Burning Season: Carbon Traders
Monday October 6, 2008 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld
Australian "green entrepreneur" Dorjee Sun, 29, thinks he's figured out a way millions of dollars can be made selling carbon credits that will help reduce global warming and save the rain forests. But is he a carbon trading pioneer or profiteer?Australian "green entrepreneur" Dorjee Sun
Climate change is a "defining issue of our era," according to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. But the question of how to slow global warming has bedevilled international policymakers and no consensus has emerged. The Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997, set targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. To date, 182 countries have agreed to its terms - the U.S. is not one of them. Global warming is a divisive issue in both the U.S. and Canadian federal elections. One much debated mechanism for reducing carbon emissions is a system of carbon trading, or 'off-setting.' Countries that signed the treaty are entitled to an assigned amount of emissions, and if they manage to use less, they can sell the excess to countries that have surpassed their limit on the new carbon market.Indonesian forest on fire.
Read more facts about deforestation in Indonesia.
In Indonesia, rainforests the size of 300 soccer fields are mowed down and burned every hour. The fires that farmers set to clear their land make Indonesia the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) - exceeded only by the U.S. and China. Meanwhile, young "dot-com" millionaire Dorjee Sun believes he's found a solution. In the boardrooms of Starbucks to eBay to Merrill Lynch, Sun canvasses the world, pitching the idea of selling Indonesia's carbon credits to polluters in the West. In a period of four months, his proposal is rejected 203 times by sceptical financiers, but he doesn't give up.
To carry out his plan, leaders in Indonesia must agree that their forests are worth more alive than dead. Viewers will hear from local farmers, who make a living by cutting down trees to plant palm oil plantations. They fear only layers of government bureaucrats will profit from the carbon credit sale.Governor Irwandi, working towards a solution
Burning Season: Carbon Traders examines both sides of the climate divide, and explores whether capitalism can succeed where altruism has so far failed. Is carbon trading a real solution, or just another way of exploiting and commodifying the environment?
Burning Season: Carbon Traders was directed and produced by Australian filmmaker Cathy Henkel and was produced in association with ABC (Australia), CBC Newsworld, BBC, PBS and National Geographic Intl.