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'Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets'

'Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets'
Steffen Böhm and Siddhartha Dabhi (eds)

The book can be downloaded for free at http://mayflybooks.org/?page_id=194

The book will be launched in Colchester, UK, and Lund, Sweden (near Copenhagen); at both events some free copies of the book will be available:

The Old Library at Colchester Town Hall, West Stockwell Street, Colchester, UK Wednesday 9 December 4-6pm The event is free and open to all http://mayflybooks.org/?p=313

'The atmosphere business: on the politics and organization of climate change' Department of Business Administration, Lund University, Sweden (1 hour from Copenhagen), 15 December 2009, 12.30-17.00, room EC3-109 The seminar is free and open to all but the number of participants is limited. Please confirm your attendance by sending an email to sverre.spoelstra@fek.lu.se http://mayflybooks.org/?p=309

Press release: 1 December 2009

Why Carbon Offsetting Will Not Save the Planet

Global carbon markets may well have been hailed as the saviour of the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in many ways they are doing more harm than good, according to new evidence. In fact, two academics from the University of Essex argue that measures put in place to reduce carbon emissions following the Kyoto Protocol on climate change have only made matters worse.

Launched to tie-in with the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen (COP15), Dr Steffen Böhm and Siddhartha Dabhi's new book, Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets, challenges the environmental claims made about carbon markets and carbon offsetting schemes. The book - which collates contributions from more than 30 leading experts - is another voice in the growing criticism about the business of carbon and how it has failed to deliver promised reductions in greenhouse gases.

Few would argue that climate change is the biggest challenge the world has ever faced, and reducing our carbon footprint is essential to the future of the planet. Carbon offsetting has become a multi-billion-dollar global business which has captured the imagination of organisations worldwide who want to do something to help combat global warming. The reality, however, is that many of these schemes have actually made matters worse.

Dr Böhm and Mr Dabhi, of the University of Essex-based Essex Business School, advise governments, businesses and other organisations to reduce their carbon footprint by undertaking initiatives closer to home than funding carbon offsetting programmes in deprived countries thousands of miles away.

'Carbon offsetting and carbon markets haven't really delivered the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions they claimed and in many ways have just made the problem worse,' they explained. 'These schemes have often just provided an incentive for big polluting companies to continue emitting greenhouse gases rather than to change their ways.' 'Often, carbon offsetting schemes have very negative effects on local communities and eco-systems in developing countries.'

The book contributes to a growing field of critics of carbon markets by highlighting several up-to-date examples of where the system has failed and often led to negative social, economic and environmental impacts in deprived countries.

'Carbon markets simply don't address the underlying and root causes of climate change, which is an over-consumption of finite fossil fuels,' added Dr Böhm and Mr Dabhi. 'We are addicted to oil, gas, coal and a whole range of other fossil fuels, which, when burned for heating, electricity generation or other usages, release greenhouse gases. It is now time to make up for the lost decade since Kyoto and start to deal with our underlying reliance on fossil fuels.'

'This book is a very constructive and rigorous critique of CDM offset approaches to deal with carbon footprints. I recommend this book to any student, policy maker or administrator of climate change complexities in developed or developing countries.' Professor Anil Gupta, Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad, India

'If you wondered whether capitalism could ever produce the perfect weapon of its own destruction, try this heady mix of carbon fuels, the trade in financial derivatives, and more than a dash of neo-colonialism, and boom! But this book is far from resigned to that fate. After examining the case against carbon trading. the book turns to alternatives, to hope, to sanity, and to the future.' Professor Stefano Harney, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

'The politics of carbon trading is a subject far too important to be left to politicians, industrialists and technocrats. This is an issue that is affecting everyone on the planet. In this important book, a series of well known commentators explain the perverse economics that lies behind the impossible idea of trading our future for profit.' Professor Martin Parker, University of Leicester, UK

'Anyone concerned about the future of the planet (is anyone not?) should read this book. The contributors give powerful evidence and argument to show that the carbon trading regimes favoured by the world's elites will not work - and are, indeed, set to make things worse. But the message is not negative. There are alternatives, both effective and desirable.' Professor Ted Benton, University of Essex, UK

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