U.S.: Resist Carbon Trading Action in NYC, Jan. 9 & 13

U.S.:  Resist Carbon Trading Action in NYC, Jan. 9 & 13



Following closely on the heels of the failed UN Copenhagen climate conference, , the Second Annual Carbon Trade Summit will be convened on January 12-13th in New York City, bringing together representatives of some of the most polluting industries, industry associations, carbon financiers, banks, government officials and corporate "big greens." Participants will include executives from JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Duke Energy, and many more. (See http://www.iglobalforum.com/conference_live.php?r=22&p=home.)
Here they will discuss how to take advantage of the emerging carbon markets. Under a veneer of greenwash, they will be determining ways to ensure that marketable allowances for greenhouse gases (a.k.a., “cap-and-trade” schemes) remain the centerpiece of global climate policy.

What is carbon trading and why is it a false solution that blocks positive alternatives?
Corporations are claiming the atmosphere as a private commodity and buying and selling "rights" to pollute it. Manipulation of these "rights" - in combination with so-called "offsets" (projects that claim to reduce emissions on their behalf, but most often do not) - will allow the industry to stonewall real pollution reductions for another 15 to 20 years, with devastating consequences for all life on earth. Carbon markets in the European Union have proven extremely volatile, prone to manipulation and gaming, and they do not help reduce emissions.

Why would this stalling be dangerous and immoral?
The consensus of science is that we do not have much time to waste. Tipping points of runaway global warming are already being approached. It is absolutely necessary that real pollution reductions begin immediately and proceed expeditiously. It is grossly immoral to turn this greatest threat to humanity into yet another economic bubble for Wall Street.

How did corporate power sabotage Copenhagen?
The U.S. went to Copenhagen with an abysmally weak offer. Obama claimed (incorrectly) that he could not go beyond the targets that had been approved in the House of Representatives. At both the UN and Congressional levels, this is the product of a corporate war on reason, combined with lobbying in the extreme (e.g., 4-5 climate lobbyists per member of Congress). They are blocking efforts to secure a safe future, misleading the public about the seriousness of the threat, and advocating persistently for so-called “market mechanisms” as the only means to reduce emissions. These corporations have a stranglehold on both the U.S. Congress and on international climate policy.

What can we do?
Never before in history has the need for a grassroots resistance movement been more urgently needed. Climate scientists now tell us we are on course for 4 to 7 degrees of warming in the coming century, a death sentence for much of life on this planet, including human populations starting with the most vulnerable. If the climate movement is going to have any chance for success, it must confront the true source of this emergency. Placing the future of life on the altar of market fundamentalism is a path to annihilation. We must demand system change, not climate change! As tens of thousands of people chanted a few weeks ago on the streets of Copenhagen, “Our climate is not their business!”

Climate SOS (www.climatesos.org) and Climate Pledge of Resistance (CPR for the Planet) are gathering allies to protest this event. A "Peoples Alternative Carbon Summit" will offer speakers in a panel presentation on Sunday evening Jan.10, including Professor Michael Dorsey of Dartmouth College. A rally will be held outside of the venue. Some may engage in nonviolent civil disobedience.


*Nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience workshop
WHEN: Saturday. Jan. 9 from 10am to 5pm
WHERE: The Change You Want To See Gallery: 84 Havemeyer St. (at
Metropolitan Ave), Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

**Panel Discussion: "Selling the Sky: Carbon Trading and the Failure of
Copenhagen." With Dr. Michael Dorsey, Professor of
Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College, Cecil Corbin-Mark of West
Harlem Environmental Action (WEACT) and Brian Tokar of the Institute
for Social Ecology. (also invited but not yet confirmed: Patrick Bond,
University of S Africa and Joan Yang, Deputy Ambassador from
WHEN: Sunday Jan. 10, at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Unity Hall, 235 W. 23rd St., between 7th and 8th Avenues (1, C,
E, F, or V train to 23rd St.)

***Presentation and discussion: Climate Change: From COP15 to
Climate Justice Movement, with Tina Gerhardt (journalist,
academic, activist just returned from Copenhagen)
WHEN: Monday Jan 11 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street (between Houston and

**** Tuesday, Jan 12 at noon: Press Event: Featuring renowned climate scientistDR.
the Climate Crisis Coalition and representing concerned members of the
religious community.

***** Rally and protest outside of the Carbon Trading Summit (Embassy Suites Hotel)
WHEN: Wednesday Jan. 13th, 12 noon
WHERE: Irish Hunger Memorial Park
(Nearest stop:
World Trade Center (E train): walk 1 block south to Vesey St.,
turn right (west), cross West St., and continue west past the Embassy
Suites Hotel to the Irish Hunger Memorial.
OR: From Chambers St. station (A, C, 1, 2, 3): 5 short blocks south to
Vesey St., continue as above.
OR: From City Hall station (R, W) or Park Place (2, 3): 2-3
blocks south to Vesey St., continue as above.

To join this effort and take a stand for climate justice, for real solutions, and for the future of our planet, please contact: countercarbontrading@actforclimatejustice.org

Or on facebook:


Day One: NYC Carbon Traders Summit Protest

James Hansen rails against cap-and-trade plan in open letter

Nasa scientist advocates using fee-and-dividend approach to reducing carbon emissions

[guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 12 January 2010 17.49 GMT]


"You are choosing the path focused on corporate greed," climate scientist James Hansen has told carbon traders in a open letter which he and climate activists attempted to deliver to a carbon trading conference in New York today.


In below-freezing temperatures, climate change campaigners gathered at midday at the Irish Hunger Memorial in Vesey Park, near the Embassy Suites Hotel where the conference is being held, to hear Hansen read parts of his open letter. Tomorrow there will be another demonstration at the same spot, at which an unconfirmed number of activists have pledged to commit acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.


Hansen's letter advocates using the fee-and-dividend approach to reducing carbon emissions, rather than cap-and-trade. Fee-and-dividend is a "transparent, honest approach that benefits the public", he says, in contrast to cap-and-trade, which "is a hidden tax … because cap-and-trade increases the cost of energy for the public, as utilities and other industries purchase the right to pollute with one hand, adding it to fuel prices, while with the other hand they take back most of the permit revenues from the government. Costs and profits of the trading infrastructure are also added to the public's energy bill."


"The public must understand the difference between cap-and-trade and fee-and-dividend," states Hansen, head of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Otherwise, "the present administration may jam down the public's throat just such an approach, which, it can be shown, is not a solution at all."


The other speakers present, who included the Harlem community organiser Cecil Corbin-Mark of We Act for Environmental Justice, Charles Komanoff of the Carbon Tax Centre, and Father Paul Mayer of the Climate Crisis Coalition, spoke about the inequity of a cap-and-trade system. One of the organisers, Brian Tokar, said: "Carbon trading is unfair, it's unethical, and it just doesn't work."


A carbon trading system depends on allocating a market price to carbon emissions, and either hands out, auctions or sells carbon permits to industry sectors. A fee-and-dividend system imposes a fee on the initial sale of a fossil fuel which is then redistributed to the public; the rising cost of carbon-intensive products would, it is hoped, encourage families to keep their carbon footprints low.


The civil disobedience planned for tomorrow outside the conference is part of the growing climate change activist movement in the US. Tokar told the Guardian: "In the last few months there's been a real rising of awareness about climate change issues in the US. For a long time they were seen as kind of abstract, something that the scientists were talking about, but now, in the months leading up to Copenhagen, people fully realised that these were issues that are affecting vulnerable people around the world in the shape of floods and droughts.


"Back in November we had the day of Climate Justice Action on 30 November on the 10th anniversary of the Seattle day of action. People blockaded the Chicago Climate Exchange, and blockaded a shipment of components for a new coal burning power plant, and protested outside the Bank of America in San Francisco. Activists are definitely beginning to focus on climate change in a way that they weren't a couple of years ago."