Carbon trading 'double whammy' warning

Environmental campaigners have warned the Government its "obsession" with carbon trading as a solution to climate change was "irresponsible and dangerous" and could trigger a sub-prime style financial collapse.

Environmental campaigners have warned the Government its "obsession" with carbon trading as a solution to climate change was "irresponsible and dangerous" and could trigger a sub-prime style financial collapse.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) said in a new report that plans to expand carbon markets would fail to protect the world from global warming.

The issue is due to be discussed at the crucial climate summit in Copenhagen next month, but FoE said governments, including the UK, wanted to see an expansion of the system of buying and selling carbon permits and credits.

Sarah Jayne-Clifton, the group's international climate campaigner, said: "Pushing a world carbon market as part of a global agreement to tackle climate change risks a double whammy of financial and environmental disaster.

"Carbon trading is failing dismally at reducing emissions, yet allows speculators to grow rich from the climate crisis and hands politicians and industry a get-out clause for polluting business as usual.

"Science tells us rich countries must act first and fast to cut their emissions at home if we are to avert climate catastrophe - and support poorer countries with adequate public money to grow cleanly and adapt to the effects of climate change which they are already feeling.

"The credit crunch has taught us that governments, not markets, are best placed to safeguard our future. At this critical point in the fight against climate change, ministers must step in and lead the way with a new, direct approach to tackling carbon emissions to create a safe and green future for us all."

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We agree that domestic action by developed countries as well as public finance is essential to meet the challenge of climate change.

"In the final weeks ahead of Copenhagen the UK is going all out to get an ambitious, fair and effective deal.

"Carbon trading can play a role, making it far more likely that we tackle dangerous climate change, get cost-effective emissions reductions and get money to the poorest countries of the world."

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