Indigenous Peoples representatives and organizations held a protest at the May 2 2008 conclusion of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York.
They were angered by the final report of the Permanent Forum, which ignored Indigenous Peoples stated concerns about carbon trading projects (REDD), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and other so called “good practise” initiatives.
During the two weeks of the UNPFII, Indigenous community representatives testified about the injustices associated with the clean development mechanism projects and asked that the UNPFII not promote the projects. However, in the final report, their testimony was ignored. The final report of the UNPFII hails World Bank-funded carbon trading as “good examples” of partnership.
Carbon trading is a system whereby companies are allowed to emit a limited amount of carbon dioxide, a gas linked to global warming. If a company does not “use up” all its carbon credits, it can sell them on the carbon market, allowing the buyer to pollute more.
Companies can also buy into “carbon offset” schemes. The idea behind this is that the polluter can “offset” the carbon it has emitted by helping to finance a “clean energy” development.
At first glance these ideas may seem good. However, there are many problems with this market-based approach.
In promoting the clean development mechanism projects and carbon trading, the Permanent Forum is allowing oil companies, who are the biggest emitters for greenhouse gases, to continue to pollute.In other words, big corporations can buy and sell the right to pollute freely, while poor and working people—including the Indigenous peoples of the world—have no say in determining where or how much carbon should be emitted.
Additionally, the allegedly “clean energy” development programs may actually cause environmental damage and have been imposed on Indigenous people against their will.