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Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt — Today, United States Special Climate Envoy John Kerry announced the launch of a new U.S. carbon trading scheme, the “Energy Transition Accelerator” which is nothing more than another attempt to obfuscate the U.S.’s historic responsibility in creating the climate crisis. Instead of taking responsibility and paying climate reparations to the Global South and those most impacted by the climate crisis, the U.S. has decided to promote another market-based program that aims to generate private capital through carbon credits for energy sector transition in developing countries. This will only continue to encourage polluters to pay to pollute rather than curbing greenhouse gas emissions at the source. Kerry announced the initiative at a panel session at the U.S. Center at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. A leaked outline of the initiative identifies criteria for buyers of the proposed carbon credits, and deployment of funds aimed to begin by 2028.
Delegates from the It Takes Roots delegation to COP27, made up of 60 frontline activists from the Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Climate Action, Just Transition Alliance and The Black Hive at Movement for Black Lives representing impacted communities, called out the initiative as more of the same business-as-usual false climate solutions.
Representatives from It Takes Roots responded with the following:
“Today John Kerry said ‘the single greatest barrier to real climate action has been the absence of money dedicated to the transition.’ Actually the U.S.’s historic position of obstruction of climate progress for years has been one of the greatest barriers to advance real climate solutions. The Energy Transition Accelerator is simply a new veneer on the same old market-based carbon credit schemes that have never reduced emissions at the source. For years, private sector polluters have misled the public with carbon trading smoke and mirrors. But we know carbon credits have never worked and only enable polluting industries to continue to pollute. The U.S. must own up to its responsibility for climate crisis and pay what is owed from decades of polluting our shared environmental commons,” said Adrien Salazar, Policy Director of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.
“Biden’s plan for an energy transition will certainly accelerate climate change and cause more violence to Indigenous and frontline communities the world over. Even after UN General Secretary António Guterres slammed on-going greenwash at a press conference yesterday, the U.S. carbon credit scheme for carbon capture and storage as well as other false solutions will prolong the climate crisis with a financial mechanism ultimately aimed to silence the global community from holding the US accountable. Real funding in the form of direct grants, Indigenous sovereignty and scaling up disaster relief programs would be a better way for the U.S. to reconcile decades of climate inequality,” said Tamra Gilbertson, Climate Justice Program Coordinator, Indigenous Environmental Network.
Ozawa Bineshi Albert of the Climate Justice Alliance said, “With this announcement, it seems that the U.S. is again saying our priority in solving the climate crisis is first and foremost the market, not the needs of the people or planet. Corporate profits cannot be the driver in solving climate change; we’ve seen that approach for decades and it has failed. Now is the time for community-led solutions that leave no one behind, not more false solutions that don’t actually stop emissions at their source or address the pollution frontline communities face every day.”