2 Aug 2009
Climate change policy feeds the bankers and fails the planet
POINAD, India — Rajni Ramakan Patil has a message for the energy companies that want to build coal-based power stations on the land that she and two generations of her family have farmed for more than 50 years.
"Even if you give us gold, we won't leave this place. This is our land," she said.
Rajni and five other families from the village of Poinad cultivate a small parcel of land on the flat and fertile plains near the coastal town of Alibag, about 130 kilometres (80 miles) south of the western city of Mumbai.
The land, used for sowing rice crops and growing vegetables like okra and white onions, is among 8,500 acres (3,400 hectares) earmarked for the construction of four giant thermal power plants.
Activists opposed to the development fear it could destroy the livelihoods of thousands of people in the area, pollute the clean air and soil and create health problems among the poor farmers and their families.
While the global carbon trading system ignores people like Rajni Ramakan Pati....and has failed to cut climate change emissions, it is making a lot of bankers very rich....in 2008 global carbon trading reached over $120bn.
Tragically while there is huge awareness of the threat of climate change, necessary action is largely avoided. Real solutions to climate change, great and small, are almost totally ignored at present. We live in a world where climate change 'action' is made compatible with more cars, more flights, more coal and oil extraction and above all more profit.
The current framework rewards polluting companies, hedge funds and major banks. Despite the urgent need to reduce emissions, the accumulation of capital remains more important than preserving the global environment.
Former director of the Sierra Club and leader of the Canadian Green Party Elizabeth May has argued, ‘The reality is that Kyoto is the only legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. When you’re drowning and someone throws you a lifeboat, you can’t wait for another one to come along. http://www.nowtoronto.com/print.cfm?content=150802’
However the global framework is no lifeboat, its more like a large stone, if we pick it up we will more likely sink than reach the safety of the shore.
Greens like May who collude with a system of destruction, make the future, less safe for all of us.