Monday, January 18, 2010

Climate Justice Activists confront New York Carbon Trade Summit

Climate Justice activists protest carbon trading summit in New York The Second Annual Carbon Trade Summit was held 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 included executives from JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Duke Energy, and many more. (See website)

By coincidence the Investor Summit on Climate Risk, a meeting of 450 global investors at the United Nations was held a day after the Carbon Traders Summit. See article - Greenwash: Investors push Governments for Cap and Trade Action

Climate SOS ( and Climate Pledge of Resistance (CPR for the Planet) and others gathered to protest this event. NASA climate scientist James Hansen delivered a letter to the chairman of the summit in which he said:

I am writing to warn you that carbon trading (also called cap-and-trade) will fail to stop climate change, resulting in a world that is increasingly dangerous and problematic for our children and grandchildren, yours and mine. There are many reasons that carbon trading will fail. The important reasons I've outlined for you in the enclosed essay, "The People vs. Cap-and-Trade" (Original PDF), which I've written to coincide with this summit. I ask that you act now to encourage discussion at the 2nd Annual Carbon Trading Summit to focus on policies that will actually have the effect of reducing carbon emissions, rather than false solutions that only distract from the policies that work. I've discussed some of these effective policies in the enclosed essay, especially addressing a fee-and-dividend (also called "carbon fee"), a flat tax on carbon with the proceeds distributed 100 percent to the public. These funds will allow the public to phase in low carbon technologies and life styles, stimulating the economy, allowing us to move to a clean energy future.

If you want the world to be safe and livable for your children, grandchildren, and many
generations to come, I suggest that you act now to support a carbon fee rather than carbon trading.

Speakers at the rally included Dea Goblirsch, organizer with Climate Ground Zero in southern West Virginia, Reverend Billy of the Church of Life After Shopping, who delivered a critique with the fire and brimstone of a televangelist; Chaia Heller, Professor of Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College, and Father Paul Mayer, co-founder of the Climate Crisis Coalition and religious community leader.

"The same Wall Street bankers who gave us the global climate crisis are trying to own the sky," stated Brian Tokar, director of the Institute for Social Ecology and an organizer of this week's protest events. "Carbon trading is unjust, it will not work, and it is a false solution. It is a dangerous distraction from the urgent measures needed to prevent an ever-worsening destabilization of the climate."

Watch the video of the protest: some great speeches from Father Paul Maher and Brian Tokar. Goes for 25:18.

Read futher reports:


Takver is a citizen journalist from Melbourne who has been writing on Climate Change issues and protests including Rising Sea Level, Ocean acidification, Environmental and social Impacts since 2004.