New market-based schemes like cap and trade and carbon taxes are said to protect the environment, but they actually make matters worse for key issues like access to clean water and climate change. Food & Water Watch is working to stop these pollution trading schemes in favor of straight-forward laws that have proven effective at limiting pollution.
Water Pollution Trading is Threatening Our Waterways
While pollution is considered illegal under the Clean Water Act, pay-to-pollute schemes now let polluters purchase “credits” that allow them to discharge more waste into our rivers and lakes. Turning our effective approach to clean water on its head, now industries will simply buy up credits instead of decreasing their own discharges. Food & Water Watch is fighting water pollution trading (sometimes called water quality trading) on a number of fronts, including:
- Conducting research on existing water pollution trading programs and exposing the fallacy of this approach in reports and white papers.
- Bringing legal challenges to credit purchasing allowances in Clean Water Act permits in order to obtain a court ruling that water pollution trading is illegal.
- Building a coalition of anti-trading grassroots activists and community members to oppose the state water pollution trading programs.
Carbon Trading and Offsets are No Solution to Climate Change
As climate change looms ever larger as the biggest threat to our survival, our industry-beholden elected officials refuse to hold greenhouse gas emitters accountable for their impact on climate change. Instead, throughout the European Union, Asia and the Americas we are witnessing failing market-based approaches to carbon pollution. In the US, California is leading the way with a series of carbon “offset” schemes whereby industries can keep pumping out carbon by paying for preexisting carbon reduction projects elsewhere in country.
What we need to save the planet are real emissions limits on greenhouse gases on a facility-by-facility basis, not a system where carbon polluters can wheel and deal in the marketplace to avoid reducing their own emissions. Food & Water Watch is working to expose the carbon offset market for what it really is – a plan to let industries off the hook under the guise of forested “carbon sinks” and factory farm methane digesters.