Carbon Trading Getting Slammed

This has not been a good month for carbon trading. In addition to the collapse in the carbon market (as reported in a previous blog), it's been getting quite a bit of bad publicity.

Earlier this week the Guardian carried an article pointing out that the drop in carbon prices has created the negative implication that burning coal is now much more attractive than investing in solar or wind. Dr. James Hansen, one of the world's foremost climate scientists, discussed how a complex trading system is volatile and can be manipulated by special interests. So while Wall Street traders may profit, the atmosphere doesn't.

The Camp for Climate Action, a grassroots group that organizes actions around climate change, recently announced that it will target the European Climate Exchange in London on April 1st. According to Kevin Smith of Carbon Trade Watch,  carbon trading “is a policy option that has been aggressively promoted not because of its track record in reducing pollution (because it hasn't got one) but because of its compatibility with the market-obsessed economic agenda of recent decades.”

Unless carbon trading can show that it can really deliver on greenhouse gas emission reductions, we can expect attacks on its credibility to continue.