At a panel session at the Peoples’ Summit, Pat Mooney of the Canadian technology watchdog organization ETC Group challenges UN Environment Program Director Achim Steiner’s concept of the green economy. Mooney says the model would hand control of the world’s biomass over to the same corporations and financial institutions responsible for the current ecological and financial chaos. June 16, 2012.
Category Archives: Rio+20
Earth Audio podcasts: Achim Steiner of UNEP and Pat Mooney of the ETC Group at the Rio+20 Peoples’ Summit
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil–In advance of the UN’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, the international STOP GE Trees Campaign is demanding a global ban on the release of destructive and dangerous genetically engineered trees (also called GE trees, GMO trees or GM trees) into the environment.
A major focus of the UN summit is so-called “renewable” or “sustainable” energy, and Ban Ki Moon, Executive Secretary of the UN has launched a highly controversial “Sustainable Energy for All” (SEFA) Initiative. This initiative includes use of trees to produce electricity or liquid agrofuels and there is an emphasis by industry to genetically engineer trees as feedstocks for this bioenegy production, and Brazil is one of the most active countries promoting this.
“Much of the research on GE trees in Brazil is focused on eucalyptus trees, which are being engineered for faster growth, and for modified wood qualities–such as increased cellulose and decreased lignin content. These engineered traits will facilitate the production of wood-based bioenergy,” stated Isis Alvarez of Global Forest Coalition.
“The dramatic and dangerous impacts of non-GMO industrial eucalyptus plantations are well documented and include invasiveness, desertification of soils, depletion of water, increased threat of wildfire and loss of biodiversity,” stated Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign. “Eucalyptus trees are not native to the Americas and they inhibit the growth of native vegetation. In Brazil, these plantations are called Green Deserts because nothing can grow in them. Now they want to engineer them, which will make them even more destructive,” she added.
Audio and photo by Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project
Marifel, of the Asia-Pacific Indigenous Youth Network speaks. Photo: Petermann/GJEP
Indigenous Peoples held a press conference to denounce the negative impacts of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) during the opening activities of the People’s Summit, Friday, 15 June, 2012. To download or listen to the interview, click on the link below:
“Green economy is about cheating nature while making profit out of it.” – Pablo Solón, Former Bolivian Ambassador to UN, Director Focus on the Global South
With over 50,000 accredited participants registered, Rio+20 is expected to be the largest gathering in the history of the UN. The Green Economy put forward by the United Nations Environment Program (nicknamed the “Greed Economy” by many) is about promoting the idea that we can only “save” nature by putting a price tag on what nature “does” for us. Proponents call it “ecosystem services” and from forests generating the air we breathe to the decomposition process resulting in the ground we walk upon, everything has its price, and corporate executives are wringing their hands with anticipation of what the Greed Economy could do for profit margins.
The Peoples Summit – hosted by Civil Society Organizations challenging the direction of the UN and its members – will run in parallel in Flamengo Park with the aim of not simply protesting the so-called Green Economy, but presenting viable alternative, sustainable solutions, including recognizing legal rights for nature. “In 2008, Ecuador led the world by becoming the first country to recognize legal Rights of Nature in its constitution – the right to exist, maintain and restore its vital cycles, and regenerate integrally. Recognizing Rights of Nature allows us to truly protect ecosystems and sets the stage for a sustainable future. Rights of Nature gives social movements the opportunity to reunite on what brings us together – Mother Earth.” says Natalia Greene, President CEDENMA, Ecuador.
For Immediate Release 15 June, 2012
Climate Justice Groups to Amplify Front-line Struggles for Resilience
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil–As the Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and Against the Commodification of Life (Cupula dos Povos), kicks off today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, thousands of international climate justice advocates will be present to draw attention to the struggles faced by grassroots communities, and the solutions these communities offer to the multiple crises facing the world today.
While the triple crises of energy, economy and ecology ultimately affect everyone, low-income communities, land-based cultures, Indigenous Peoples, women, and youth are impacted first and worst. At both the Peoples’ Summit and the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit, Global Justice Ecology Project and the Climate Justice Alignment will be providing media outlets with a comprehensive list of grassroots climate-impacted people for interviews, as well as posting short videos, podcasts, articles and news pieces daily on Climate-Connections.org.
Speakers available for interview have a wide range of expertise, including environmental justice, forests and land tenure; tree plantations and genetically engineered (GMO) trees; REDD, carbon trading and Payment for Environmental Services; Indigenous Peoples’ Rights; land grabbing; bioenergy, and the bioeconomy; women’s, gender and youth issues; recycling, waste-picking and waste-to-energy; just transition strategies; and grassroots perspectives.
Global Justice Ecology Project will release media alerts throughout the events, between June 15 and 23. The speakers list available at climate-connections.org/ will be updated daily. For information regarding the speakers list, to receive media alerts, or to follow the action from the grassroots, subscribe to Climate Connections, or contact GJEP or Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, below.
Jeff Conant, Communications Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
Phone in Brazil: +55 (0) (21) 8079-0790 (to be activated late in the day on the 15th)
Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
Phone: +1 (802) 578 0477
Shaun Grogan-Brown, Communications Coordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Phone in Brazil: +55 (0) (21) 8079-0796
Rio+20 Alternative Peoples’ Summit opens today: People of the world vs. the “green economy” and global economic foreclosure
By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
It was pulled together by Brazilian groups and is being attended by social movements, Indigenous Peoples, activists and organizations from all over the world who are coming together to identify real solutions to the multiple and rising crises we face as humans on planet Earth. The summit was organized in direct opposition to the official UN circus known as the Rio+20 Conference for Sustainable Development. More aptly it would be called the Rio+20 Conference for the greenwashing of Business as Usual.
As I flew to Rio on 12 June, I read an article in the Financial Times titled “Showdown Looms at OPEC After Saudi Arabia Urges Higher Output.” The article explained how Saudi Arabia is urging OPEC to increase their output of oil in order to ensure that the global price of oil does not exceed US$100/barrel in order to “mitigate the risks that high oil prices pose to the global economy.”
The insane logic of expanding oil production in the face of mounting climate chaos in order to help rescue the global economy accurately reflects the mindset behind the negotiations around the UN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit, set to start next week here in Rio.
KPFK Audio: GJEP’s Anne Petermann reports from Rio on the Rio+20 Earth Summit and Alternative Peoples’ Summit
Today as the official negotiations continue in preparation for the upcoming Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development–also known as the Rio+20 Earth Summit–KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show interviewed Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) Executive Director Anne Petermann, who is on the ground in Rio about the Rio+20 summit, which starts on 20 June, as well as the alternative Peoples’ Summit, which starts on 15 June.
To listen to the 15 minute interview, click here: Rio+20 interview with GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann on KPFK
Global Justice Ecology Project will be in Rio to report on and campaign around both the official UN meetings and the alternative Peoples’ Summmit, from 15 June to 23 June. Stay tuned to this blog for daily news and reports. Beginning Tuesday, 19 June GJEP will be partnering with the Sojourner Truth show to provide daily interviews on the events in Rio.
As the final negotiations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 conference get underway in Rio de Janeiro, almost 50 civil society groups have published an open letter denouncing the UN Secretary General’s new “Sustainable Energy For All Initiative” (SEFA). The letter states: “The SEFA process and Action Agenda are deeply flawed and threaten to further entrench destructive, polluting and unjust energy policies for corporate profit under the guise of alleviating energy poverty, while undermining community rights to energy sovereignty and self determination.”
The “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative was announced in September 2011, and a “high level panel” was established by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon. The panel includes major investors in the fossil fuel economy including, Statoil, Eskom, Siemens and Riverstone Holdings. The initiative’s stated goals are to 1) double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, 2) double the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030, and 3) provide access to modern energy services for all of humanity. An action agenda is being put forward for endorsement at Rio+20, along with commitments for action from countries and groups.
Groups denouncing the initiative view it as an attempt to use claims of poverty alleviation to further expand corporate control over energy policies with the aim of gaining access to new markets and investment opportunities. The letter points out that the initiative’s goals are inadequate,that it promotes dangerous and unsustainable forms of energy and that there is a deplorable lack of transparency and democratic participation in the process thus far.