Notes on examples of different strategies:                                                                                                                                                                                                     Return to Index page

1. (market mechanisms) carbon trading: Steve Trent, executive director at the Environmental Justice Foundation:

Carbon credits

Colonialism enabled the UK to profit from resources that were never ours to take. Now once again we seek to export our problems... the option of using ‘international carbon credits’ [means that] the UK can pay for other countries to make carbon cuts on our behalf – we can continue to benefit from our addiction to carbon, while others pay the real cost.

Carbon credits are not an answer to the climate crisis. The UK government’s own advisors, tell us they are ineffective when it comes to mitigation, and the same investment to balance carbon budgets within the UK would yield better, fairer results. 

The UK’s official Committee on Climate Change has made it abundantly clear it is “essential” that the commitment is achieved without use of international carbon credits.

Quote from government paper (CCC: Net Zero): By reducing emissions produced in the UK to zero, we also end our contribution to rising global temperatures. That this outcome is now within reach is testament to the UK’s progress – deploying new solutions, learning by doing, driving costs down, as required by the Climate Change Act. The Act was the world’s first legally-binding framework for tackling climate change and it remains one of the strongest in the world to this day. Committing to net-zero will reaffirm the Act’s strength, but it is essential that the commitment is comprehensive, achieved without use of international credits and covering international aviation and shipping.

Carbon pricing etc, from Richard Murphy: both [carbon pricing and carbon taxation] miss the point of the climate crisis. What they presuppose is that we can price our way out of an emissions crisis that we now know threatens the future of life on earth. And the simple fact is that we can’t do that. There is no way we can be priced out of this issue. We can only solve the emissions crisis by stopping emissions. And taxing them won't do that, any more than taxing tobacco has ever stopped smoking. Other measures - like bans - have been needed to make progress on that goal. That is even more the case for carbon. 

As importantly, the essence is that what both carbon tax and carbon price arguments suggest is that business can carry on supplying products emitting carbon as before, but that those products will simply suffer a price differential when compared to lower or non-carbon emitting products and what we are then supposed to rely on is the price mechanism of the market to alter consumer demand. I suggest that logic is wrong.

First, this assumes that none of the responsibility for the climate crisis rest on the manufacturers of the products that have get us into this mess. That's definitely wrong. They are primarily to blame. They have known for decades what they have been doing with regard to carbon emissions, and have carried on doing it regardless. And we can be quite sure that they will carry on doing so into the future if they can pass the blame to us as consumers who, they will say, clearly indicate we still want their polluting and life-threatening products if we still buy them after carbon taxes are added. What this ignores is the fact that much of that demand will be driven by an absence of alternatives, which business will have no incentive to promote if there are carbon taxes, and that consumer behaviour is anyway heavily influenced by supplier behaviour through advertising and other market-distorting activities. 

And [...], there is no market for carbon. There has never been. It’s a fictional creation that pretends that something is being done when that is not true. No one wants to buy or sell carbon. It’s an externality that cannot be priced. That’s partly because no one wants it. That essential quality of a market - a willing buyer - does not exist...  A market presumes that there will be demand. The reality is that we have to eliminate that demand to ensure there can be life on earth.

Additional points from CCC report:

A net-zero GHG target is not credible unless policy is ramped up significantly. Mostsectors will need to reduce emissions close to zero without offsetting; the target cannot bemet by simply adding mass removal of CO2 onto existing plans for the 80% target.Delivery must progress with far greater urgency. Many current plans are insufficientlyambitious; others are proceeding too slowly, even for the current 80% target:§2040 is too late for the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars and vans, and currentplans for delivering this are too vague.

§Over ten years after the Climate Change Act was passed, there is still no serious planfor decarbonising UK heating systems and no large-scale trials have begun for eitherheat pumps or hydrogen.

§Carbon capture (usage) and storage, which is crucial to the delivery of zero GHGemissions and strategically important to the UK economy, is yet to get started. Whileglobal progress has also been slow, there are now 43 large-scale projects operatingor under development around the world, but none in the UK.

§Afforestation targets for 20,000 hectares/year across the UK nations (due to increaseto 27,000 by 2025), are not being delivered, with less than 10,000 hectares plantedon average over the last five years. The voluntary approach that has been pursued sofar for agriculture is not delivering reductions in emissions


2. (green business) ‘sustainability’ – use ‘safs’ cutting (sustainable air fuels [Also: remember dieselgate, mention Tufton Street?]


3. (green consumer) carbon footprint: also ‘smart meters’ – shifting responsibility to individual consumer (again!)


4. (pressure groups) divestment [National Day of Action for Divestment: 14th Nov (universities etc) #WeAreTheChange] [Also: XR]

5. (political parties) Greens (next week)

6. (government) air quality - government has been taken to court several times for not meeting EU P10 limits (should have been met in 2005). [Also: ‘net zero emissions’ is not zero!]  [Also tree planting: see cutting and: The government had a target of planting 5,000 hectares of trees in England in the year to end-March, but only managed to plant 1,420 hectares.]

7. (international) WHO, IPCC,



8. (international civil society) The Leap Manifesto:

(Climate change is such an urgent problem, we cannot take small steps but must Leap).

This leap must begin by respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land. Indigenous communities have been at the forefront of protecting rivers, coasts, forests and lands from out-of-control industrial activity. We can bolster this role, and reset our relationship, by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

And then more than 45,000 people and well over 200 organizations in Canada signed it.

The manifesto itself came out of a convening, in which 60 social movement leaders from across Canada spent two days together, exploring the opportunities for busting out of our issue silos and organizing intersectionally. It was a once-in-a-generation constellation of different causes: Indigenous leaders, trade unions, enviros, food justice, migrant rights, anti-poverty, faith communities and more. It was a roller coaster meeting, with painful truths spoken about the betrayals and ongoing colonialism of too much of the NGO world,

9. Green New Deal