Carbon credits. Selling indulgences

selling indulgences

More on Ian Angus’ “Confronting the climate change crisis

The primary capitalist response to global warming has been to institute an unworkable and unenforceable system of pollution credits. Never mind that the system doesn’t work, is open to corruption, fraud and rule-breaking. At core it favors the elites and solves nothing.

George Monbiot has compared [selling pollution credits] to the medieval practice of selling indulgences. If you were rich and you committed murder or incest or whatever, the Church would sell you forgiveness for a fixed price per sin. You didn’t have to stop sinning — so long as you paid the price, the Church would guarantee your admission to heaven.

The emissions trading schemes are actually worse than that. It’s as though the Church just gave every sinner a stack of Get Out Of Hell Free cards — and those who don’t sin enough to use them all could then sell them to others who want to sin more.

So, capitalism, rather than examine itself as a possible cause of global warming, instead creates yet another way for speculators to make money, with a bunch of greenwash about how it will solve global warming.

The biggest most obvious loophole here is that the system is voluntary and not global. Polluting companies don’t have to buy credits if they don’t want to. Nor do all countries have a carbon trading program, nor is it enforceable and mandatory.

So, rather than give a serious response to global warming, capitalism gives a fig leaf of carbon trading that solves little while pretending to be green.