New Internationalist

Hacked off

September 2010

Activists hack into the public website of the European Climate Exchange

Frustrated by the prevailing fixation on carbon trading as a solution to the climate crisis, digital direct activists have taken matters into their own hands. In July, they hacked into the public website of the European Climate Exchange (ECX), with the aim of exposing the carbon market as a giant scam.

The ECX is the leading marketplace for European CO2 trading, peddling the dysfunctional ‘cap and trade’ scheme which, according to Greenpeace, has been pounced on by governments looking for a ‘smokescreen to avoid their legal and moral commitment’ to clean up their act. Carbon trading has failed to deliver the promised emissions cuts, while making sure that speculators grow rich by buying and selling the right to emit carbon dioxide. In 2008 the trade in carbon permits and credits was worth $126 billion in Europe, a figure that could rise to $3.1 trillion by 2020. Friends of the Earth have warned that this trade in thin air could trigger a second ‘sub-prime’ style financial collapse.

The hacktivists, from the autonomous ‘decocidio’ collective, took the ECX website offline and replaced it with a message proclaiming ‘climate on sale’. The webpage outlined the scheme’s true costs, including the fact that its main purpose is not to reduce emissions; that it leaves room for unverifiable manipulation; and that it distracts attention from the wider, systemic changes and collective political action needed to tackle climate change.

View the hacked site at:

This column was published in the September 2010 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 435

New Internationalist Magazine issue 435
Issue 435

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New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

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