Category Archives: Cancun/ COP-16

On Not Attending the UN Climate Conference in Doha

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC

Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC at the Durban Climate COP in 2011.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP

For the first time since 2004, Global Justice Ecology Project did not sent any representatives to the annual UN Climate Conference (COP).  There were numerous reasons for this decision, one of which was a letter sent to us by Ms. Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) “suspending” three Global Justice Ecology Project activists from participating in Doha.  The list includes Lindsey Gillies, Keith Brunner and me–Global Justice Ecology Project’s “Head of Delegation.” We were officially banned from participating in any of the UNFCCC negotiating sessions in 2012 as well as any future sessions unless we sign a document agreeing to their terms to abide by their special “code of conduct” for observers.  Right.

Figueres page 1

Figueres page 2

Our crime?  Direct action.   Unpermitted, disobedient direct action in both Cancun and Durban designed to highlight the mounting repression against non-corporate observers.  (We also worked for over a year to help organize the amazing Reclaim Power action and Peoples’ Assembly at COP 15 in Copenhagen, which exposed the ineffectiveness of the UNFCCC and called for people to take their power back–though the letter did not mention that).

Over the years we have watched the UNFCCC become more and more like the World Trade Organization that we and many anti-corporate globalization organizations rose up against in the latter 1990s and early 2000s.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Cancun/ COP-16, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, Doha/COP-18, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, UNFCCC, Youth

Mexico can’t see the wood for the trees

Note: This article arose out of the heated debates on REDD (the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme) at the UN Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico in 2010.  GJEP actively campaigned against REDD there and supported the important work of our Indigenous allies who were there to oppose REDD.  As a result, GJEP is quoted opposing REDD in the article below.

Another outcome of our work against REDD in Cancun is a new video documenting opposition to REDD by Indigenous peoples, forest dependent communities and Northern communities all of whom are negatively impacted by REDD.  This video, “A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests,” which we co-produced with Global Forest Coalition, will be officially released on the 16th of January.”

–The GJEP Team

Cross-Posted from Le Monde Diplomatique (English Edition)

January 2012 Edition

An indigenous community in Mexico wants to drop protected conservation status for its area because it feels it has lost real control of its land and way of life. Concern about carbon emissions is blinding policy makers to the failures of some of their conservation policies

by Anne Vigna

“That’s the one,” said Arcenio Osorio, pointing at the huge mountain that towers over the village of Santiago Lachiguiri, in Oaxaca state, part of southwestern Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec. “It provides water to all the towns in the area, and to us, the Zapotec people, it’s sacred. That’s the mountain we wanted official protection for.” Osorio is secretary of the community assembly, a traditional elected body that represents the people of the village. The 8,000 inhabitants of the county have always been involved in the conservation of their mountain, the Cerro de las Flores (“Mountain of the Flowers”). An official from the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) told me it is classed as an area of “exceptionally high biodiversity” due to the “excellent state of preservation of its ecosystem”.

In the valleys at the foot of the mountain, they grow organic coffee. The slopes are covered with little woods and patches of maize, but after several hours of walking and clambering you come to forests of pine trees, under which grow hundreds of species of wild flowers. Because of its altitude (2,200 metres) and the rock it is made of, the mountain acts as a kind of sponge, which stores the greater part of the area’s water supply.

Cerro de las Flores is a textbook case of conservation policy. In August 2003 it became Mexico’s first “voluntary community preserved area”. My source said Conanp defines this as an area protected by a “conservation mechanism put in place at the request of the local community, that protects the area’s natural riches and offers sustainable economic alternatives to its inhabitants”. According to Conanp, 207,887 hectares of land are managed in this way in Mexico. But at the meeting of the community assembly in January 2011, the people of Santiago Lachiguiri voted to drop the area’s “preserved area” status. “The government deceived us,” explained Osorio. “We are still the legitimate owners of the land, but we have lost control of it.”

Osorio was clearly irritated, and with some justification. The village’s land commissioner, Enan Eduardo, explained his choice of words: “We discovered that the certification of the 1,400 hectares of Cerro de las Flores entailed a conservation period of 30 years, rather than the five years we had agreed on when we voted.” Did that imply deception, and loss of control? “The conservation policy means we also have to change our production methods, even if it makes no sense in ecological terms.”

Certifying land involves the establishment of a development plan, preceded by a diagnostic survey; non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government institutions (Mexico’s ecology ministry and Conanp) handle both tasks. The process is supposed to begin with “participatory workshops”, to inform the local inhabitants and allow them to make their opinions heard and take part in decision-making. But in Santiago Lachiguiri this procedure, seen as essential for the success of any conservation initiative, wasn’t followed correctly. Conanp insists the local inhabitants participated and were properly informed. Osorio said: “We went everywhere with them, and answered all their questions. But we had no idea what they were planning.”

Slash and burn

As a result, the conservation area ended up including the flanks of the mountain, where 140 smallholders had been growing maize. A further 517 hectares were included in the “payment for environmental services” programme, under which agricultural activities are forbidden, but the community receives an annual payment of 400 pesos (US$30) per hectare, that is $15,510 a year. It’s not much — and less than they were making from farming the land. The conservation plan also described a range of activities that would supposedly enhance the area’s resources without damaging the environment. The two flagship projects were an ecotourism initiative and a water-bottling plant. Both were abandoned after four years. Two cabins intended to accommodate tourists were never used — this remote area attracts few visitors — and the cost of transporting the bottled water proved prohibitive.

But it was farming that stirred up the most trouble. The local community practised slash-and-burn cultivation (land is cleared, burned and then planted every seven years). The ash serves as a natural fertiliser and the wood is used as cooking fuel. Typical crops are maize, beans, tomatoes and peppers.

Anthropologist Eckart Boege says that, when properly managed, according to strict rules, itinerant cultivation is the best way of farming without destroying the environment; the Mayas were masters of this technique, in both production and reforestation. But Mexican and international institutions have identified this farming method as the latest big threat and they all want a ban on burning, since carbon capture has become the central element of conservation policies. Slash-and-burn has in fact caused environmental damage in Mexico, leading to deforestation, soil impoverishment, water shortages and reduced biodiversity.

But this is not the case with land occupied by indigenous peoples such as the inhabitants of Santiago Lachiguiri, who have established strict community rules (1). “If it’s properly used, the technique can actually increase the biological diversity and mass of the forest. We release CO2 by burning, but we capture more during the regeneration phase,” explained Alvaro Salgado, agronomist and author of a study on slash-and-burn. These facts have been recognised in scientific publications but are denied by Conanp, which is busy imposing another project on the village — agro-forestry, a system that integrates trees into a system of permanent cultivation, in this case apricot trees and maize. The results have failed to convince the locals. In three years, the soil has become impoverished and the trees are scrawny. “Since the maize yields were poor, Conanp advised us very early on to use chemicals to enrich the soil,” said Eduardo. Another result was that most of the 140 smallholders who had lost their land left the village. Some emigrated to the US, some moved to the city, some went to work on a motorway construction site, and the youngest joined the army after a recruitment campaign.

The villagers demanded the removal of the mountain’s protected area status and an end to the payments for environmental services. They also sent two representatives to the Alternative Global Forum that was held at Cancún in December 2010 in parallel with the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16). Their aim was to denounce the conservation policies that were being imposed. Their testimony was of the highest importance: it was COP 16 that approved the agreement on forest conservation proposed at COP 13, in Bali in 2007 — the REDD (Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Degradation) programme.

Unable to agree on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the signatories hoped that REDD would kill two birds with one stone, cutting emissions by 15% while preventing deforestation. Diego Rodriguez from the World Bank had no doubts REDD would enable the world to prepare for climate change.

’We want to be able to say no’

Yet REDD shows little concern for the 300 million people across the world who depend on forests for their living. The programme is based on “compensation”: any business enterprise or country that pollutes can compensate for its greenhouse gas emissions (quantified in terms of tons of carbon) by “protecting” a forest. Advocates of REDD claim this approach is scientific but it does not appear to have convinced everyone. Research by Stanford University in California shows that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change overestimated the amount of carbon stocked in a forest in Peru by one-third (2).

Anne Petermann of the NGO Global Justice Ecology Project says the idea that carbon can be stocked implies a ban on the felling of trees. Indigenous groups are opposed to REDD, she says, because they believe it will inevitably displace communities or have a serious impact on their way of life, without doing anything to reduce pollution or climate change. Representatives of indigenous peoples, who came to Cancún in large numbers, hoped to impose a requirement that free, prior and informed consent be obtained before the implementation of any REDD project. “We want to be able to say no if a company wants to use our territory to compensate for carbon emissions,” said Onel Masardule, representative of the Kuna people of Panama.

But REDD’s final text merely refers to “social and environmental safeguards”, which have yet to be defined. It mentions the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (which says that “indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources”), but the declaration isn’t binding. Two recent reports (3) on respect for indigenous peoples in REDD programmes indicate that the land rights of local inhabitants and principles of consultation and information have been systematically flouted.

Over the past six years, a range of projects have been financed by enterprises (Shell and Gazprom in Indonesia, BP in Bolivia, and Rio Tinto in Australia), by countries (Norway in Brazil and Indonesia, France in Mexico) and special funds belonging to international institutions such as the World Bank and UN agencies. The Cancún Agreements did not decide how the REDD programme was to be financed but the idea, still championed by the World Bank, of offering REDD carbon credits on the global emissions market already seems less viable.

It is now accepted that the markets have done nothing to help reduce carbon emissions or to promote the financing of a less polluting economy. Kate Dooley, an expert on forests at the NGO Fern, says carbon trading does not encourage people to use less carbon but gives the illusion that it’s possible to compensate for pollution. She fears that if REDD were to become part of the carbon trading market, there could be a wave of land speculation based on assigning a “carbon value” to forests. But the so-called developed nations, which are historically responsible for climate change, have refused to finance REDD alone. A decision on the issue has therefore been put off until COP 17, to be held in Durban, South Africa, 28 November—9 December 2011.

All the World Bank reports stress that public money will not be enough to finance the establishment of REDD; private funding is also needed — estimates range from $15bn to $50bn per year, but the funds currently available amount to only $2bn. And a question remains: what is to be done about the smallholders who want to continue growing maize while conserving some of their land? At COP 16, Mexico’s president Felipe Calderón declared: “We will pay the smallholders to plant trees instead of maize on the mountain, and live on payments they will receive for environmental services.”

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Filed under Cancun/ COP-16, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, REDD, UNFCCC

“Our Struggle is for the Permanence of Agriculture”: Interview with Alberto Gomez of La Via Campesina, Durban South Africa

At COP17 in Durban, as at COP16 in Cancún previously, Global Justice Ecology Project worked closely with La Via Campesina, the world’s largest movement of peasant farmers. As part of our collaboration, I was asked to help document the movement, by conducting interviews with coordinators and members of La Via Campesina. Over the next several weeks and months, I hope to publish this series of interviews, as well as a series of articles examining the relationship of this movement to the ongoing struggles for food sovereignty and against the corporate domination of agriculture, which is one of the leading causes of the climate crisis.  – Jeff Conant

 “Our Struggle is for the Permanence of Agriculture”: Interview with Alberto Gomez of La Via Campesina, Durban South Africa, December 2011

Made up of 150 organizations in seventy countries, and with more than 200 million members, La Via Campesina holds the claim to being the largest movement of peasant farmers and artisanal food producers in the world. La Via Campesina was born in 1993, but traces its roots much further back – indeed, as Alberto Gomez hints in this interview, the movement’s roots are entwined with the history of agriculture, land reform, and social movements throughout the ages.

Alberto Gomez is the national director of UNORCA (Unión Nacional de Organizaciones Regionales Campesinas Autónomas) in Mexico. UNORCA is one of thirteen organizations – twelve of family farmers in Canada, five in the U.S., including three migrant farmworkers’ organizations, and five campesino (peasant farmer) groups in Mexico – that make up the North American coordination of La Via Campesina.

La Via Campesina brought an international delegation to United Nations COP17 in Durban, South Africa, that included a caravan of some 200 African farmers, and regional representation from Mexico, Haiti, and elsewhere. As a grassroots movement, La Via does not participate directly in the United Nations climate summits. But, like a peasant army stationed outside the gates of a walled city, La Via tends to establish a presence nearby, to monitor the negotiations, to build alliances, and to make its presence known.

Jeff Conant: We last talked a year ago, in your own country, at COP16 in Cancún, Mexico. What was the experience of La Via Campesina at COP16, and what has come of that experience?

Alberto Gomez: In the COP in Mexico, the first question was, how to build power, given the extreme security and control there. This question led us to build alliances that weren’t, let’s say, the typical ones – principally with the Asemblea de Afectados Ambientales, which brings together a variety of struggles of people affected by mines, dams, toxic contamination, in rural areas, but also in the cities. We also built together with another network, made up largely of Indigenous Peoples’ groups, called la Rede en Defensa del Maiz, (The Network in Defense of Corn), and also with urban sectors through coordinating with the struggle of the electricity workers who had lost their jobs, and who due to the liquidation of their union earlier in 2010, were in a moment of open struggle.

We decided to arrive in Cancún in a way that would make visible the realities of Mexico. So we organized international caravans to raise awareness of the local struggles…to raise their visibility. This allowed us to come to Cancún with power and visibility. In Cancún the question was how to project these struggles – these kinds of struggles exist on all regions of La Via Campesina – and to draw clear lines between these local struggles.

In Cancún, we were faced with excessive vigilance, including Federal Security agents, who were told that La Via Campesina was a violent organization, an armed and dangerous organization. Due to this, we were provoked, and we were immediately displaced from our camp, by the army. But we didn’t want confrontation – that wasn’t our intention.

What helped was presswork, working the media, as well as two big marches and several actions. This allowed us to project our intentions, to project the understandings of La Via in the face of the government’s decisions, and the exclusion we were faced with.

All our work in the popular neighborhoods of Cancun also brought a lot of support; and it built toward an event that was important and extremely successful, which was the visit of President Evo Morales to our encampment. This also helped to give us visibility, and certainly that was a moment that remains strong in our memory.

I think that the work of getting daily information about the progress of the negotiations, the work of building alliances, the work of seeking out and finding other people and other organizations that share our positions, and the work of maintaining strong positions, all of these are important aspects of what La Via Campesina does at the COPs that makes these moments useful to us as expressions of our strength.

JC: La Via Campesina had a strong presence in Cochabamba in April, 2010, at the People’s Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, and has continued to carry the banner of Cochabamba. What is the significance of that?

AG: We were in Cochabamba with the intention of building a common base, which was the Cochabamba People’s Accord. A good part of the Cochabamba Agreement are in our own demands – in this century, the temperature must not rise more than 1.5 degrees; the industrialized countries have to reduce emissions by fifty percent without conditions; the rich countries need to accept their historic debt, and also bring an end to the impunity of transnational corporations that has caused the global economic crisis and the climate crisis.

We continue demanding, in concordance with the Cochabamba Agreements, that there is an urgent need for a climate justice tribunal to try the polluters, and a declaration, an official United Nations Declaration, for the Rights of Mother Earth. All of this is to say that, if the Cochabamba Agreements appeared at one time, before COP16, in the UN negotiating text, and were then conveniently forgotten by the United Nations, these demands continue being valid today.

JC: What is La Via Campesina’s perspective on the UN COP process? What does the UN process have to do with the lives of peasant farmers?

AG: Our perspective on the negotiations is that it is better to have no agreement than a bad agreement. Agriculture shouldn’t be in the negotiations in any form. We see that, in the diplomatic language of the UN, there is a series of interests that signify the possibility that there won’t be any global agreement – that’s good. But the danger is that a series of small agreements will be made here that are fatal for humanity. This is why it’s more important than ever that we have popular consultas, consultations about what the world’s people actually think about the climate crisis.

Now it’s become so dramatic, each year more disasters… For example, right now we are experiencing terrible drought in Mexico – this year there won’t be enough corn, there won’t be enough wheat. We’re already importing fifty percent of our food, and with the climate crisis we can expect to become increasingly dependent on imports. Hurricanes, floods, all of this, is increasing the number of climate-related deaths, poverty, hunger.

This is a historic moment of profound gravity that demands that we let our governments know that they aren’t elected to ignore us – they are not elected to be administrators for the rich countries, or for the multinationals. They are supposed to serve the people, with dignity, because this is about the future of humanity. So we have to have great imagination to bring a halt to this process, to build popular consciousness toward becoming a force strong enough to put the brakes on the way these negotiations are turned into a business for the wealthiest part of humanity.

JC: From the standpoint of being here in Africa, how do you see the differences, or similarities, between La Via Campesina in Africa and in the Americas?

AG: Our African comrades have a great way of expressing their struggle. If they had had the economic capacity, the African delegation that has come to Durban, which is already quite large, would be twenty, thirty times bigger… Without claiming that I know much about the history of Africa, I believe that African movements are in a process of emerging from the control of the big NGOs that have historically managed their struggle. La Via Campesina in Africa shows that this process will be as powerful as it has been in Latin America, or even more powerful, because this is an awakening that allows them to say, maybe for the first time, ‘we can speak for ourselves, nobody can speak for us’. This is well-timed for la Via, because in 2013, we will hold our Sixth International Conference, and the Secretariat will move to Africa. This signals a moment when we can expect rapid growth and strengthening of the movement in Africa. We’re convinced of this.

JC: La Via Campesina will be twenty-years old in 2013. What are the movement’s most significant gains its almost twenty years of existence?

AG: One important victory is in simply being La Via Campesina, and existing for twenty years. To exist and to keep growing is itself a victory. Second, La Via Campesina has become a reference point – now our positions are taken up by other organizations. This is another important gain. The contribution of La Via Campesina to have frozen the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a gain, and this comes from La Via being organized in each of its regions, not only to oppose the WTO, but to propose alternatives.

In the rural areas, there has been a great learning process, that men and women are equal, that men’s participation and women’s go together. Thinking of the future, us old guys don’t see much possibility of big changes in our countries – but the decision to bring in the youth, to engage them in capacity building. The youth are now our hope for building food sovereignty, and for creating a permanent agriculture.

Another important victory is in recognizing who our enemies are – that is, that our enemies are the multinational corporations – and that they are not just the enemies of us, the peasant farmers, but of all of humanity. We have identified ourselves as anti-capitalist, and this has helped us to bring in some of the Northern organizations.

Not to be presumptuous, but La Via Campesina is the strongest international movement, and is expanding very quickly. For this reason, we understand well that we need many more movements with the same strength. We are a big movement, but we are humble, and we know that we can’t do it alone.

JC: Here in Durban they are talking about “Climate Smart Agriculture,” – a new way of putting soil and agriculture into the carbon market. It seems there are always new technologies, new threats. How is La Via Campesina confronting these threats?

AG: Geoengineering, nanotechnology, Synthetic biology – this all comes together in one package. We are in a moment of great threat toward peasant agriculture, as against nature itself. In this moment of multiple crises, economic, climatic, we realize that when we say there is a crisis of capitalism, this doesn’t mean capitalism is going to collapse. What it means is that capitalism is looking for new ways to sustain itself, to create new forms of accumulation. With all these forms of new technology, agriculture, nature, everything goes into this package. This is the threat facing us in the next global summit, at Rio+ 20. This is what they call the Green Economy.

The Green Economy signifies a global set of policies, a scheme that can adapt itself to any country, any region; in essence it implies a new form of governance. This is an aggression, on one hand, to the very existence of campesinos, peasant farmers, and on the other hand, to nature itself.

The biggest business in the world is the food business. Peasant farmers make up a little less than half the world’s population, and we produce more than seventy percent of the world’s food. Urban farmers, fisher people, they contribute another significant amount. This shows, on the one hand, that we have continued to exist, and on the other, that we continue to pose a threat.

All of nature has to be merchandized, given value, given a price, and it has to have an owner in order to be sold on the market – this is the Green Economy, green capitalism – that is the shell they’ve developed to get through their crisis. But it comes at the cost of the future, not just of peasant farmers, but of all of humanity.

JC: You used the phrase ‘permanent agriculture,’ as if it were possible that agriculture could come to an end. What does this mean?

AG: Our peasant agriculture is the accumulated knowledge of centuries. We are the accumulation of centuries of knowledge. This is the agriculture that exists and has always existed and continues to exist, and they want to wipe it off the map. Ours is a struggle for the permanence of our agriculture, versus the industrial, agrotoxic agriculture that turns the entire world into a supermarket. This supermarket itself is causing the greatest part of the emissions that have brought on the climate crisis – in this sense, industrial agriculture is a threat to the entire world. Our agriculture, on the other hand, is permanent. As long as humanity exists, peasant agriculture must exist. This is why we call it ‘permanent agriculture.’


Filed under Cancun/ COP-16, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Cochabamba, Durban/COP-17, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Latin America-Caribbean, New Voices in the News, Posts from Jeff Conant, Rio+20, UNFCCC

UN Security Ejects Youth Delegate Dressed as Uncle Sam Clown; Tells Journalists to Delete Photos

Cross-Posted from GEAR (Global Economic Accountability Research) [Note: GEAR is a fiscally sponsored project of Global Justice Ecology Project]

(GEAR video of press conference below post)

December 8, 2011.
Durban, South Africa

At 12:15pm today, after a press conference hosted by Global Justice Ecology Project, a GJEP panelist dressed as a clown was de-badged and removed from the UNFCCC negotiations.

“Uncle Sam,” identified as Kevin Buckland, art ambassador for, was stopped in the middle of an interview immediately following the press conference and was escorted out of the building by security. Buckland has been appearing as “Uncle Sam,” the ringleader of a band of corporate clowns, at several outside rallies and events over the past two weeks of the UN climate talks here in Durban, South Africa.

Buckland was informed by UN security that he was breaking the NGO code of conduct, despite repeated affirmations that he was merely giving an interview, and not participating in an action.  This is only the latest in a string of incidents here at COP17 where civil society has been muzzled by “code of conduct” rules arbitrarily imposed by UN security.

Journalist Orin Langelle of Z Magazine and Global Justice Ecology Project was told by UNFCCC Security Guards to stop taking photos and had his camera shoved into his face. Two civil society observers had their cameras taken by security while filming the expulsion process.

Global Justice Ecology Project’s press release promised “…a strong denouncement of the Green Economy, and an end with a band of clowns blowing bubbles and highlighting the absurdity of the whole UNFCCC process.” Buckland, who has organized and performed numerous pieces of political street theatre, was invited to the press conference to provide a satirical view of the corporate capture of the UN climate process, and of the market schemes being advanced under the guise of the new “Green Economy.”

Other panelists during the press conference, including Desmond D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance,  Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project, Kandi Mosset of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Ricardo Nevarro of Friends of the Earth El Salvador, the former President of FOE International, were not bothered after the press conference. Buckland was the only panelist to appear in clown regalia.

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Filed under Cancun/ COP-16, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Nuclear power, Posts from Anne Petermann, Posts from Jeff Conant, Ten Years After, Videos

Video: After Cancun–the Climate Justice Movement

Note:  GJEP will be blogging daily from Durban 28 Nov – 10 Dec.  Please stay tuned to Climate Connections.  The following video is in English and Spanish with French subtitles. -The GJEP Team

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One Year Since Cancun and Just Days Away from Durban: More than 4°C

Pablo Solon was the former UN ambassador for Bolivia and the lead negotiator for climate change negotiations, but no longer holds that position. At COP16 in Cancun last year, Solon’s was the lone voice dissenting from the Cancun Agreements. He will be attending COP17 in Durban, South Africa as part of civil society. — The GJEP team

Balance sheet and perspectives on the climate change negotiations (Part I)

by Pablo Solon

Cross-posted from: (*)

Almost a year has gone by since the results of the climate change negotiations in Cancun were imposed with the objection of only Bolivia. It’s time to take stock and see where we are now.

In Cancun, the developed countries listed their greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges for the 2012-2020 period. The United States and Canada said they would reduce emissions by 3% based on 1990 levels, the European Union between 20 and 30%, Japan 25%, and Russia from 15 to 25% [1]. Adding up all the reduction pledges of the developed countries, the total reduction in emissions by 2020 would be 13-17% [2] based on 1990 levels.

These greenhouse gas emission reduction “pledges,” according to the United Nations Environment Programme [3], the Stockholm Environment Institute [4], and even the Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Convention [5], would lead us to an average increase in global temperature of around 4°C or more.[6] That is double the amount they established in Cancun: a maximum temperature increase of just 2°C.

With an increase of 2°C, the number of deaths per year attributed to climate change-related natural disasters, which was 350,000 in 2009 [7], could skyrocket into the millions. Some 20-30% of animal and plant species would disappear. Many coastal zones and island states would end up below the ocean, and the glaciers in the Andes – which have already been reduced by one third with a temperature rise of just 0.8°C – would disappear entirely.

Can you imagine what would happen with an average global temperature increase of 4°C or more? [8]

Nobody at the climate change negotiations defends or justifies an increase of that magnitude. However, Cancun opened the door to it.

When Bolivia opposed this outcome, the negotiators told us that the important thing was to save the diplomatic process of negotiation, and that the climate would be saved in Durban. Now we are just days away from the start of Durban, and it turns out the reduction pledges have not risen by a millimeter. Worse yet, some countries are announcing that they may stick toward the lower range of their pledge amounts.

Sadly, throughout 2011, the climate change negotiations held in Thailand, Germany and Panama have focused on form rather than content. What is being negotiated is not how the reduction pledges can be increased, but rather, how they can be formalized.

The Cancun “agreements” meant going from an obligatory system with global greenhouse gas reduction goals to a voluntary system with no global goals at all. It is as if one said to the inhabitants of a small town about to be washed away by a flood: “bring whatever stones you may have and let’s see how high a dam we can build!” In reality, you must first determine how high the dam should be to stop the flood, and based on that, each family should be told how many stones it must bring to help save the whole town.
In Durban, they are talking about two different paths for formalizing the voluntary regime of “anything goes”: one is to end the Kyoto Protocol  and list in a COP-17 decision the greenhouse gas reduction pledges each country wishes to make. The other path is to do the same thing by hollowing out the content of the Kyoto Protocol. In both cases the agreement is to undo the Kyoto Protocol before 2020.

To better understand the second path, let me point out that the Kyoto Protocol currently includes a global goal of 5.2% emission reductions for the 2007-2012 period. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in order to limit the rise in temperature to the 2°C they have established, we must reduce 25-40% of emissions for the 2013-2020 period.[9]

Those that advocate for maintaining the Kyoto Protocol as an empty shell are the countries that fear the reaction of public opinion, those that believe they have to at least pretend that the Kyoto Protocol will continue in order to placate voters. But the other reason why they would want to maintain a Kyoto Protocol that is empty of emission reductions are its collapsing carbon market mechanisms.

The Kyoto Protocol has many weaknesses, but to turn it into an empty shell or make it disappear in Durban would be suicide. The only responsible alternative is to preserve the Kyoto Protocol with an emissions reductions goal that allows us to avoid incinerating the planet.

(Second part: The emerging countries and the carbon budget)

* Pablo Solón is an international analyst and social activist. He was chief negotiator for climate change and Ambassador to the United Nations for the Plurinational State of Bolivia from 2009 until June 2011.

[1] Document UNFCCC FCCC/SB/2011/INF.1
[2] A minimum emissions reduction of 13% and a maximum of 17% for the 2013-2020 period.

[6] 4° C is a global average, but some continents such as Africa will see a temperature rise 8° C.
[7] Data from the Global Humanitarian Forum presided by former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan.

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Filed under Cancun/ COP-16, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Cochabamba, Durban/COP-17

World Bank Forest Carbon Schemes Charged with Displacing Communities in the Global South, Furthering Pollution in the Global North

For Immediate Release                                  21 September 2011

 (Español debajo)

 Washington, DC – As the World Bank, the largest source of multilateral financing for forestry projects, [1] prepares for its fall meetings here, Global Justice Ecology Project charges that the Bank’s promotion of the controversial forest-carbon scheme called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) harms both forests and forest dependent communities in developing countries, while encouraging continued pollution in vulnerable communities in developed countries like the U.S.

Following the announcement of a new sub-national REDD agreement between the states of California, USA, Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil during the UN Climate Conference in Cancun last December, Global Justice Ecology Project launched an investigation into the potential on-the-ground impacts of REDD. In March and April of 2011, GJEP traveled to Chiapas to investigate social and ecological impacts of the REDD project there, which is being designed to create carbon offset credits by quantifying the carbon stored by trees in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in the Lacandon Jungle.

“During our investigation, we went to the community of Amador Hernandez, deep in the jungle,” stated Orin Langelle, from Global Justice Ecology Project.  “The villagers reported to us that the Mexican government was withholding medical services as a means to pressure them to leave.  If they refused, they feared the Mexican military would force them to leave, as has happened to other Indigenous communities in the Lacandon jungle.” [2]

Environmental justice groups also warn that REDD agreement will have detrimental impacts on people in California. “The carbon offsets from this REDD agreement are going to allow people in places like Richmond and Wilmington, California to continue to be polluted and sickened by polluting industries like the Chevron and Tesoro oil refineries,” said Joaquín Quetzal Sánchez, Oakland, California-based Strategist for CrossRoots: Building a Sustainable Movement.

“This REDD agreement will harm communities on all sides of the border.  The only ones that win are the polluters,” Sanchez said. [3]

In October, GJEP will travel to Acre, Brazil to meet with groups concerned about the REDD project there, and to document the actual and potential impacts of the project. GJEP plans to bring representatives from Chiapas to this meeting to further opportunities for cross-border strategizing regarding the California-Chiapas-Acre REDD deal.

The effort to “protect forests” by removing the people that depend on them contradicts recent studies that demonstrate forests are best protected when the communities depending on them have legal title.  In a six-year study, CIFOR (the Center for International Forestry Research) found that, “Tropical forests designated as strictly protected areas have annual deforestation rates much higher than those managed by local communities”. [4]

The World Bank has been involved in the global forest/climate program known as REDD through its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility[5], announced by World Bank President Robet Zoellick, during the 2007 UN Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia. The announcement met with strong popular protest, and the World Bank continues to draw sharp criticism for its role in promoting schemes that displace forest dependent communities and promote large-scale industrial tree plantations that could potentially include socially and ecologically dangerous genetically engineered trees. [6] [7]

Today is the International Day of Action Against Monoculture Tree Plantations.  Last year GJEP released this video highlighting their concerns about tree plantations and genetically engineered trees.


Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project; North American Focal Point, Global Forest Coalition +1.802.578.0477 (on site in Washington, DC)

Jeff Conant, Communications Director, Global Justice Ecology Project, +1.575.770.2829

Joaquin Sanchez, CrossRoots, +1 917.575.3154


Notes to Editors

[1] World Bank Forests and Forestry Issue Brief:,,contentMDK:20103458~menuPK:34480~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html

[2] “Turning the Lacandon Jungle Over to the Carbon Market,” Z Magazine, July 2011:

[3] The California Report: AB32 and Environmentalists:

[4] 2011 Center for International Forestry Resarch (CIFOR) report: Community managed forests and forest protected areas: An assessment of their conservation effectiveness across the tropics

[5] The World Bank maintains three roles in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.  It is one of the main international climate initiatives set up to fund developing country REDD schemes.




Para publicación inmediata

21 septiembre, 2011

Esquemas de carbono forestal del Banco Mundial acusados de adelantar la contaminación en el Norte Global, desplazando a las comunidades en el Sur Global

Washington, DC - Mientras el Banco Mundial, que es la mayor fuente de financiamiento multilateral para proyectos forestales, [1] se prepara para tener sus reuniones de otoño, el Proyecto por la Justicia Ecológica Global (Global Justice Ecology Project) acusa que la promocion por esta institución de la controversial plan conocido como REDD (Reducción de Emisiones por Deforestación y Degradación) esta perjudicando tanto a los bosques y las comunidades dependientes de los bosques en los países en desarrollo, y fomentando al mismo tiempo la contaminación continua en las comunidades más vulnerables en los países desarrollados como los EE.UU.

Tras el anuncio de un nuevo acuerdo sub-nacional de REDD entre los estados de California, EEUU, Chiapas, México y Acre, Brasil, durante la Conferencia Climática de la ONU en Cancún en diciembre pasado, el Proyecto por la Justicia Ecológica Global (GJEP) inició una investigación sobre los impactos potenciales y actuales de REDD. En marzo y abril del 2011, GJEP viajó a Chiapas para investigar los impactos sociales y ecológicos del proyecto REDD, que está siendo diseñado para crear créditos de compensación de carbono mediante la cuantificación del carbono almacenado por los árboles en la Reserva de la Biosfera Montes Azules en la Selva Lacandona.

“Durante nuestra investigación fuimos a la comunidad de Amador Hernández, en la selva profunda”, dijo Orin Langelle, del Proyecto por la Justicia Ecológica Global. “Los aldeanos nos informaron de que el gobierno mexicano está utilizando la retención de servicios médicos como un medio para presionarlos para que abandonen sus tierras. Tienen miedo de que al negarse abandonar sus tierras los militares mexicanos les obliguen a salir por la fuerza, como ha sucedido con otras comunidades indígenas en la selva Lacandona. “[2]

Grupos de justicia ambiental también advierten que el acuerdo REDD tendrá un impacto negativo en la población de California. “La compensación de carbono a partir de este acuerdo REDD va a seguir permitiendo la contaminación de comunidades como Richmond y Wilmington, California, causadas por refinerías de petróleo como Chevron y Tesoro”, dijo Joaquín Quetzal Sánchez, estratega basado en Oakland, California y parte del grupo CrossRoots: Construyendo un Movimiento Sostenible.

“Este acuerdo de REDD dañará las comunidades en ambos lados de la frontera. Los únicos que ganan son los que contaminan”, dijo Sánchez [3]

En octubre, GJEP viajará a Acre, Brasil, para reunirse con los grupos interesados ​​en el proyecto REDD en ese lugar y para documentar los impactos reales y potenciales del proyecto. GJEP planea traer a representantes de Chiapas a este encuentro para crear nuevas oportunidades y establecer estrategias transfronterizas en relación con el acuerdo sobre REDD en California-Chiapas-Acre.
La idea de “proteger los bosques” mediante la expulsión de las comunidades que dependen de ellos contradice estudios recientes que demuestran que los bosques están mejor protegidos cuando aquellas comunidades que dependen de ellos tienen títulos de propiedad. En un estudio de seis años, el CIFOR (Centro para la Investigación Forestal Internacional) encontró que, “Los bosques tropicales designados como áreas de protección tienen las tasas anuales de deforestación mucho más altas que aquellas administradas por las comunidades locales” [4]

El Banco Mundial ha estado involucrado en el programa global forestal/climático conocido como REDD a través de su “Forest Carbon Partnership Facility” [5], anunciado por el presidente del Banco Mundial Robet Zoellick, durante la Conferencia Climática de la ONU en 2007 en Bali, Indonesia. El anuncio fue recibido con fuertes protestas populares, el Banco Mundial continúa atrayendo duras críticas por su papel en la promoción de esquemas que desplazan a las comunidades dependientes de los bosques y al mismo tiempo promover grandes plantaciones industriales de árboles que podrían afectar socialmente y ecológicamente por este tipo de árboles genéticamente modificados. [6] [7]

Hoy es el Día Internacional de Acción Contra los “Monocultivos” de Árboles. GJEP publicó el año pasado este video destacando su preocupación por las plantaciones de árboles y árboles de ingeniería genética.


Anne Petermann, Directora Ejecutiva, Proyecto por la Justicia Ecológica Global; North American Focal Point, Global Forest Coalition +1.802.578.0477 (localizada en Washington, DC)

Jeff Conant, Director de Comunicación, Proyecto por la Justicia Ecológica Global, +1.575.770.2829

Joaquín Sanchez, CrossRoots, +1.917.575.3154



[1] World Bank Forests and Forestry Issue Brief:,,contentMDK:20103458~menuPK:34480~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html

[2] “Turning the Lacandon Jungle Over to the Carbon Market,” Z Magazine, July 2011:

[3] The California Report: AB32 and Environmentalists:

[4] 2011 Center for International Forestry Resarch (CIFOR) report: Community managed forests and forest protected areas: An assessment of their conservation effectiveness across the tropics

[5] The World Bank maintains three roles in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.  It is one of the main international climate initiatives set up to fund developing country REDD schemes.



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Filed under Biodiversity, Cancun/ COP-16, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Durban/COP-17, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, REDD

Collective Liberation: Lessons Learned in Allyship with Indigenous Resistance at Black Mesa

One of the authors of this article, Hallie Boas, is on the GJEP board.  Hallie first interned with GJEP, volunteered afterwards, became a member of our board, left the board to start a GJEP West Coast Desk in Berkeley where she coordinated our New Voices on Climate Change program.  Hallie recently left her staff position with GJEP, but went immediately back to the GJEP board. Commitment and dedication–two very honorable traits.  Hallie is also a collective member of Black Mesa Indigenous Support.

–The GJEP Team

Cross posted: leftturn   notes from the global intifada

By:  Liza Minno Bloom, Hallie Boas, and Berkley Carnine

August 12, 2011

The stories of the traditional Dineh people of Black Mesa, the land surrounding the sacred peaks of Big Mountain, tell us that coal is the liver of Mother Earth. Black Mesa is a rural area of the Navajo reservation in Northeastern Arizona, where for more than 30 years, Dineh (Navajo) have lived in resistance there, steadfastly refusing to relocate as strip mines rip apart their ancestral homelands and coal-generating plants poison the desert air.

Public Law (PL) 93-531, written by Barry Goldwater and Pat Fannin and commonly known as the “Relocation Law,” was signed into law by Gerald Ford in 1974. The statute made 900,000 acres of Navajo-Hopi shared land exclusive Hopi territory, or Hopi Partitioned Lands (HPL), despite the fact that very few Hopi lived there. With this, the Department of Justice began the massive relocation of Dineh, and Peabody Energy Corporation began constructing the two largest strip mines in the western US, one of which is operating today. The effects of the relocation meet all the criteria of the UN’s internationally recognized definition of cultural genocide.

The media has misrepresented this corporate land grab as a “Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.”

“It is a major human rights violation, they way they pitted the Hopi and Dineh against each other over this issue,” says NaBahe Katenay Keediniihii (Dineh), who was born on the HPL. “For generations,” he continues, “they co-existed peacefully despite the fact that they were different tribes with different languages, ceremonies, and traditions.”

More than 14,000 Dineh and over 100 Hopi have been relocated from the land surrounding the sacred peaks of Big Mountain to make way for Peabody’s mines. This constitutes the largest forced relocation of indigenous peoples in the US since the Trail of Tears in 1883. In the 1970s and 1980s, resistance communities armed themselves against law enforcement officers and cut the government-erected barbed wire fences demarking the sacred places they were no longer allowed to visit. Of this, elder matriarch Pauline Whitesinger said, “They drew a line around us. I was told to move out by the government. I do not wish to leave, so I am staying here.”

The relocation has a profoundly complicated history, much of which the authors of this piece are not capable of describing, as it is not our struggle. Currently, most families live in traditional hogans on large homesteads peppered by scrubby juniper and pine trees throughout which they herd their livestock. Sheep comprise the lifeblood of traditional Dineh communities. Now, as a result of 30 years of coal slurry operations that have required millions of gallons of water a day to function, the Navajo Aquifer, which runs under Black Mesa and supplies water for crops, people, and animals, is all but drained.

From its 30 years of disastrous operation, Peabody’s 103-square-mile Black Mesa mine left a toxic legacy along an abandoned coal slurry pipeline 273 miles long, the source of an estimated 325 million tons of climate pollution discharged into the atmosphere.  According to Peabody, the operating Kayenta Mine continues to extract eight million tons of low-sulfur coal annually and supplies the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona.

These days, the Dineh families and elders who remain on the HPL face regular harassment and impoundment of livestock.  Elder matriarch resister Mae Tso said recently, “Under the relocation laws we can only have a certain amount of sheep. They may extend [impoundments] to twice a year. It seems the Navajo and Hopi leadership have come together to push more people off of the HPL.”

Movement building and allyship

Formed in 1998, Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is committed to decolonial solidarity work with the Dineh communities, who are resisting this ongoing forced relocation by the US government. We are an all-volunteer, grassroots collective comprised of antiracist white organizers, the majority of whom are female-identified; we are involved as herbalists, parents, farmers, teachers, artists, and climate justice organizers. We see our role in working with other white allies as being particularly important because we believe, as the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond phrases it, “Racism is the single most critical barrier to building effective coalitions for social change.”

Indigenous peoples’ resistance, history and perspective on land, sovereignty, and the nation-state comprise the nexus of our work. We seek to be a part of countering the myth of the “disappearing native,” while supporting active and resilient indigenous-led resistance movements and engaging in our own decolonization and healing processes.

Since the relocation began, and before BMIS existed, support has taken various forms: American Indian Movement resistance camps, weavers for justice, and organizing speaking tours around the country for elders, including visits to the UN. Over the years, people who have supported the struggle on Black Mesa have come to understand the fundamental interconnectedness of hierarchy and oppression, as well as varying relationships to power and privilege. The supporter network is now multigenerational and weaves together other efforts towards social and environmental justice.

As we develop as a collective, BMIS is increasingly focusing on movement and coalition building. In working to get supporters to the land to learn directly from the traditional ways and resistance of the community, we are also building a regional coordinator network of allies organizing year-round support of Black Mesa in their home communities.

Climate connections

At the United Nations COP-16 climate talks in Cancún in December 2010 it became clear that increasingly secured borders between the Global North and the Global South, between rich and poor, will ensure corporate access to remaining natural resources. Resisters from Black Mesa and others from frontline communities demanded the root causes of climate change be addressed, calling for the implementation of the rights of Mother Earth. The UN silenced them, while refusing to make real commitments to stop emissions at the source and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The communities and lands most impacted by climate change have been plagued with the externalities of unfettered natural resource extraction fueling free-market capitalism: higher rates of cancer, respiratory diseases, and landbases and cultures rendered “sacrifices,” as is the case with Black Mesa. Today around Black Mesa, there are unified efforts between Dineh and Hopi against resource extraction and for green jobs. BMIS seeks to support local communities’ transitions off dirty energy and support green jobs for people who’ve been most impacted by dirty energy and climate pollution—disproportionally people of color and indigenous peoples.

The BMIS support network also connects with indigenous-led movements regionally and is part of the growing resilience movement for protecting sacred places: the Save the Peaks campaign in Flagstaff, Arizona that is organizing to preserve the San Francisco Peaks ( a sacred altar to indigenous peoples, including the Dineh; and the campaign to protect Segora Te (Glen Cove) ( in California, among others.

As the regional support network grows, the importance of building an analysis of cultural and spiritual appropriation, and accountable representation for non-indigenous supporters becomes integral to our organizing. We work to foster committed allyship in movements led by people most impacted by colonialism, racism, and ecological destruction—in this case, the resisting elders of Black Mesa.

We hope that our access to resources can provide some background and open up a space for voices from the resistance communities to be amplified and published more regularly. We’ve learned that locating ourselves within the struggle does not mean making ourselves invisibile or acting from a place of guilt and shame, but acknowledging our unique abilities and positions as opportunities and deep yearnings to connect as a way to fully embody our collective liberation.

Liza Minno Bloom, Hallie Boas, and Berkley Carnine are collective members with Black Mesa Indigenous Support. For BMIS’s points of unity, more extensive background and news, our recently updated cultural sensitivity and preparedness training guide for movement builders, as well as ways to get involved, please visit

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Filed under Cancun/ COP-16, Climate Change, Coal, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Pollution


Jubilee South/Americas, as part of the Hemispheric Social Alliance, endorses this statement and invites others to also circulate it in particular to governments and negotiators now in Bonn.

Jubileo Sur/Américas, integrante de la Alianza Social Continental, adhiere a este pronunciamiento e invita a otros movimientos y redes a unirse en la difusión y presentación, en especial, a gobiernos y negociadores de clima ahora en Bonn (texto en castellano sigue abajo)


Message to governments and UNFCCC negotiators in Bonn

As social movements and organizations we continue to participate in and accompany the climate change negotiations, because we believe they represent a key element for the sustainable development of our peoples. Therefore, we view with great concern that the Cancun Agreement is being regarded as the basis of the next steps of the Climate Change negotiations.

The Cancun Agreement threatens an end to democratic multilateralism.  It is, furthermore, an ineffective tool for negotiations being based on individual pledges, with different base years, different capacities and a completely voluntary nature.

To make voluntary pledges the basis for negotiations does not in any way guarantee a global temperature rise of less than 1.5ºC by 2050. In short, this Agreement gives rise to greater commodification of nature and life and ensures continuity of the present predatory and unequal development model. Further evidence of this is the role assigned in Cancun to the World Bank and the regional development banks, the same entities that continue to fund this failed model, both in the management of the funds that are supposed to finance solutions and in creating “innovative” financing mechanisms through the markets, such as those that led to the latest global economic crisis and the current speculative surge in food prices.

Promises that will further indebten our countries and condition international aid

As if these disastrous results of Cancun were not enough, they also contemplate and formalize mechanisms that will deepen the indebtedness of our countries. Not only were no binding commitments obtained from the Northern, industrialized countries, but South countries were charged with new responsibilities that imply important new levels of capital investment, which will be met through loans, cuts in social spending, and the concession of territory and sovereignty. To cite just two examples:

  • South countries are obliged to develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions in (NAMAS): these actions are to be subject to an international scheme of reporting, review, and verification, “if financial support is required for implementation”.
  • The establishment of a register to record these NAMAs: this registry is a condition for accessing financial resources.

Developing countries have nothing to gain from this proposal, but everything to lose, considering the consequences for our countries of a temperature rise greater than 2ºC.

Negotiators who represent the interests of the people in the negotiations thus have a duty to require mandatory commitments and real solutions from the countries of the North, recognition of their ecological debt, the rejection of false solutions based on market mechanisms such as the CDM, REDD, REDD+ proposals, maintenance of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and ensuring the participation and autonomy of social movements.

The effects of climate change are evident and they are growing and increasingly affecting the population, especially the women and men who are living in a situation of poverty in the South; therefore, it is essential to ensure that decisionmaking on this matter does not continue to be postponed.

Climate change, like other environmental problems, cannot be analyzed in isolation, stripped of the social context in which it occurs, and from this perspecitve it is clear that overcoming the climate crisis requires the transformation of present forms of production and consumption imposed by the model prevailing.

The Cochabamba Agreement as a basis for a just negotiation

As social movement organizations and networks, we participated together with various democratic governments in the process of building the Peoples´Agreement in Cochabamba and we believe that the elements included therein reflect our positions and propose real solutions to the climate crisis.

The principle proposals of this Agreement were included in the negotiating texts during the preparatory meetings to COP 16, including the need and urgency of the Northern industrialized countries to support the implementation of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, in which they commit themselves to reduce by 50% their level of greenhouse gas emissions between 2013 and 2017, and over 95% in 2050, to acknowledge their historic responsibility and pay off the ecological debt they have accumulated over the last 500 years with the South, ensuring that 6% of Gross domestic product is made available to meet the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation in South countries, and finally, rejecting false solutions such as the new carbon market mechanisms, among others; they must now be reincorporated into the negotiations.

The talks ongoing now in Bonn are a critical time to save the multilateral negotiations. We therefore call on negotiators to make decisions that are consistent with their responsibilities toward present and future generations. It is not those countries that demand an equitable deal who are blocking the negotiations, but rather those who seek to guarantee a cheap way out for their own states, ignoring their historical responsibility at the expense of those who are most vulnerable.



Mensaje a gobiernos y negociadoras-es de la CMNUCC en Bonn

Los movimientos y organizaciones sociales seguimos participando y acompañando las negociaciones de cambio climático, porque consideramos que representan un elemento clave para el desarrollo sustentable de nuestros pueblos. Por ello, vemos con mucha preocupación que el Acuerdo de Cancún sea considerado como la base de los próximos pasos de las negociaciones sobre Cambio Climático.

El Acuerdo de Cancún echa por tierra el multilateralismo democrático y es una herramienta ineficaz porque basa las negociaciones en promesas individuales (pledges), con años base diferentes, con capacidades diferentes y es completamente voluntario.

Tomar los compromisos voluntarios (pledges) como la base de las negociaciones, no garantiza de forma alguna que se limite a 1,5ºC el aumento de la temperatura global para 2050. En suma, este Acuerdo genera una mayor mercantilización de la naturaleza y la vida y garantiza la continuidad del modelo de desarrollo depredador y desigual. Otra Prueba de ello es el rol que también se asignó en Cancún al Banco Mundial y a los Bancos regionales de desarrollo, los mismos que siguen financiando ese modelo fallido, tanto en la gestión de los fondos que se suponen destinados a financiar soluciones como en la creación de mecanismos “innovadores” de financiamiento a través de los mercados, al mismo estilo de lo que provocó la crisis económica más reciente y la subida actual de precios de los alimentos por motivos especuladores.

Compromisos que nos endeudan aún más y condicionan la ayuda InternacionalComo si no bastara con los nefastos resultados de Cancún, estos contemplan y oficializan mecanismos de endeudamiento para nuestros países. Además de no obtener compromisos vinculantes, los países del Sur fueron cargados con nuevas responsabilidades, que en concreto implican fuerte inversión de capital, que será enfrentada vía préstamos, reducciones de gastos social y concesiones de territorio y soberanía. Para mencionar dos ejemplos:


Ø    Se obliga a los países del Sur a elaborar Acciones Nacionales Apropiadas de Mitigación de los países en Desarrollo (NAMAs): dichas acciones deben estar sometidas a un esquema de seguimiento, informe  y evaluación internacional, “si es que se requiere de apoyo financiero para su implementación”.
Ø    El establecimiento de un registro para documentar  estas NAMAs: este registro es una condicionante para acceder a recursos financieros.

Los países en desarrollo no tienen nada que ganar con esta propuesta, sino todo que perder, considerando las consecuencias que tendría para nuestros países un aumento de más de 2ºC.

Por lo tanto, los negociadores que representen los intereses de los pueblos  en las negociaciones tienen el deber de exigir compromisos y soluciones reales a los países del Norte, el reconocimiento de la deuda ecológica, rechazar las falsas soluciones basadas en mecanismos de mercado como son entre otras, las propuestas de MDL, Redd, Redd+, mantener el principio de responsabilidades comunes pero diferenciadas y garantizar la participación y autonomía de los movimientos sociales.

Los efectos del Cambio Climático son evidentes, se incrementan y afectan cada vez más a la población, especialmente a las y los pobres en el Sur; por lo tanto, es imprescindible asegurar que no se continúen aplazando la toma de decisiones respecto a este tema.

El Cambio Climático, como otras problemáticas Ambientales, no puede ser analizado aisladamente, despojándolo del contexto social donde se implanta y en este escenario queda claro que para superar la crisis climática es necesaria la transformación de las actuales formas de producción y consumo impuestas por el modelo imperante.

El Acuerdo de Cochabamba como base para una negociación justa

Como organizaciones y redes del movimiento social, participamos conjuntamente con varios gobiernos democráticos en el proceso de construcción del Acuerdo de los Pueblos en Cochabamba y creemos que los elementos allí planteados recogen nuestras posiciones y proponen soluciones reales a la crisis climática.

Las propuestas principales de dicho Acuerdo, tales como la necesidad y urgencia de que los países industrializados del Norte respalden la implementación de un segundo período de compromisos del Protocolo de Kyoto, en el cual se comprometan a reducir en un 50% el nivel de emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero entre 2013 y 2017, y más del 95 % en el año 2050; que reconozcan su responsabilidad histórica y paguen la Deuda Ecológica que han acumulado durante los últimos 500 años con los países del Sur, garantizando que el 6% de su producto interno bruto sea destinado a enfrentar los costos de mitigación y adaptación al cambio climático y, por último, que se rechacen falsas soluciones como los nuevos mecanismos de mercados de carbono, entre otras, fueron incluidas en los textos de negociación durante las reuniones preparatorias a la COP 16 y se precisa recuperarlas en el proceso de negociaciones.

Las negociaciones de Bonn representan un momento clave para salvar  las negociaciones multilaterales. Por lo tanto, llamamos a los negociadores  a  tomar decisiones responsables con las generaciones presentes y futuras. No son los países que demandan un acuerdo equitativo quienes bloquean las negociaciones, sino los que buscan garantizar una salida poco costosa para sus propios Estados, ignorando su responsabilidad histórica y a costa de los más vulnerables.

-junio de 2011



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Filed under Cancun/ COP-16, Climate Change, Cochabamba, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, UNFCCC

Assessment of Cancun Agreements by UNFCCC Executive Secretary

Bonn, 28 February 2011

NOTE:  Take the Climate Truth Challenge–OK, the UNFCCC didn’t release this Stephanie Miller cartoon, although they did issue a Media Alert today with an assessment of the Cancun Agreements by the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, which includes a Progress Tracker for 2011, that can be accessed via a new entry point on the UN website titled “Cancun Agreements”.  Above cartoon or Cancun Agreements–which one reflects reality?
Global Justice Ecology Project’s assessment of the Cancun talks was published in the February issue of Z Magazine:  Outrage at the UN Cancun Climate Talks

–The GJEP Team

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