Could Microcarbon Finance Help Eliminate Poverty?
Friday, December 17, 2010
By Thomas Lyon
Lately, I’ve been exploring microcarbon finance, an emerging hybrid of carbon offset and microloan strategy that has the potential to be endlessly confusing to a non-specialist. But when you get past the details, microcarbon finance has the potential to ignite direct environmental action and social transformation for the one billion people at the “Base of the Pyramid” who live on less than $1 a day.
Microfinance programs, which match poor entrepreneurs in developing areas with small, low-interest loans to support economic growth and social transformation, have become all but mainstream in areas like China and India. The practice has become so common thatForbes even warned against jumping too fast into “barefoot banking” in 2008.
At the same time, as microfinance goes mainstream, awareness about environmental and sustainability issues grows. China is a perfect example: the rapidly-growing superpower has come under fire for questionable approaches to pollution, factory workers’ rights, product contamination, and other social and environmental issues.