Since its foundation, the European Union has increasingly relied on market mechanisms to solve its problems. Initially creating economic interdependence was the main ingredient of its peace project but since the 1970’s market deregulation became the main recipe for practically every problem it faced, from energy crisis over unemployment to budgetary deficits and so on.
In the previous cartoon we saw how climate change was “tackled” by our superhero Carbon Credit. Carbon credits are tradable emission permits which allow big industries to keep on polluting. Similar markets will be developed to “solve” the loss of nature due to the continued extraction of fossil fuels and construction of mega energy projects.
With the creation of the European carbon market and the related offsetting scheme, market based solutions have become the silver bullet to address climate change, allowing de facto the expansion of the extractive sector in and outside Europe. The underlying premise remains the same: “the market will provide the incentive to reduce emissions”. Is this really the way out to the climate and energy crisis? Or are market solutions rather a block to the transition away from fossil fuels of the EU’s economic and productive system?
These remedies have allowed for a small elite to profit while the large majority suffers the costs. It is time that Europe changes its ways and starts controlling the markets instead of being controlled by them.
Will some shock therapy do the job? Watch this short cartoon and see how it plays out.