Note: Watch the video here
-The GJEP Team
By Kate Hodal, May 13, 2013. Source: The Guardian
Two Vietnamese firms bankrolled by Deutsche Bank and the International Finance Corporation – the World Bank’s private lending arm – are leading a wave of land grabs in Cambodia and Laos, causing widespread evictions, illegal logging and food insecurity, according to a report.
The study, concluding a year-long investigation by the watchdog Global Witness, names two of Vietnam’s biggest companies, the privately owned Huang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and state-owned Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), as the businesses behind the land grabs. It claims they are working with the explicit support of the Cambodian and Laotian governments, who have authorised the land developments.
“We’ve known for some time that corrupt politicians in Cambodia and Laos are orchestrating the land-grabbing crisis that is doing so much damage in the region,” said Megan MacInnes, head of Global Witness’s land team, in a statement. “This report completes the picture by exposing the pivotal role of Vietnam’s rubber barons and their financiers, Deutsche Bank and the IFC.”
Global Witness researched land deals between the two governments and the firms, and found that HAGL and VRG had together been handed more than 200,000 hectares (nearly 500,000 acres) of land, including protected forest with rosewood, in which to grow rubber.
By Chris Lang, May 14, 2013. Source: redd-monitor
WWF loves “sustainability”. With “sustainability”, there’s no need to address over-consumption, or the never-ending growth of capitalist expansion. Consumption can increase, as long as it’s “sustainable”.
Palm oil plantations destroying vast areas of rainforest? No problem. Here comes “sustainable” palm oil. In 2001, WWF started discussions with palm oil companies and industry bodies. Three years later the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was formed.
Today there are more than 500 members of the RSPO, including palm oil producers, processors, traders, retailers, banks and a few NGOs. But buying palm oil from RSPO members does not mean that the palm oil complies to RSPO’s standards. For that you need to buy RSPO-certified palm oil – from companies that have been assessed by an RSPO-approved certification body. But RSPO certification does not mean that companies have stopped clearing forests. TFT’s Scott Poynton pointed this out recently to Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Markets, World Wildlife Fund US:
Deforestation of secondary yet still important forests is perfectly acceptable and is happily done by companies celebrated under the RSPO standard which only obliges protection of primary and HCVF [high conservation value forest] areas. Likewise, the RSPO standard doesn’t preclude the clearance of peatlands.
May 8, 2013. Source: Indigenous Environmental Network
Indigenous Peoples and allies from Chiapas and the Amazon protest California REDD in Sacramento in front of the capital building, after a California Air Resources Board hearing where they testified on the adverse impacts that the possible inclusion of REDD was already having on communities. October 18, 2012. Photo: Jeff Conant/Friends of the Earth-US
From Africa to the Amazon, from Chiapas to Siberia, global civil society is raising an international outcry to resoundingly reject California’s proposed forest offset scam called REDD, which would let climate criminals like Chevron and Shell off the hook, cause human rights abuses and worsen global warming. May 7, 2013, was the last day for public comments on the draft California REDD Offset Working Group recommendations regarding linking California’s cap-and-trade program with a program to supposedly reduce deforestation in Chiapas and Acre, Brazil.
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, is posed to include REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), a false solution to climate change, whereby California polluters could use the forests of Chiapas, Mexico and the Brazilian Amazon as sponges for their pollution instead of reducing greenhouse emissions at home. California REDD is considered a model for the world and if launched will probably be replicated both nationally and internationally.
“The global movement against REDD has been born!” cried Susannah, a delighted volunteer with the No REDD Group Initiative as she tallied letters from all over the world to California Governor Jerry Brown and the California Air Resources Board demanding that REDD be immediately stopped in its tracks. “The world is uniting against California REDD because it may unlock an avalanche of REDD-type projects around the world.” Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has been tracking the California-Acre-Chiapas REDD deal since it was unveiled at the UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico in 2010. In 2011, GJEP’s Co-Director/Strategist Orin Langelle and Communications Director Jeff Conant travelled to Chiapas, Mexico to the Village of Amador Hernandez, an Indigenous village in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas threatened with relocation due to the REDD project. Langelle took hundreds of photos in the community and the region which were assembled into a poignant photo essay. And GJEP’s work in Chiapas broke the story of and documented the emerging impacts of REDD. In 2012, GJEP released a short documentary from the trip, A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests, highlighting the California REDD deal.
-The GJEP Team
May 7, 2013. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project
We appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on the REDD Offsets Working Group “Recommendations to Conserve Tropical Rainforests, Protect Local Communities and Reduce State-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions” for the state of California. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, and the goals of reducing emissions from deforestation of remaining tropical rainforests are important and admirable efforts. However, in order to achieve the goals of AB32 and reducing deforestation we believe that allowing jurisdictional REDD offset credits to meet California’s emissions reduction targets will not be effective. REDD credits threaten to diminish the results of AB32 in California and the efforts of partner jurisdictions, including Chiapas and Acre, to protect their forests. Using subnational REDD initiatives, financed through offsets, to meet the targets of AB32 will be inefficient, ineffective, and create unintended consequences. Continue reading
Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Chris Lang, May 6, 2013. Source: redd-monitor
A new report by Carbon Trade Watch takes a detailed and critical look at REDD from the perspective of land enclosures. “REDD+ will not stop deforestation,” the report argues. Rather than addressing the root causes of deforestation, REDD promotes the argument that environmental destruction in one location can be ‘compensated’ in another. As such, REDD reinforces underlying causes of deforestation.
The report, titled “Protecting carbon to destroy forests: Land enclosures and REDD+”, can be downloaded here (pdf file, 1.3 MB). The report is edited by Transnational Institute, FDCL and FIAN.
The report points out that rather than putting pressure on corporations to clean up their acts or support local struggles, REDD,
gives forest destroyers a way to legitimize their actions as environmentally ‘friendly’ or ‘carbon neutral’. Far from positioning itself as an ally to the many local groups that have preserved forested lands most strongly, REDD+ tends to silence debates about the unjust realities surrounding corporate pressures on land tenure regimes.
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is excited to be working with Katuah Earth First!, Croatan Earth First! and other partners to show the GE tree industry a great time in Asheville. Click here for more info. We hope you’ll join us at the end of May!
-The GJEP Team
By Tricocca/Katuah Earth First!, May 2, 2013. Source: Earth First! Newswire
Photo: Anne Petermann/GJEP
There is still a month to go before activists hit the streets of Asheville, NC to protest the 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference, but the industry is already showing signs of retreat. Apparently fearing that protestors will follow them wherever they go, the conference organizers recently cancelled a group trip to a test plot of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While the counties in which these test plots are planted are publicly known, the exact location of these mutant trees is a closely guarded secret. It seems they don’t want a mob of Earth First!ers to find out where they are!
The 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference is an international gathering of scientists, forestry corporations and university researchers with a major focus on genetically engineered tree production. GE trees pose an unprecedented threat to native forests. Timber and utility corporations want to plant millions of acres genetically engineered trees throughout the South to burn for electricity, as well as to continue supplying the unsustainable lumber and paper industries. These trees would be engineered to produce their own pesticides, grow straighter and faster, tolerate manufactured pesticides, produce sterile seeds, and reduce lignin content (this is what makes the wood in a tree strong enough to stand up). If these traits escaped into native tree populations, the effects would be devastating and irreversible.
In another setback for the GE tree industry, the USDA just announced the results of their public comment period on the proposed approval of commercial plantings of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While over 30,000 people spoke out against the commercial planting of these Frankentrees, an underwhelming, four, yeah that’s right four, people spoke out in favor of planting GE trees. Though this public comment period shows that there is next to no support for GE trees, it is no time to let our guard down considering that government agencies regularly ignore the public opinion.
Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.
-The GJEP Team
Jeff Conant, International Forests Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, discusses the dangers of including REDD forest offsets in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Pollution, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Energy, Carbon Trading, False Solutions to Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Chiapas, Land Grabs, Green Economy, Commodification of Life, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Forests
Forest Peoples Programme on REDD and safeguards
Forest Peoples Programme’s April 2013 E-Newsletter
focuses on safeguards. The E-Newsletter starts by looking at why safeguards matter. Other articles explain and comment on the World Bank’s safeguards review, forest policy and oil palm policy, the failure of safeguards in the Camisea gas project in Peru and examples from the Congo Basin and Cameroon.
An article by Francesco Martone and Tom Griffiths gives a critical overview of safeguards in REDD. The article looks at how the safeguards included in the 2010 decision on REDD at the UNFCCC COP16 meeting in Cancun have been adapted and watered down in key REDD programmes:
While on paper the translation of the UNFCCC political mandate on safeguards seems to have led to some significant achievements in terms of recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, when it comes to operationalisation and implementation the picture is so far less encouraging.
Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration
By Chris Lang, 30th April 2013. Source: REDD-Monitor
Organisations based in Chiapas, Mexico have written to California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, to oppose the inclusion of REDD in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).
Young girls in Amador Hernández Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC
In March 2011, Global Justice Ecology Project travelled to Chiapas and documented the problems that REDD and other conservation projects were causing for communities in the Lacandón jungle. Jeff Conant, who was then Communications Director for GJEP, wrote a series of articles based on the visit. The articles are collected on GJEP’s blog, Climate Connections. And Orin Langelle, GJEP’s Board Chair, produced a photo essay about the visit to Chiapas.
GJEP also produced a video about REDD: “A Darker Shade of Green”, which includes interviews with communities in Chiapas (the part about Chiapas starts at 10:45). One of the villagers describes REDD from his perspective:
“They see our Mother Earth as a business, and for us you should never see it like that, it’s our Mother, she can’t be sold. Now they’re developing this REDD Project that’s about carbon capture, it doesn’t serve us. We struggle simply to feed ourselves.”
In December 2012, an article was published in Truthout about the impact of REDD on communities in Chiapas. The title is very appropriate: “Colonialism and the Green Economy: The Hidden Side of Carbon Offsets”. The impacts of carbon offsets on the communities in Chiapas, it seems, remain largely hidden from view in California.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Pollution, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Carbon Trading, False Solutions to Climate Change, Chiapas, Land Grabs, Green Economy, Commons, Commodification of Life, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, BREAKING NEWS, Forests
April 30, 2013. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project
By a majority of almost 99.99% to .01%, the US public overwhelming rejected steps toward the legalization of genetically engineered trees during the USDA APHIS public comment period that ended yesterday. The comments were in response to a petition by genetically engineered (GE) tree company ArborGen requesting permission to commercially sell their GE freeze tolerant eucalyptus trees. Calls for a ban on the technology flooded the APHIS office, through individual online comments, petitions and online virtual meetings.
“Yesterday, during APHIS’s ‘Invasive Species Month,’ the people of the US issued a firm demand to APHIS to reject invasive, flammable genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees,”said Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director and Coordinator of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered (GE) Trees. “We will continue to hold the government accountable to the will of the people, rather than corporate interests.”
South Carolina-based ArborGen hopes to sell billions of GE cold-tolerant eucalyptus trees for planting across millions of acres in the US South in vast industrial plantations to supply biofuel, biomass electricity and paper production.
Dr. Rachel Smolker, Co-Director of Biofuelwatch stated, “ArborGen’s reckless vision of using the US South as a giant sacrifice zone for energy production would wreak havoc on rural communities, native forests and wildlife across the region, pushing already endangered species like the Louisiana Black Bear and the Red-cockaded Woodpecker over the edge.” Dr. Smolker added, “and despite the rhetoric about replacing fossil fuels with climate-friendly fuels, this wood-based energy will actually worsen climate change.”