Targeting Native nations with carbon pricing projects that would disproportionately increase wealth and accumulation for the largest petroleum and mineral polluters at the expense of Native lives is unforgivable and horrifying.
Friday, September 4
Climate change continues to wreak havoc. Indigenous peoples everywhere continue to feel it’s impacts. When I read the new climate report released last week by the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis and saw their intention to target Tribal Nations for carbon pricing projects there was little surprise in my reaction.
The Indigenous Environmental Network rejects this report because it fails to include a plan for the phase-out of our dependency on fossil fuels, a just transition to keeping fossil fuels in the ground and ending fossil fuel subsidies. Without taking the steps to meaningfully address environmental justice, and protect frontline defenders against climate change, the report is just more greenwashing that supports the status quo so polluters can keep polluting. The United States has a long history of forcing Tribal nations and communities to bear the burden of society’s addiction to the extractive industries, most recently by pushing carbon pricing mechanisms on our communities. This is just a continuation of a type of capitalism that is based on a historical tradition of exploitation and racism.
Carbon pricing mechanisms are false solutions with little oversight. In addition, these mechanisms do not cut emissions at source and offer no material impact that would effectively address climate change. Carbon pricing has a simple goal: to make it cheaper for governments and companies to meet emission reduction targets. However, this system is designed in such a way that the targets can be reached without actual emissions reductions taking place.
The vested interests of corporate lobbies, polluting governments, financial institutions such as the World Bank and big conservation and environmental organizations, have supported these schemes, not only to legitimize and expand a clearly unsustainable economic system based on extraction, but also as a source of accumulation, profit, and land grabbing.
Carbon trading privatizes the air that we breathe. It turns the atmosphere into the private property of polluters. Carbon trading and the carbon market system sells the sky. We must be Sky Protectors, our sky is not to be traded.
We need to replace capitalism with a new system that seeks harmony between humans, nature and Mother Earth and not this endless ‘growth’ and ‘development’ model. There is only one path forward and that is an Indigenous-based just transition that centers traditional Indigenous knowledge and that respects the territorial integrity and sacredness of Mother Earth.
Tom Goldtooth is executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, (Democrat). Phx Office Phone: (602) 598-7327, DC Office Phone: (202)0224-4521, email
Sen. Martha McSally, (Republican). Phx Office Phone : (602) 952-2410, DC Office Phone: (202) 224-2235, email