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The “cap-and-trade” schemes, which allow countries to trade allowances and permits for emitting carbon dioxide, are “fundamentally wrong” and compare to “indulgences”, says James Hansen.

Rie Jerichow03/12/2009 10:55
Reducing emissions through carbon market schemes let developing countries continue more or less business as usual. No agreement is better than an agreement based on that system, says James Hansen (photo above center), who heads the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, in an interview with The Guardian.

“I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it’s a disaster track,” says Hansen. James Hansen is one of the climate research pioneers, already in 1981 concluding that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would lead to global warming.

“The whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to reassess the situation. If it is going to be the Kyoto-type thing then [people] will spend years trying to determine exactly what that means,” he says in the interview.

He strongly opposes the carbon market schemes – one of the cornerstones of the Kyoto Protocol – in which permits to emit greenhouse gases are bought and sold. The system is seen by the EU and other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy.

“This is analogous to the indulgences that the Catholic church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption. Both parties liked that arrangement despite its absurdity. That is exactly what’s happening… We’ve got the developed countries who want to continue more or less business as usual and then these developing countries who want money and that is what they can get through offsets [sold through the carbon markets],” James Hansen tells The Guardian.

Earlier this year, Hansen was advocating that only a direct tax on fossil fuels as close to the source as possible would succeed in stopping the rise of emissions.

Source: ISSD