Saturday, December 12, 2009

Carbon Credit 'Offsets' a sham

It's looking increasingly unlikely that anything positive will emerge from the Copenhagen talkfest on climate change.
And to make things worse, a United Nations board has decided that soya, palm oil and other agrofuel plantations can now receive carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The agrofuel industry, already boosted by EU and US targets, incentives and subsidies, can now pocket hundreds of millions of dollars in extra subsidies. Vast carbon dioxide emissions from coal power stations in Europe can now be officially ‘offset’ by companies paying for soya plantations in Brazil or palm oil plantations in Indonesia or Thailand, which in turn will cause more deforestation and other ecosystem destruction - and more climate change.

The CDM was set up under the Kyoto Protocol and allows Northern hemisphere countries to ‘offset’ greenhouse gas emissions by paying for projects in the South, instead of cutting their own emissions. There is clear evidence that most of the CDM carbon credits go towards polluting industries in the Southern hemisphere, and in future, more carbon credits will go towards monoculture plantations in the South – now including soya, palm oil and jatropha plantations for agrofuels. The new CDM rules for agrofuels state that plantations must be on ‘degraded and degrading land’. This definition is so wide that, for example, any land where vegetation is declining because of increased droughts and heat due to climate change would fall under it, also any land suffering from soil erosion or soil compaction. Yet industrial monocultures are the quickest way of degrading soils, destroying biodiversity and polluting and depleting water resources.
We will still be doing our bit on the farm to try and redress some of the problems created by our 'civilisation' but it's looking more pointless every day when decisions are made which allow polluting businesses to 'offset' their emissions rather than STOP polluting!
More details about action you can take at

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