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Carbon Markets

Trade and Allowances

CARBON MARKETS are a false solution to the climate crisis. They are a market based approach to reducing CO2 emissions. Carbon Markets allow countries or polluters to buy offsets or carbon credits, allowing them to purchase the right to emit more. They are a dangerous distraction to climate action, as they have not only failed to reduce carbon emissions in the past (see the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or the EU’s Emission Trading System (ETS)), but they have also detrimentally impacted human rights while simultaneously commodifying nature and allowing for “business as usual.” In this section, you will learn about the dangers of carbon markets and why they are not a real solution to the climate crisis.


Climate Justice Brief #8
The Dangers of Carbon Markets

Multiple civil society organizations, nov 2010

2 pages

This policy brief explains the history of carbon markets, and why they will increase pollution, serve large corporations, and capture the remainder of the carbon budget for developed countries. Though this brief is from 2010 and in reference to the Koyoto Protocol, it still provides a good overview of the main issues surrounding carbon markets.

Tags: carbon markets, clean development mechanism, clean technologies


Carbon Markets Are Not a Climate Solution

By: ActionAid, IPS, Friends of the earth EWNI, LDC-Watch, Jubliee South APMDD, PACJA, Plataforma Boliviana, Third World Network, feb 2015

2 pages

This brief urges international negotiators to realize that “a ‘price on carbon’ should not mean a global carbon-market. Instead, it must mean that polluters pay a real cost for the damage from their greenhouse gas emissions.” The authors describe the risks of a global carbon market, and the relation carbon markets have to the Paris Agreement.

Tags: carbon offset markets, risks of a global carbon market, key numbers, paris agreement

In Your Wildest Schemes: The Market vs. the Climate

By: Sam Wallman, 2013


With incredible imagery and quotations, Wallman provides an overview on how the free market has caused climate change and is failing to solve it. This failure is inspiring climate justice.

Tags: free market, climate change, climate justice


Carbon markets 101: The Ultimate Guide to Global Offsetting Mechanisms

By Carbon Market Watch

June 2019

12 Pages

This guide outlines the basics of carbon markets, the difference between carbon offsets and cap and trade, and outlines some examples of different carbon markets. 

Tags: carbon markets, CORSIA, REDD+, Article 6, carbon offsets 

CORSIA: A False Solution to the Very Real Threat of Emmissions from Aviation. 

By: BioFuel Watch

An Example of a failed carbon market and why carbon markets are dangerous distractions. "The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposes to achieve “carbon neutral emissions growth” for the aviation industry using “alternative” fuels and forest offsets, under a scheme called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). But CORSIA is a dangerous, deeply flawed distraction that will result in more, not less emissions. A 2018 open letter from 96 civil society organizations around the globe called for CORSIA to be rejected, calling it “a boon to airlines, a disaster for the climate and a threat to forests and communities.”


Tags: CORSIA, carbon markets, dangerous distractions, corporations, capitalism

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