by Rebel Fagin


Heating the atmosphere with greenhouse gases is killing us. Extractors speak of unnecessary transition fuels when what needs to transition is an exploitive economic system. Instead Extractors offer flawed, pro-development alternatives that only make matters worse.

It takes a colonialist mindset to come up with a scam as diabolical as cap and trade. The cap part limits the amount of carbon that can be added to the atmosphere with that limit decreasing annually. That part’s good. The trade part betrays the colonialist mindset. Cap and trade serves as a cheap way for the world’s biggest polluters to avoid real ecological reforms and receive good public relations while depriving the people who can least affords it of their land, livelihood, and homes.

Carbon credits are based on the amount of carbon captured from the atmosphere and stored in forests and jungles. One ton of carbon earns one carbon credit. The idea is that each carbon credit offsets an equal amount of carbon released into our atmosphere. The logic is faulty. Injecting fossil fuels into a closed system, such as our atmosphere, doesn’t produce the same effects as the naturally occurring carbon/oxygen cycle. It’s an increase of carbon.

Cap and Trade was employed by Mexico in the village of Nueva Colombia in Chiapas. In 2010 the government subsidized the reforestation of half the land so Mexico could enter the carbon market. This was not the land used for corporate coffee growing; rather it was the land the villagers used to grow corn to eat. In 2014 the subsidies ended. The land, now called El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, was no longer available for peasants to farm or gather from. Farmers either starved or moved. The farmers moved and Mexico entered the carbon market.

One of the dirtiest extraction techniques is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. This process involves pumping pressurized fresh water, sand, and secret chemicals (some radioactive), underground to fracture shale and release natural gas, carbon, and methane. Shale helps sequester carbon dioxide underground. Fracking breaks this seal. Methane emissions are 30% higher with fracking then with conventional extraction. Methane has a warming potential 86 times greater then carbon dioxide.

Fracking uses five millions gallons of fresh water for each fracking “event”. This alchemy turns fresh water into toxic waste. Cows that drank contaminated water died screaming with tongues bleeding.

Fracking is exempt from the Clean Water Act and the Superfund Act.

Over 636 of the secret chemicals have been discovered. 90% of them are on the Superfund list; 93% are linked to birth defects. These include glycols, alcohols, benzene, methane, ethane, and propane. Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds released by fracking produce ground-level ozone in the air. One molecule of ozone can create irreparable lung damage. Possible reactions include itchy eyes, irritated skin, asthma, fatigue, cancers, birth defects, cardiovascular, nerve, and brain damage. Fracking can cause endogens driven birth defects such as autism, brain damage, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, ADHA, and cancers.

In 2011 France banned fracking. Bulgaria soon followed. Last December New York joined the banning movement.

Then there’s tar sands. Tar sands are tar that needs to be heated to liquefy enough to travel in pipes or trains. It’s 17% more carbon producing then normally extracted oil. Transporting tars is fiercely opposed east, west, and south of the tar fields. Extractors have proposed the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Koch brothers are heavily invested in Canadian tar sands. They also own several members of Congress and Congress favors it. The pipeline would cross the US. The oil is destined for the world market. It’ll create 50 permanent jobs and greenhouses gases equal to eight coal plants. Each rerouting makes investors nervous. Tar sands production only makes economic sense if oil is selling at $100 a barrel or above.

These are some of the Extractors’ ideas of solutions. They solve nothing and only perpetuate destruction. It’s time to change our economic system and truly stop climate change.


Sources: This Changes Everything © 2014 Naomi Klien, T.U.C. Radio 12/24/14, 11/23/12, Forthright Radio 11/17/14, Democracy Now 12/8/14, 1/12/15, 2/19/15


Rebel can be read at the Sonoma County Peace Press and