Patrick Bond: Ecological Debt and Reparations: Can the ‘Green Economy’ Incorporate Litigative Justice and Eco-Debt Payments, or Do we Need Environmental Justice and a Redistributive ‘Basic Income Grant’?

South Africa and Namibia are sites for the most important debates in history surrounding reparations. Usually the context for such discussion is recovery from race-related crimes against humanity, apartheid and South African racist colonialism, respectively. However, since the December 2011 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the
Parties 17 in Durban, attention has turned to whether the ‘Green Economy’ allows the concept of ‘natural capital’ to manage new environmentally-financialised markets aimed at codifying fees for ‘ecosystem services’ (an example of which is carbon trading), on the one hand – or on the other, retributive payments for ‘ecological debt’ based on environmental justice, so that the valuing of nature is limited to fines for damages and then prohibitions on further pollution. More

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