Navigating a Recovery from Carbon Addiction

By sheer coincidence (or perhaps divine intervention) the “Navigating the American Carbon World” Conference — a schmooze-fest of oil executives, bankers, offset dealers, and green(wash) groups flown in to- essentially- carve up and sell the sky, perpetuating our addiction to fossil fuels- is- at this moment sharing the San Francisco Marriott Marquis with (are you ready for this?)—– the annual meeting of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

So, at the protest today organized by the Mobilization for Climate Justice- West , we thought, why not merge the conferences? Get the psychiatrists to treat the carbon trading carbon addicts. The real victims, the ones in denial, who believe we can just ‘offset’ the damage like a papal indulgence to guilty pleasures- and we know where that leads.

White man sell sky

Denial- a common symptom of addiction- is widespread. We bury our heads in the sand against the looming climate devastation and energy crash- Can our system’s habit be treated by the latest in addiction therapy before it’s too late? Right now we’ve got the top addiction experts in the world sharing the same hotel as the Shell executives, the Bank of Americas that fund them, and the Terrapasses who pardon the sin– there’s really never been a better opportunity to admit we have a problem and enter recovery.

So we’ve created a public open letter to the American Society for Addiction Medicine, calling upon them to treat our friends the fossil fuel addicts at the carbon trading conference.  Sign our letter today!   We’ve never needed a shrink like we do today.

The Panel discussing how corporations can green(wash) themselves.

So last night at a cocktail party at 111 Minna for conference attendees put on by Brighter Planet, an offset company looking to open up west coast markets, I posed the question to Patty, the Executive Director of Brighter Planet who was on the panel…

“given that the carbon trading and offsetting industry are increasingly in disrepute over a number of scandals and abuses, such as the multi-million euro carbon trade scam uncovered on Tuesday by the Spanish authorities and given that James Hansen, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric scientists is now saying that carbon trading and offsets ‘are designed to perpetuate business-as-usual and squander the precious time needed to prevent the crossing of disastrous ‘tipping points’.’

Given all that, what is Brighter Planet doing to transition away from the sale of offsets?”

They didn’t like that question. I mean they REALLY didn’t like that question. The moderator tried to rip the microphone out of my hands, and got all flustered.

The nonplussed

Much hostility from the audience, including the drunk carbon traders on the floor who were rudely yelling over the panel discussion. This guy Trevor from Barclays capital became agitated and walked away when I offered to sell him “Cheatneutral infidelity offsets.” Maybe he has guilt issues around his fossil fuel cheating. Who knows.

Then today during the MCJ Demo on the first day of the conference, people unfurled a large banner in the middle of 4th St., temporarily blocking traffic, gave speeches and street theatre,  and disrupted the conference a number of times inside including an announcement on a live mic at the luncheon that “history will spit” on those who delay emissions reductions.

Anyway, no doubt more fun tomorrow at the Offset This! protest outside the Marriott Marquis- 4th and Market- at 8am tomorrow (friday).   We’re headed for climate chaos, and we have a message for the bankers, oil executives, greenwash groups, and politicians who profit from delaying the inevitable weaning:

The Sky is NOT FOR SALE.



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5 responses to “Navigating a Recovery from Carbon Addiction

  1. Josh, I wish everyone could be like you. What an inspiration. Your right the whole world should just stop driving and flying. Definitely the solution for stopping climate change asap. All I think we need to do is get you a big microphone. With you at the helm, I’m sure in the next ten years, we could get the whole planet to eschew capitalism and modern transportation. Thanks for making your blog all about plausible solutions. Your right too, our number one enemy in the world has got to be carbon traders. If we stop them, we’ll shut down the whole mountain top removal and tar-sands thingy dings right? I’m pretty sure, those carbon traders are the ones secretly funding the new coal fired power plants in China too. Lets get those evil doers!!!!

    • Woot, woot! A charm upon thee interlopers :)

      dearest Elliot: perhaps if you researched a little more about carbon trading and its gargantuan implications (CDM, REDD, the list goes on) before leaping into a tirade about its insignificance you would em-bare-ass yourself a little bit less.

      What’s with you single-front obsessors? The gusto’s good though, keep up the cynicism, it is good for cutting teeth.

      Power to the party-poopers! Gambatte!!

  2. Great work.
    Hitting the groups that give this ‘solution’ p.r. a nice compliment to these efforts to register widespread opposition among the ‘nonplussed’, profiteers and the general public.

    Hit NRDC next!? Or the Sierra Club which has had no action alert i can remember against this but put out mealy-mouthed letters of ‘concern’ w/out educating and then mobilizing their members.

  3. Excellent question, and well done with getting to ask it at all (even if they did try to rip the microphone away!).

  4. Having been a participant in the Nov.30 street blockade at the Chicago Climate Exchange (5 minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHJOOiyZR_s ) , I wish to extend my deep appreciation to you all for your actions of conscience against this immoral atrocity at the San Francisco conference. Carbon trading is a descent of vultures on the suffering body of mother earth. We are the heart and soul of this movement for the future of life.
    Where is Greenpeace? Or Sierra Club? Where is the backbone of these groups? Watch for my challenge of the sell-out big green groups NRDC and EDF (who send people to actually support these conferences) being published very soon on Common Dreams (and endorsed by Jim Hansen). May our spirit of resistance spread and grow !!!
    In solidarity, Gary “Eladiah” Houser

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