Note: The proposed development of vast plantations of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees across the US South for biomass energy production poses another major threat to Southern forests and biodiversity. To sign our petition to the USDA demanding a ban on the release of GE eucalyptus trees, click here.
Charlottesville, VA, 5 December – A study released today by three major Southern universities, commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation and Southern Environmental Law Center, concludes that wildlife habitat and biodiversity in the Southeast are at risk due to rapidly expanding biomass energy development. The Southeast is now the world’s largest exporter of wood pellets for biomass energy, with exports from Southern ports increasing by 70% last year alone. The projected huge surge in European demand for Southeast trees for power generation is expected to have significant negative impacts on wildlife.
The report, Forestry Bioenergy in the Southeast United States: Implications for Wildlife Habitat and Biodiversity”, can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/1iCZ2p8
For the study, researchers from University of Georgia, University of Florida, and Virginia Tech analyzed land cover and determined areas of highest risk of harvesting around six facilities located in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, with sourcing areas stretching into Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. One of the case studies focused on a facility owned by Enviva LP, one of the major wood pellet exporters in the region that is sourcing pellets from whole trees logged from wildlife-rich wetland forests in North Carolina and Virginia.
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition.
Simone Lovera is co-founder and executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations. In this guest post, she describes the REDD deal that came out of COP19 in Warsaw as “the weakest text any international forest-related body has ever adopted”.
Following the June 2013 negotiations in Bonn, GFC described the emerging REDD package as the “whatever approach”. What came out of Warsaw is no improvement. “All the REDD decisions adopted are pathetically vague and non-sensical from a legal point of view,” Lovera writes.
Lovera points out that drivers of deforestation are not addressed in the REDD deal. No finance was agreed for REDD in Warsaw, and unlike existing forest policies, “REDD+ is 100% dependent on financial support”. Governments will be allowed to produce summaries of information on safeguards. The decision on reference levels is “weak”. Lovera writes that, “such texts are an insult to international law”
-Chris Lang, REDD Monitor, December 3, 2013
By Simone Lovera, December 3, 2013. Source: REDD Monitor
On 12 November 2013, the Global Forest Coalition made the following intervention during the negotiations in Warsaw on methodologies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+):
“The Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide coalition of 54 NGOs and Indigenous peoples’ organizations promoting rights-based forest policies shares the concerns of our NGO and IPO colleagues about the extremely weak draft decisions that have been developed in the areas of drivers of forest loss and safeguards. We particularly wonder what we are doing here if this body, and the REDD+ mechanism it is designing, is not capable of addressing the real drivers of forest loss, most of which are linked to international commodity trade. Frankly, if REDD+ is not about addressing the real drivers of forest loss, we don’t think it is a mechanism that should be supported. So we strongly urge governments to focus on developing more effective non-market based approaches to address the international drivers of forest loss, and if they feel they cannot do that within the framework of the REDD mechanism, we urge them to do so within other Frameworks for Various approaches.”
Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, REDD, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19
3 December, 2013–On the opening day of the World Trade Organization’s ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia, Global Justice Ecology Project stands together with organizations around the world to denounce neoliberal free trade policies through the release of Part I of our new report The Green Shock Doctrine.
Police at the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Ministerial in Miami in 2003 prepare to fire rubber bullets at protesters. Photo: Langelle/ PhotoLangelle.org
Ten years ago there were crucial battles against corporate globalization and free trade in both Cancun, Mexico and Miami, Florida. At the WTO ministerial in Cancun in September, South Korean farmer Lee Kyung Hae took his own life to protest unfair agricultural policies and the theme of the huge protests there became “The WTO Kills Farmers.” Two months later, the ministerial meeting of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) failed amidst opposition by developing countries over its draconian trade liberalization policies. Meanwhile, outside 20,000 protesters and unionists marched in the streets where they were brutally attacked by police.
Today, there is a crucial and obvious need for a powerful global movement to tackle the climate crisis. But it is Capitalism and the markets that have led us to the brink of this abyss. We need to mobilize and strengthen the global movement to tackle the root social and economic causes of the climate crisis–the same roots we were fighting in 2003 and even 20 years ago in 1993, when the Zapatistas were preparing to rise up against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which became the model for many unfair trade deals that followed.
Global Justice Ecology Project is publishing The Green Shock Doctrine to examine these deeper issues behind the climate crisis and their links to many of the other crises we are facing. In doing so, we hope to help advance the effort to transform the global system driving climate catastrophe. Part I is available now and Parts II through IV will be published subsequently.
Part I explains how global elites are using global ecological and social crises to create a whole new system of economics based on financial speculation and trade in so-called “environmental services” in order to maintain business as usual beyond all natural limits. Download Part I here.
Part II delves into “Public Private Partnerships” and what these mean for peoples and ecosystems globally.
Part III challenges “sustainable energy” and details all of the dirty and unjust forms of energy being promoted as “sustainable” as well as the devastating impacts they are having.
Part IV titled “Building the global movement to stop climate change” discusses the wide array of organizing being done around the globe to tackle the intertwined ecological and social causes of the climate crisis.
Filed under Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, WTO
By Chris Lang, 29th November 2013 Source: REDD-Monitor
Negotiators at COP19 in Warsaw last week agreed seven decisions relating to REDD – the “Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus”. You can find each of the decision texts, as they came out of COP19 in Warsaw here.
This post looks at the decision on REDD finance, or, to give it its full title, the Work programme on results-based finance to progress the full implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70 (pdf file, 75 KB).
Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, REDD, Warsaw/COP-19
Note: Members of Global Justice Ecology Project and Everglades Earth First! maintain that UF officials cancelled a presentation on the risks of genetically engineered trees to protect their government and corporate relationships with the Department of Energy and GE tree company ArborGen.
Click here to sign the petition calling on the USDA to say NO WAY to ArborGen’s request to sell highly flammable, invasive, GE cold-tolerant eucalyptus by the millions for plantations from South Carolina to Texas.
-The GJEP Team
By Maureen Nandini Mitra, December 2, 2013. Source: Earth Island Journal
A few months ago, while reporting an article about genetically engineered trees for Earth Island Journal’s Autumn issue (read the story here), I had a mighty hard time locating plant biologists or genetic engineers at academic institutions who were willing to talk about the possible risks of growing GE trees in massive plantations. It seemed there was little debate over this controversial issue within the biotech community on college campuses — the very places where most of the research into GE trees is carried out.
Photo: Steve McFarland
So it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when I heard that a group of environmental activists who were scheduled to make a presentation on GE trees at the University of Florida in Gainesville last month were booted off the campus, charged with trespassing, and banned from the university grounds for three years. What did come as a bit of a surprise was news that the FBI, too, was keeping tabs on the activists.
Lubicon Lake Nation Tells Penn West Petroleum to Frack Off!:
Peaceful Occupation of Penn West Petroleum Site Begins Little Buffalo, Alberta
November 26, 2013–The Lubicon Lake Nation people have been driven to enforce their Law against PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD. (TSX: PWT); (NYSE: PWE) today on an oil lease site located in their Territory by peacefully occupying a nearby access road. The oil and gas giant.
Penn West has indicated they intend to drill and use hydraulic fracturing at the location. The site is at the headwaters of a nearby lake, bordered by the traditional Lubicon community of Kinosew Sakahikan referred to provincially as Haig Lake.
Long-time Chief Bernard Ominayak said this evening: We have never signed treaty, ceded our land, nor sold it to anybody. It’s high time that all resource companies operating on Lubicon Lake Nation lands, including Penn West, as well as the Provincial and Canadian governments respect that and stop destroying Lubicon land and stealing Lubicon resources.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Hydrofracking, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs
November 26, 2013
Mr. Joe Goffman Senior Counsel, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Mail Code: 6101A Washington, DC 20460
Dear Mr. Goffman:
We, the undersigned scientists, believe regulations governing how stationary sources account for biogenic carbon emissions must be based on sound science and ensure adequate protections for forests and the climate. We applaud the EPA for setting a high standard in making policy on this important issue by seeking expert scientific input from the Science Advisory Board (SAB). We now urge the agency to follow through on that process and embrace the central scientific principles underscored by the SAB as you finalize these accounting rules. Doing otherwise at this juncture will fail the test of rigorous, science- based policymaking and could result in regulations that distort the marketplace towards greater use of unsustainable sources of biomass, with significant risks to our climate, forests and the valuable ecosystem services they provide and we rely on.
In 2011, EPA initiated a science-driven process to develop a methodology for properly quantifying biogenic carbon emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act. As part of this process, the agency rightly solicited scientific input by submitting a draft “Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources” to the SAB for review by an assembled Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel. As now EPA finalizes its biogenic carbon accounting rules, it must follow through on that process and adopt the science panel’s key recommendations: 1) moving beyond the flawed assumption that bioenergy is inherently carbon neutral; 2) rejecting the regional accounting method originally proposed in the draft Accounting Framework; and 3) ensuring a scientifically-sound methodology for determining the carbon emissions impact to the atmosphere from burning long-recovery biomass feedstocks—most notably, whole trees.
Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Illegal logging, Land Grabs, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Last week’s Earth Minute discussed COP-19, the UN Climate Talks in Warsaw Poland. Simone Lovera, Executive Director of Global Forest Coalition described the situation on the ground.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, KPFK, Politics, Pollution, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19
21 November, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth
WASHINGTON, D.C./JAKARTA – Illegal and destructive production of palm oil in Indonesia is continuing, with a chain of culpability that spreads worldwide, from Southeast Asian rain forests to supermarket shelves and Wall Street board rooms, reveals a new report released today by Friends of the Earth1, Forest Heroes and SumOfUs.
In recent years, consumers have been shocked to learn that many household food brands use palm oil from sources engaged in widespread destruction of tropical forests. The new report, Commodity Crimes: Illicit Land Grabs, Illegal Palm Oil and Endangered Orangutans shows how this forest destruction not only harms forest peoples, endangered species and the Earth’s climate, but is often illegal. The report names the major U.S. and European banks that are financing these unlawful land grabs and the investors who are profiting.
Commodity Crimes: Illicit Land Grabs, Illegal Palm Oil and Endangered Orangutans documents how one Indonesian company, Bumitama Agri Ltd, engaged in systematic forest destruction in and around forest reserves and in 2012 sold itself in a public offering that admitted to including illegally cleared tracts of forest. The financial maneuvers of Bumitama Agri – a leading supplier to the global market, including to Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader – also raise questions about compliance with Indonesia’s tax laws and law against money laundering. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Silvia Giannelli, 15 November, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Indonesia’s Sesaot where a village committee has ably managed a forest reserve extending 3,600 hectares for over 50 years. Photo: Amantha Perera/IPS
JAKARTA – Indonesia’s rainforests are facing “legal land grabs”, allege NGOs. Its ancient communities are finding that their ancestral lands are slipping into the hands of foreign companies for oil palm cultivation, as demand for the product grows in Europe, India and China.
“There are 33,000 villages in Indonesia’s forest zone, and many thousand more in areas marked for agriculture,” said Marcus Colchester, senior policy advisor at Forest Peoples Programme, an international NGO.
“The government allocates these areas to companies without even consulting the communities. So concessions have been handed out over lands where these communities have lived for hundreds or even thousands of years,” he told IPS.
Last Friday, Colchester flew to Medan to present the findings of his research, carried out in conjunction with two local organisations, on the impact oil palm cultivation has on the lives of Indonesian communities. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests