Category Archives: REDD

Another take on the UN Climate Summit Declaration on Forests

There’s been much in the news about the Declaration of Forests out of the UN Climate Summit. In this essay, Chris Lang of the REDD Monitor echoes criticisms made by GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann about the lack of anything binding in the declaration. Lang adds to this criticism an interesting account of its process and further close reading of the declaration itself. Really useful and important work!

The New York Declaration on Forests: An agreement to continue deforestation until 2030
By Chris Lang, REDD-Monitor.org. September 26, 2014

By signing the New York Declaration on Forests, which was announced this week during the UN Climate Summit, governments, companies, civil society and indigenous organisations have endorsed “a global timeline to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020, and [will] strive to end it by 2030″.

The declaration has been fêted in the media. The Independent asks “Is this the end of the ‘war on trees’?”, Treehugger describes it as an “Ambitious plan to end forest loss”, and the Guardian announces that “UN climate summit pledges to halt the loss of natural forests by 2030″.

Read the whole article here!

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Filed under Climate Change, Forests, REDD

Confronting Climate Catastrophe: Direct Action is the Antidote for Despair

Or, Why the UN is Worse than Useless and we need to Flood Wall Street!

Climate Convergence Plenary Address, Friday, 19 September 2014

Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer.  Photo: Photolangelle.org

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer. Photo: Photolangelle.org

Good evening everyone and thank you to Jill, Margaret and the other convergence organizers for the opportunity to speak to you tonight.

In four days time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will hold a UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conferences (or COPs as they are called) in Lima, Peru and Paris, France.

I was asked to put into context the reason for the march and actions this weekend–especially the problem of the corporate capture of the United Nations Climate Convention, which I have attended and organized around since 2004, when I attended my first UN Climate COP, in Buenos Aires, until 2011 when I was permanently banned from the UN Climate Conferences following a direct action occupation at the Climate COP in Durban, South Africa.

But I actually got involved with the UN Climate Conferences through the work I have dedicated myself to, which is stopping the dangerous genetic engineering of trees.

What happened was in 2003, the UN Climate Conference decided that GE trees could be used in carbon offset forestry plantations. Understanding that this was a potential social and ecological disaster, and being completely naïve about the UN process, we decided to go to the UN and explain to them why this was wrong, and to get them to reverse this bad decision.

But what we found out was that GE trees had been permitted in carbon offset forestry plantations because Norway had tried to get them banned. But Brazil and China were either already growing GE trees or planning to, so they blocked Norway’s proposal. As a result, GE trees were allowed simply because they could not be banned. The UN, we learned, does not reverse decisions, regardless of how ill-informed and destructive they are.

This is the dysfunction of the UN Climate Convention.

But let’s go back a minute to see how we got where we are now.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC, World Bank, WTO

Because the land is ours – The rights of Mother Earth vs. carbon trading

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell. September 25, 2013. Source: Sustainablog

Part 29 of the Harvesting Justice series.

The hip-hop group Kunarevolution celebrate the Kuna Yala nation’s recent rejection of carbon trading. Photo: Beverly Bell.

The hip-hop group Kunarevolution celebrate the Kuna Yala nation’s recent rejection of carbon trading. Photo: Beverly Bell.

Inatoy Sidsagi and his cousin Esteban Herrera, from the indigenous Kuna Yala (also known as Guna Yala) nation in Panama, make up the indigenous rap group Kunarevolution. They rap about Mother Earth and the Kuna’s inalienable right to protect her lands and waters.

The Kuna Yala people recently prevailed over a threat to their lands, in the form of carbon tradingREDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global program promoted by the U.N., industrialized nations, and international financial institutions like the World Bank. REDD allows countries and corporations to buy “clean-air” credits from countries with undeveloped forests. In exchange, governments, indigenous nations, and other groups agree to preserve areas of their forests, with the rationale that the trees’ absorption of carbon, the element that causes global warming, will counteract damage done by industrial polluters. (Editor’s note: we published a post promoting REDD projects last year)

In October 2011, the US-based Wildlife Works Carbon presented a REDD proposal to the Kuna Yala. The fifty-one communities spent a year and a half in consultation. In June 2013, the Kuna Yala general congress voted to reject the corporate proposal. They declared, further, their complete withdrawal “from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD issue” and a prohibition on “organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue.”

We interviewed the hip-hop artist Inatoy Sidsagi from a liberated territory of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras, in a building plastered with stickers reading, “REDD: No capitalism in our forests.” Inatoy told us, “The rejection of REDD is for the patrimony. Having accepted it would have complicated life for future generations. Why? Because the land is ours. We are bound and obliged to leave it for perpetual use. REDD would have been a betrayal for the long-term, with many consequences – cultural ones, but even more, our possibility to be a people, to be a nation. It would have been the end of us as a people.”
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Filed under Carbon Trading, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, UNFCCC

BREAKING: Chiapas cancels ‘disastrous’ forest carbon offset plan linked with Calif. cap-and-trade

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project broke the story about the California-Chiapas-Acre REDD Deal and the impacts it would have on the Indigenous populations of the Lacandon jungle in Chiapas, Mexico following a trip taken by then-GJEP Media Coordinator Jeff Conant (quoted below) and GJEP Board Chair and co-founder Orin Langelle to the Indigenous village Amador Hernandez, deep in the heart of the Lacandon jungle in March of 2011.

GJEP, along with Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network and others have continued to monitor the situation in Chiapas, as well as to actively oppose the inclusion of REDD in the California cap-and-trade program, and to fight against REDD at the UN climate conferences.  While it is surely great news that Chiapas has decided to suspend the disastrous REDD program, we know that the fight is far from over.

To view the photo essay from GJEP’s 2011 trip to Chiapas, click here.  To view the 28 minute film we produced on the topic, click here.

-The GJEP Team

July 18, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth-U.S.

Image: IEN

Image: IEN

The state government of Chiapas has cancelled a controversial forest protection plan that critics said failed to address the root causes of deforestation and could endanger the lives and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The program is linked to California’s cap-and-trade program through a complex “carbon offset” scheme that has yet to see the light of day.

Carlos Morales Vázquez, the Mexican state’s secretary of the environment, on July 8 told the Chiapas daily El Heraldo that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program “was an utter failure, and the program is cancelled.”

What the suspension of the program means for California’s agreement with Chiapas remains to be seen. The program, instituted in 2011 after Chiapas signed an agreement with California as part of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, has been widely criticized by civil society groups for its lack of clear objectives, absence of baseline measures of deforestation, and failure to engage indigenous people’s organizations or take into account historic tension over land rights that plague the region.
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Filed under Chiapas, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

Obama’s green agenda seen through Vermont eyes

Note: Will Bennington, featured in the article below, is Development and Campaigns Associate with Global Justice Ecology Project’s Vermont office.  He is also a volunteer organizer with Rising Tide Vermont.  Bennington has not listened to Obama’s speech, and doesn’t plan to.  Instead, along with GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann, he went straight to the actual policy document.  Apparently, other environmentalists in Vermont would prefer to chew on the rhetoric instead of digesting the facts, which are more coal, more nukes, more fracking, more industrial biofuels and more false solutions taking us over the climate cliff.

-The GJEP Team

By Joel Baird, June 25, 2013. Source: Burlington Free Press

Energy efficiency isn’t a bold, new idea in Vermont. Nor is the quest for renewable energy and cleaner air.

But Green Mountain environmental activists took keen notice of President Obama’s unveiling Tuesday afternoon of a new, national climate action plan.

Within minutes of the speech’s conclusion, author Bill McKibben, a Ripton resident and founder of the global 350.org movement, issued a single, simple email.

In response to Obama’s remark that approval of the Keystone XL tar-sand pipeline from Alberta, Canada, hinged on its contribution to increases in greenhouse gas levels (a widely acknowledged outcome), McKibben wrote: “This is an appropriate standard that the president appears to be setting.”
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Hydrofracking, Nuclear power, Oil, Pollution, REDD, Tar Sands

Debate: Should California cap and trade use forestry offsets?

Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director at Global Justice Ecology Project.  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 Forestshighlighting the California REDD deal.

-The GJEP Team

By Chris Lang, May 21, 2013. Source: REDD-Monitor

2013-05-21-152400_252x244_scrotThe debate about whether California should allow REDD carbon offsets in its cap and trade scheme (AB 32) continues. Over the weekend, theSacramento Bee published two opinion pieces, one opposing REDD credits and one in favour.

Jeff Conant, International Forests Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, argues against REDD credits. In favour of REDD are Dan Nepstad, director and president of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), and Tony Brunello, the executive director of the Green Technology Leadership Group, partner at California Strategies and former California deputy secretary for climate change and energy.

So far, the discussion in the comments on the Sacramento Bee website following these two articles is dominated by climate sceptics. What follows is a summary of the arguments in the hope of generating a more sensible discussion (either here or on the Sacramento Bee website).

Conant argues that AB 32 is “one of the most forward-thinking pieces of climate legislation in the country”, but one that is already undermined by the inclusion of carbon offsets. It would only be undermined further by the inclusion of REDD credits from a “dubious and untried scheme to protect rain forests in Mexico and Brazil”. Continue reading

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

Environmental and human rights organizations call on California to reject REDD forest offset credits

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

Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

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

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Watch: Jeff Conant on REDD forest offsets and California’s carbon market

Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.

-The GJEP Team

kpfk_logoJeff 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.

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, REDD