About Sky Money
Sky Money contains information and critical discussion of carbon trading in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. This website is part of an ongoing climate justice campaign by Friends of the Earth Sydney.
"Sky Money" is a term first used in Papua New Guinea to describe the offers from so-called “carbon cowboys”, who came offering exploitative deals to use local forests as carbon offsets. However, the problems with Sky Money run much deeper than the issue of “carbon cowboys.”
For us, the term “Sky Money” shows what carbon trading is really about: not solving dangerous climate change, but making profits from new commodities pulled out of the air. Carbon markets mean creating a new kind of financial product – the “right to pollute” – that can be bought and sold. Government and industry say this is the most “efficient” way to solve climate change – we think it is a massive distraction that will fill the pockets of carbon entrepreneurs, bankers and polluters.
Carbon market schemes are complicated, with technocratic management and constant changes in rule-making that are difficult to follow. This makes it harder for people who do not spend a great deal of time following the intricacies of policy to participate in the debate over what should happen to our climate.
We created skymoney.org.au in order to provide information from a perspective not often heard in the Australian debate. We want to move our economy away from fossil fuels. But we are critical of creating new markets in carbon pollution that will allow investment banks and mining companies to profit, while doing very little to curb polluting industries that are causing dangerous climate change.
About Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth (FoE) Sydney is a community-based collective working for social and environmental justice. We welcome new ideas, supporters and members. Since 2009, we have focused our efforts on campaigning for climate justice, and against dangerous carbon offsetting projects and dodgy carbon trading schemes.
In 2012, we're taking the time to research and develop easy-to-read materials on carbon trading, and connect this work with campaigns against coal and gas, and for renewable energy.
FoE Sydney is part of Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA), a federation of independent local groups working for a socially equitable and environmentally sustainable future.Friends of the Earth International is the world's largest federation of national environmental organisations. The network is now active in 71 countries, with more than 5,000 local branches.
Acknowledgment of country
We are active on the lands of the Gadigal Eora people and on the lands of the Dharawal nation.
Sovereignty was never ceded. We express solidarity and our continued commitment to working with indigenous people, on this continent and around the world, in ongoing struggles for land rights, self-determination, sovereignty and recognition of past injustices.
As we work for environmental and climate justice, we want to work with Aboriginal peoples for land, economic and social justice. Community campaigns around greenhouse pollution and coal are deeply linked with the struggles of Aboriginal peoples. In some areas, coal mining began in the 1790s, and continues: community activism for a just transition away from coal goes hand in hand with local struggles for sovereignty.
So, what's our solution?
Climate change politics can be difficult and overwhelming to talk about. The evidence of climate impacts in the global South, and to a lesser degree the North, grows every day.
We urgently need to stop digging fossil fuels out of the ground and burning them, and then deal with climate impacts that are already “locked in” by previous pollution. The responses on the table from governments all over the world are inadequate at best. And all too often climate policies produce new forms of injustice when they are put into practice.
The current state of Australian climate politics is a case in point. There's a dilemma facing people calling for climate action: do we support carbon trading or not? Was the 'price on carbon' offered by the Federal government a much-needed victory, a step in the right direction, before additional measures can be fought for and won?
For us, the answer is no. Carbon trading exacerbates the crises at hand, steering us away from the kind of action we really need – radical changes in our economy and society.
But this does not mean endless negativity. We can build a resiliant, creative climate justice movement through resistance to false solutions like carbon trading. There are lots of opportunities to join with people most affected by bad climate policy, and put the issues of social justice into the debate over climate solutions. We need to stand beside communities affected by coal and gas extraction, low-income workers fighting high electricity prices, and people in the South affected not only by climate change-related flooding, but also by carbon offset projects.
Climate Camps have sprung up across the world resisting the root causes and false solutions to climate change. The UK and NZ Climate Camp collectives targetted the financial sector's role in emissions trading markets with colourful protests on the doorsteps of carbon market profiteers. In 2010, Bolivia hosted a 30,000 strong conference to build a climate justice movement in response to the failure of the UN Copenhagen conference. In California, community groups have been fighting and winning against the carbon trading provisions in the state's environmental legislation, arguing that it will allow big polluters to keep pumping poison into the air that their children breathe. In Brazil, a coalition of environmental and social justice groups have rejected carbon trading as a solution to climate change and forest destruction. These are just a handful of examples of the work being done all across the world to fight big polluters and their false solution of carbon trading.