It was December 8, 2009, during the first week of international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Mostly white men in dark suits filled a large room. They had gathered to participate in a question-and-answer session with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board. This board oversees the methodology for granting approval for funding of “clean energy” projects deemed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A very small woman from India wearing a vibrant yellow and blue sari loudly spoke into the microphone in the language Marathi. A woman next to her translated her message:

My name Baby Mohite and I’m from Pune. I’m a waste picker. And the work that I do is picking out waste, recyclables… How can you [the CDM Board] possibly approve methodology [for waste incineration projects] that would make people like me lose my livelihood? And...

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