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Climate talks blasted: ‘People have a right to know the truth’

Indigenous Environmental Network Executive Director Tom Goldtooth (left) was among speakers at a Nov. 15 news conference at world climate talks in Bonn, who criticized carbon pricing schemes.

Indigenous Environmental Network Executive Director Tom Goldtooth (left) was among speakers at a Nov. 15 news conference at world climate talks in Bonn, who criticized carbon pricing schemes.

BONN — Indigenous and climate justice groups used the U.N.’s 23rd round of climate talks here Nov. 6-17 to release what they called a “groundbreaking” report criticizing carbon trading, a mechanism often touted as a way to reduce pollution.

“People have a right to know the truth about these national and global initiatives that are nothing but the financialization of nature, the privatization of Mother Earth,” said co-author and Indigenous Environmental Network Executive Director Tom Goldtooth, who spoke at a news conference in Bonn on Nov. 15.

His Minnesota-based nonprofit collaborated with the Climate Justice Alliance to release the 30-page Volume I of Carbon Pricing: A Critical Perspective for Community Resistance.

“This publication will help communities and organizations articulate crucial points to resist carbon pricing and climate change,” the report says on its cover.

“The linking of carbon markets across the United States and the world is a tool that fossil-fuel companies have shaped and built to continue to extract and dump on frontline communities,” said co-author Angela Adrar, executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance.

History shows that carbon pricing “does not have the ability to move us away from oil addiction, or reach our targets for climate justice. The only true way to reach our goals of 1.5C is to stop the fossil fuel machine at source, to provide stricter regulations, and to hold polluters accountable for their legacy,” she said.

A goal of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5C, or 34 degrees Fahrenheit, is the priority of the Paris Agreement, reached by federal governments’ negotiators at earlier talks in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

They set the target temperature, a stricter control than formerly accorded — in order to protect oceans and coral reefs.

Slowing carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning is among the chief means of reducing the pollution that accounts for humans’ contribution to global warming.

Carbon pricing covers an array of techniques devised to allow continued use of fossil fuels under climate convention agreements. The report explains the techniques, for starters. In summary, they are instruments with which governments and polluters agree to accept, offset, and pay for pollution from carbon dioxide and equivalent pollution, rather than just ignoring it.

“This report demonstrates through a historical and international lens the mounting threats these markets have wreaked on frontline communities across the world. It is a call to action for community resistance and resilience,” Adrar said.

The first work of its type undertaken in the United States, it is available free of charge at uploads/2017/11/Carbon- Pricing-A-Critical-Perspective for-Community-Resistance Online-Version.pdf

The United States signed and ratified the Paris Agreement. U.S. President Donald Trump proposed to pull out of the commitment, but according to terms of the agreement, that can occur no sooner than 2020.

Key points of the Carbon Pricing Report:

• Carbon pricing schemes are fraudulent climate mitigation mechanisms that help corporations and governments to continue extracting and burning fossil fuels.

• Revenue distributed to communities from carbon trading or carbon pricing never compensates for the destruction wrought by the extraction and pollution involved.

• The injustices, racism and colonialism of carbon pricing schemes have worldwide effects that require international resistance.

(Contact Talli Nauman at

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