Category Archives: Carbon Trading

Cleaning dirty gas enabling CO2 sales to dirtier oil producers

Note: This sentence pretty much sums it all up: “He’s betting hydrocarbon consumers will increasingly opt to trap emissions from natural gas, if not to help the environment then to duck potential government sanctions — or to sell CO2 at a profit.

Capturing carbon from gas used to extract tar sands–and using that gas to extract more tar sands!  We wish this one was for April Fools.

-The GJEP Team

By John Lippert, April 1, 2014. Source: Bloomberg

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Andre Boulet, chief executive officer of Inventys Thermal Technologies Inc. in Burnaby, British Columbia, holds up a 6-inch piece of charcoal, showing how light passes through toothpick-sized air shafts. He says the crevices in this filter offer a cheap way to capture carbon dioxide before it ascends into the atmosphere and haunts future generations.

Boulet, who has spent $12 million on his seven-year-old company, predicts Inventys’s sales may reach hundreds of millions of dollars in five years — driven in part by North America’s natural gas boom, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its May issue.

President Barack Obama calls gas a bridge fuel for the U.S. economy. Power plants, factories and refineries are jumping onboard, lured by a 73 percent plunge in U.S. prices from 2005 to March 31. The country generated 28 percent of electricity with gas in 2013, up from 22 percent six years earlier, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Buoyed by gas, the fossil-fuel industry is trying to bask in a newfound green image.
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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Tar Sands

Are Norway’s REDD deals reducing deforestation?

By Chris Lang, March 6, 2014. Source: Development Today

Protest outside of a Norwegian government meeting to promote REDD in Oslo, Norway highlights the social and ecological costs of the REDD scheme and draws attention to a scandalous Norske Hydro project that threatens to destroy Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo Courtesy: Friends of the Earth Norway

Protest outside of a Norwegian government meeting to promote REDD in Oslo, Norway highlights the social and ecological costs of the REDD scheme and draws attention to a scandalous Norske Hydro project that threatens to destroy Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo Courtesy: Friends of the Earth Norway

When I started the REDD-Monitor website in 2008, REDD – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – was promoted as the “low-hanging fruit” that would save the rainforests and address climate change. In 2006, for example, the economist Nicholas Stern had described REDD as “highly cost-effective” and explained that it could reduce emissions “fairly quickly”. More than seven years on, REDD is neither cheap nor quick. (In 2012, I asked Stern whether he has reconsidered his views on REDD in the interim. He didn’t reply.)

The Norwegian government is the biggest funder of REDD, including US$1 billion REDD deals in Indonesia and Brazil, two countries with large areas of forest and high rates of deforestation. The money is payable when deforestation is reduced. But have Norway’s rainforest billions had any influence on rates of deforestation in either country?

Forest Politics

Forest politics in the two countries are different. Brazil is opposed to REDD offsets but Indonesia is in favour. Deforestation in Brazil has fallen since 2004, but in Indonesia it is increasing. Brazil has reliable deforestation data, produced annually by the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais). Indonesia’s deforestation data is produced by the Ministry of Forestry – and the data is not supported by satellite data. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

The World Bank’s role in climate and energy finance

By Chris Lang, February 25, 2014. Source: REDD Monitor

Protest against the World Bank's involvement in the Green Climate Fund at 2011 UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa.  Source: Flickr/Friends of the Earth International

Protest against the World Bank’s involvement in the Green Climate Fund at 2011 UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Source: Flickr/Friends of the Earth International

Bruce Rich’s excellent new book about the World Bank, features two chapters about the Bank’s role in climate and energy finance. Rich describes this as “arguably the most critical and intractable development issue facing the Bank and the world at large as global warming accelerates”.

Foreclosing the Future: The World Bank and the Politics of Environmental Destruction builds on Rich’s 1994 book, Mortgaging the Earth. Unfortunately, in the intervening years, the Bank has learned few lessons and continues to finance socially and environmentally destructive projects. The Bank’s role on climate change has been to cook up carbon trading schemes which not only fail to address climate change, they actually make matters worse.

This post looks at Rich’s chapters: “The Carbon Caravan” and “A Market Like No Other”. A forthcoming post will focus on Rich’s analysis of the World Bank’s role in REDD.

The World Bank didn’t produce a climate strategy until 2008 – 16 years after the Rio Summit and the negotiation of the UNFCCC. Perhaps surprisingly the climate strategy did not recommend a stop to funding climate damaging projects. Instead, Bank management decided that, Continue reading

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Coal, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, World Bank

Forest Stewardship Council certification does not guarantee reduced forest carbon emissions

By Chris Lang, February 19, 2014. Source: REDD Monitor

fscA recent study in East Kalimantan revealed no difference in carbon emissions between Forest Stewardship Council certified logging operations and conventional logging concessions.

This has potentially huge implications for REDD. “Sustainable management of forest” is one of the “plus” parts of REDD as agreed in December 2010 in Cancun. “Sustainable management of forest” could mean subsidies to industrial-scale commercial logging operations in old-growth forests.

The findings of the recent study also have serious implications for the Forestry Stewardship Council which is expanding its certification system to include forest carbon.

The Forest Stewardship Council was formed in 1993, with the aim of promoting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management. It does so through a certification system. An FSC accredited “certifying body” assesses whether the company’s forestry concession complies with a series of FSC principles and criteria. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

REDD myth no.1: Deforestation accounts for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions

Note: Yes, deforestation needs to be addresssed–and NOT through the development of massive-scale industrial monoculture tree plantations, but by addressing deforestation at its very source–namely agro-industrial expansion, especially of GMO crops, livestock production and overconsumption of paper and timber products.

As far as climate change is concerned, the tunnel vision of the UN, World Bank and other bodies on deforestation as a driver of climate change has been a deliberate misdirection to keep the focus away from where it needs to be–reducing fossil fuel consumption, and preventing its replacement with plant-based fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, which also put out huge emissions.

-The GJEP Team

By Chris Lang, February 15, 2014. Source: REDD-Monitor

Photo: Arnoldo Garcia

Photo: Arnoldo Garcia

Myth: “Deforestation accounts for 25 percent of all man-made emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.”

That statement comes from a 2005 press release from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. A year later, FAO had decided that the figure was too low:

in fact between 25 and 30 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year … is caused by deforestation.

In its 2007 report, the IPCC estimated that deforestation accounted for 17% of emissions.

Two years later, in a paper published in Nature Geoscience, Guido van der Werf and colleagues, argued that the figure was actually closer to 12%. While estimates of the rate of deforestation globally are fairly steady, emissions from burning fossil fuels are increasing rapidly. As such, the percentage of emissions from deforestation is falling. Continue reading

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What is climate geoengineering? Word games in the ongoing debates over a definition

By Rachel Smolker, February 12, 2014. Source: TruthOut

(Photo: Kai Morgener / Flickr)

(Photo: Kai Morgener / Flickr)

Climate geoengineering advocates have long argued over how to actually define the term “geoengineering.” The precise details of that definition are important for various reasons, not the least of which is that it will determine what likely is to be subjected to the scrutiny and potentially complex and difficult legal governance processes that such a global scale climate-tweak effort would necessarily involve.

Already, as of 2010, the Convention on Biological Diversity, a treaty that 193 UN member countries (all other than the Holy See, Andorra and the United States) have ratified, adopted a de-facto moratorium on climate geoengineering in 2010. That was based in part on previous deliberations and decisions on one particular form of geoengineering, ocean iron fertilization, which also is regulated under the London Convention. Those decisions were negotiated and agreed in painstaking process, with each word and its implications carefully weighed in the balance.1 Obviously, there is much need to specify exactly what is geoengineering and, thus, subject to the moratorium or any other legal ruling.

For most people, it seems intuitively clear that, for example, spewing sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere – a technology in the category of “solar radiation management” (SRM) clearly would be considered “geoengineering.” We would not consider doing that for any other reason or intent – there are known anticipated serious risks and dangers, etc. Continue reading

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Geoengineering, Green Economy, Oceans, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Report: Fossil fuel carbon not equivalent to carbon stored in trees

By Chris Lang, January 31, 2014. Source: REDD-Monitor

evergreen-forest-646x433“It is a mistake to think that emissions from fossil fuels can be negated by increasing or protecting the storage potential of forests and other land based carbon.”

So says a new report from Brussels-based NGO FERN. The report exposes the myth that fossil fuel emissions can be offset by planting trees or preserving forests. Titled, “Misleading Numbers: The Case for Separating Land and Fossil Based Carbon Emissions”, the report can be downloaded here.

The report summarises the difference between greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and those from land use change:

Land use change, through both natural causes and human impact, accounted for approximately 12 per cent of annual global CO2 emissions over the past decade. However, there are fundamental differences between ‘terrestrial’ and ‘fossil’ carbon pools and their impact on the climate. Emissions from fossil carbon are irreversible for all practical purposes as it will be millennia before fossil carbon released by human activity is removed from the terrestrial carbon cycle. Land-based carbon stocks such as forests, on the other hand, are highly reversible: their carbon is held for years or centuries at the most, and is easily returned to the atmosphere. In addition, while immense volumes of fossil carbon are held in the earth, there is a natural limit to the amount that can be held at any one time by terrestrial ecosystems. Continue reading

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Kenya: Preparing for REDD in the Embobut Forest and forcing Sengwer People “into extinction”

January 31, 2014. Source: No REDD in Africa Network

Forest guards arrive in Kenya's Embobut Forest in preparation for the evictions.  Photo: Forest Peoples Programme

Forest guards arrive in Kenya’s Embobut Forest in preparation for the evictions. Photo: Forest Peoples Programme

Last year the Government of Kenya was getting “ready” for REDD in the Embobut Forest, now it is violently evicting the Sengwer People and forcing them “into extinction.” According to Survival International, “as many as a thousand homes have already been torched.”[i]

Sengwer spokesman Yator Kiptum denounced the “disaster” caused by combined force of the Kenya Forest Service and Administration Police, a paramilitary unit of the police, which is now evicting the Sengwer not just from the Embobut Forest but from the entirety of the Cherangany Hills, destroying property and burning homes. “The government of Kenya is forcing us into extinction,” he said.[ii]

Sengwer houses being burnt by Kenya Forest Service guards on January 16, 2014. Source: Forest Peoples Programme

Sengwer houses being burnt by Kenya Forest Service guards on January 16, 2014. Source: Forest Peoples Programme

The extension of the evictions to all other areas in the Cherangany Hills forest complex to include Kapolet and Lelan/Kamolokon “means the removal of the entire population of Sengwer indigenous people living in the Cherangany Hills from their ancestral lands.”[iii] Some13,500 Sengwer live in the Cherangany Hills in Kenya’s Northern Rift Valley, and are one of the few hunter-gatherer groups left in eastern Africa.[iv]

According to Forest Peoples Programme, the Sengwer are not squatters. “The Sengwer have their rights to their ancestral forest lands enshrined in the Constitution and international law.” [v] The Sengwer obtained court orders to prevent further evictions to no avail. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, World Bank

Biodiversity offsetting in action: Bulldoze the UK’s ancient woodlands? No problem, just plant some trees

By Chris Lang, January 11, 2014. Source: REDD-Monitor

UK Environment Secretary Owen Patterson. Photo: Express

UK Environment Secretary Owen Patterson. Photo: Express

The Right Honourable Owen Paterson MP is the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Commenting on his appointment in 2012, George Monbiot described it as “a declaration of war on the environment”.

Even judged by the standards of the UK’s Conservative Party, Paterson’s politcs are grim. He’s opposed to wind farms but in favour of fracking. He’s in favour of culling badgers and in favour of fox hunting. He’s in favour of GM food. He’s opposed to gay marriage.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) faces cuts, leaving it ill equipped to deal with the recent floods in the south of England. A Defra report points out that rising flood risk is likely to be one of the biggest impacts of climate change in the UK. But Paterson doesn’t see climate change as much of a threat. In response to the latest IPCC report he said,

“People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries.

“I think the relief of this latest report is that it shows a really quite modest increase, half of which has already happened. They are talking one to two and a half degrees.” Continue reading

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Statement from IEN on the Outcomes of the Bali WTO Meeting for Indigenous Peoples

Statement by Tom B.K. Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network On the Outcome of the World Trade Organization 9th Ministerial Conference that ended Saturday, December 07, 2013

Turtle Island, December 09, 2013 - Even though the WTO and its 159 member countries resurrected itself in its first multilateral trade pact in the WTO’s history, I feel it was a desperate fight by rich developed countries such as the United States to revive an economic and trading system that is all about capitalism.

The WTO is all about free trade for the corporations that are destroying our Mother Earth.

The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) historically participated in WTO conferences, mostly in outside strategies rather than inside strategies. IEN took part in the “Battle in Seattle” at the 3rd Ministerial conference in Seattle, Washington in December 1999 and in Cancun, in the 5th Ministerial conference in September 2003.

At the Seattle WTO 14 years ago, IEN and Indigenous groups came together, (to name a few), such as the Seventh Generation Fund, Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, Eyak Alaska Preservation Council, Interior Alliance of First Nations in Canada and internationally, Tebtebba of the Philippines and Movimiento de la Juventad Kuna of Panama to analyze and articulate our position on the WTO. The Indigenous Peoples’ Seattle Declaration was the outcome document of 1999. The Indigenous Statement from the WTO 5th Ministerial Conference in Cancún, Mexico, in September 2003 was not any different in its listing of all the negative effects of the WTO neoliberal trade agreements on Indigenous peoples.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, REDD, WTO