Bolivia defends Mother Earth from the threat of carbon markets


Statement by the Plurinational State of Bolivia

At the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is being held in Doha-Qatar November 26-December 7, the Bolivian delegation has reaffirmed its rejection of the use and expansion of carbon markets as a tool for reducing emissions causing climate change in the world, and presented a proposal using alternative tools not based on carbon markets.

Why are carbon markets not a response to the climate crisis?

In 2005, a scheme was implemented [the REDD –  Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries] under which developed countries, which are historically responsible for climate change, were allowed to transfer their carbon reduction responsibilities to the developing countries through the use of carbon markets, enabling the developed countries to purchase reductions on the pretext that they were achieving greater economic efficiency in the fight against climate change.

This mechanism allows the developed countries to purchase emission reductions from the developing countries, at prices of 3 to 20 dollars per ton of carbon, to help fulfil their commitments, when it would have cost them an average of $38 to reduce the same ton. They argued that this would help reduce the emissions of the developed countries.

To date, about twice the amount of 1990 carbon emissions by developed countries has been accounted for in carbon markets. The carbon market is a profitable business. But it does not in fact contribute to reducing emissions or solving the climate crisis.

This is an alarming situation, especially when scientists are speaking out strongly about the need for genuine reductions if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.

If we take a careful look again at the numbers, we realize that emissions have increased and continue to increase, notwithstanding that the carbon market data are an attempt to demonstrate the opposite. It is critical that there be no further delay in taking immediate action and achieving real reductions.

We simply cannot leave the solution to the problem of climate change to carbon markets, which have demonstrated great efficiency in generating profits for the big corporations (about $720 billion) at the cost of speculation and postponement of real action to confront climate change.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia proposes implementation of a new joint mechanism for adaptation and mitigation through integrated management of forests that prevents deforestation and avoids the emission of millions of tons of greenhouse gases. It will be funded through the Convention’s Green Fund, using public funds from the developed countries, in line with the commitments made by these countries for a decade with no results to date.

The mechanism proposed by Bolivia, which critically differs from REDD, represents a genuine alternative that is consistent with the principles of the Convention, and especially with the principles of equity, historical responsibility, and climate debt. It is a proposal that seeks to achieve real reductions and not speculation about trends, supplemented by actions for real reductions in emissions within the industrialized countries — thereby avoiding the transfer of their responsibilities to the developing countries.

Translated by Richard Fidler

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