The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Stopping Global Warming?
Or a Green Gold Rush?

Jun 30, 2008

On June 25, the state of California announced that it was adopting a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere that cause global warming.

Of course, the plan falls very short of what it claims to do. First of all, the plan calls for very, very small emission cuts, only 10% of current levels by the year 2020. Besides that, the plan contains almost no specifics of where the reductions are supposed to come from... even though the California Air Resources Board has been working on it for almost two years.

About the only thing specific that the plan does spell out is the new cap and trade system, a brand new market for companies to buy and sell the right to pollute that is supposed to be up and running by 2012. Under this system, the government will set a cap or limit to the amount of greenhouse emissions allowed. Companies that exceed their limits will be able to buy “carbon credits” on a big financial market.

What a great new way for big companies to make a lot of money–buy and sell the right to pollute!

A similar system has been functioning in Europe and Japan since 2005 under the Kyoto Protocol. There, the pollution caps are so high as to be nearly meaningless. Furthermore, there is no effective regulation and enforcement of the caps and the entire market is crooked and corrupt. The Financial Times even published a series of exposes, entitled, “Carbon Trading Plagued by Massive Fraud,” describing some of the schemes.

So, while global warming gets worse, the capitalists make more money. For them, it’s a brand new “green gold rush”–as the Financial Times calls it.