market. It changed my views on some issues and gave me a strong background to proceed investigating for my senior thesis. Carbon market is something very complex and it needs to be analyzed not just from the economic point of view but from the social and ecological justice and ethics perspective. For me, is very relevant to have a holistic understanding of the views and actions of developed countries. The importance of not just governments but enterprises and institutions in this crucial kind of trade, has been clarified for me during this experience.