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Publication Details

Reference
Bond, Patrick (2009) Carbon Trading, Space, Time and Eco-Social Contestation.  : 1-19.

Summary
There is a central strategy within the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and its follow-up treaty anticipated for negotiation at Copenhagen in 2009: addressing climate change through the market mechanism known as emissions trading. Based upon government issuance and private trading of emissions reductions credits and offsets, this approach has become controversial in its most advanced pilot - the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme - as well as in its proposed application in the United States through 2009 legislation, and in the Third World through the Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism”. Moreover, the ongoing world financial crisis has undermined market faith in derivative investments such as carbon credits. They have suffering extreme price volatility, including the European carbon price crash of 70 percent during 2008. The linkages between financial market and emissions market problems are, indeed, revealing in spatio-temporal terms, especially in the context of deeper overaccumulation crisis and investors’ desperate need for new speculative outlets. But even before the recent market crashes, there emerged a “double movement” in the Polanyian sense: if commodification of society and nature over-reaches, the reaction in civil society is to resist, deflecting devaluation of overaccumulation and in the process offering decommodifying alternatives. In that spirit, the Durban Group for Climate Justice was founded to oppose carbon trading in 2004, followed by the broader-based Climate Justice Now! movement in 2007 at the Bali climate negotiations, in addition to many other sites of direct action against fossil fuels extraction and power generation. It is in the nexus of the spatial and

temporal aspects of carbon financing amidst resistance by adversely affected peoples, that we learn broader-based lessons for global/local environmental politics and climate policy.

(About the author: Patrick Bond received his PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Among numerous books and articles on local and global environmental problems, he coedited Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society, published by Rozenberg Press in Amsterdam, 2007.)

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