||For civil society, the climate change debate was distracted in a potentially disastrous way by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Prior to the Protocol’s ratification by a sufficient number of states in early 2005, most major environmental lobbies considered Kyoto’s crucial carbon trading provisions (whether Clean Development Mechanisms in the Third World or Joint Implementation projects between industrial countries) as a small but important step forward for greenhouse gas reduction. Critics emerged in the ‘Durban Group for Climate Justice’ in late 2004, and two years later issued a major treatise, Carbon Trading, from the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation. Combined with 2007 reports of systematic corruption in carbon trading by mainstream business publications (the Financial Times, Economist, New York Times), the global climate justice movement will now need to rethink its support for trading. Instead of a strategy that critics term ‘the privatisation of the air’, a far-ranging civil society agenda based on genuine greenhouse gas reduction and radically changed industrial policies is now ripe for development. South Africa illustrates the debate, and its importance for social and ecological justice.