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Carbon markets after Durban

International carbon trading stood on the brink of collapse at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17). On the eve of the Durban talks, the markets crashed to their lowest ever level, with a massive oversupply of emissions allowances exacerbated by a worsening financial crisis in Europe, which drives the majority of the global trade in carbon. Alongside this decline in prices, investor interest had also dried up in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the main UN-administered carbon offsetting scheme.

Privatising the atmosphere: A solution or dangerous con?

In 1833 William Forster Lloyd wrote a pamphlet (Lloyd, 1833), which described what has later become known as the ‘tragedy of the commons’ (see Hardin, 1968). It described how self-interested subsistence farmers would destroy common land by over-stocking it with cattle. If you are struggling to feed your family then short-term self-interest is understandable, although there are numerous examples of how communities across the globe have worked collectively to sustain their local environments for hundreds or even thousands of years.

On boredom: A note on experience without qualities

Most of us probably remember how long and dreary Sundays could be when we were kids. When I think of the boring Sundays in the little town that I grew up in, I for one picture a world, into which someone had plunged a teabag that had been used too many times, leaving everything blotched with a putrid and pale colour.

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