Category Archives: UNFCCC

CLIMATE CHANGE: FACES PLACES & PROTEST Exhibit

Durban Climate March, 2011.  Photolangelle.org

Durban Climate March, 2011. Photolangelle.org

Photos from the Front Lines

This exhibit went live on the Langelle Photography website on Saturday 30 November 2014, in time for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru that opened 1 December 2014.

The photographs document impacts of and resistance to climate change and false solutions, spanning five continents over more than 25 years.

A review of the exhibit by Jack Foran from The Public began:

Photojournalist Orin Langelle’s exhibit at his new ¡Buen Vivir! gallery at 148 Elmwood in Allentown takes on two enormous issues: world climate change—along with the criminality of its associated corporate denial and delay tactics—and the official media’s so-called “objectivity.”

To view the exhibit online: http://wp.me/p592R1-YI

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, UN, Uncategorized, UNFCCC

GE Trees + Climate Change = Social and Ecological Disaster

In addition to being the day of the People’s Climate March, today is also the International Day of Action against Monoculture Tree Plantations.  The issues of industrial tree plantations, genetically engineered trees and climate change are inextricably linked in many, many ways, and the statement below, put out by our allies at World Rainforest Movement, La Via Campesina and others, explains this.

At Ban Ki-moon’s upcoming Climate Summit, the corporate-dominated UN will try to sell tree plantations (and future GE tree plantations) as “climate smart.”  This, even though studies have proven that tree plantations both store far less carbon than native forests and accelerate destruction of those forests to make room for new plantations.

Banner photo (Plantations Are Not Forests):  Petermann/GJEP-GFC

“Plantations are not forests” Protest at the World Forestry Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2009  Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

21 September 201410th Anniversary of the International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations
Dismantle the power of transnational plantation corporations!

There is no “smart monoculture”

Ten years ago, at a meeting of 250 members of communities affected by large-scale eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, September 21st was established as the National Day against Tree Monocultures. The aim was to increase the visibility of the many peoples and communities struggling against tree monocultures, as a way of breaking the circle of silence around the numerous violations faced by the communities whose territories were surrounded by these monocultures. The day was also created in order to disseminate as widely as possible the evidence emerging from the resistance struggles about the negative social and environmental impacts of these plantations. The impacts on the lives of women in the affected communities are particularly severe. Recognizing the importance of the decision taken by the Brazilian communities, the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) decided in 2006 to make this day an International Day of Action.

This year, September 21st is also a day of mass mobilizations for Climate Justice. Thousands of people will join the People’s Climate March, while political leaders – and increasingly also corporate representatives – are meeting at the United Nations in New York City for the Climate Summit 2014, convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations, and the privatization of land, water and air resources under the guise of a global climate pact.

The UN and other international agencies will launch the “Climate Smart Agriculture” initiated at the summit. This initiative is a new smokescreen being used to greenwash the worst practices of industrial agriculture: chemical fertilizers, industrial meat production, and genetically modified crops, such as tree plantations and other monocultures, which are being disguised as ‘climate smart’. Proponents of this dangerous false solution include the World Bank; they are seeking to turn the carbon in farmers’ fields into carbon credits, which would lead to land-grabbing and undermine real climate solutions.

The expansion of large-scale tree plantations of eucalyptus, pine, acacia, rubber and oil palm species, which may be defined as ‘climate smart’ if the proposal being discussed at the New York climate summit prospers, is furthering capital accumulation by large and often transnational corporations. Some of these corporations are Stora Enso, Arauco, APP/Sinar Mas, Bridgestone/Firestone, Wilmar, Olam and Sime Darby. Production from these large-scale monoculture plantations is for industrial and export purposes, and the rate of expansion has been devastating. The area of these plantations worldwide has increased four-fold since 1980. In the global South, eucalyptus and oil palm monocultures have experienced remarkable growth. Were it not for the widespread resistance of small farmers, indigenous peoples and rural communities in many countries, this expansion would probably have been even greater.

Transnational corporations are primarily responsible for the problems caused by plantations: land-grabbing and the seizure of common ‘resources'; destruction of biodiverse areas and their associated wildlife; the drying up and pesticide pollution of rivers, streams and springs; soil exhaustion and erosion; degrading working conditions; and the increasing financialization of nature, land and production. However, these corporations not only persist in denying and systematically concealing all these processes of social and environmental injustice; they even argue they are part of the ‘solution’ to the problems. Some of the market’s false solutions, which are really solutions beneficial primarily for financial capitalism itself, increase the injustices associated with monoculture. Among these false solutions are initiatives that legitimize corporations’ operations without requiring them to be accountable for the crimes and violations they commit.

Examples of this kind of ruse are ‘green’ certificates issued by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) the ‘forest dialogue’, initiatives where civil society and corporations forge voluntary corporate commitments, and other so-called ‘sustainable’ initiatives, like phony commitments to ‘zero deforestation’. Although such action may lead to short-term benefits for local communities in some places, they have mainly led to frustration and community division, by promising ‘compensation’ that does not fulfill people’s key demands for guaranteeing their way of life, the return and respect for their territories, and an end to the environmental injustice caused by monocultures.

These initiatives are ‘voluntary,’ that is, they are not legally binding, and therefore lack a democratic institutional framework whose main goal is to protect the rights of the people affected. In this way, these initiatives, without aiming to change the destructive logic of capital, ultimately legitimize the expansion of a production model that we call neocolonial, because it destroys ways of life, is based on environmental racism and does not question any of its fundamental premises, such as the concentration of land and production in large-scale monocultures with poisonous pesticides and degrading working conditions. Moreover, “green” and “sustainable” initiatives and commitments do not hinder big companies from further expanding their plantations and encroaching on local people’s territories.

Increasingly serious is the rise of “flex tree” monocultures, producing multiple-use trees and forest commodities that are perceived to be interchangeable (energy, wood, food, carbonsequestration, etc.). Their “flexible” nature is of major interest to financial capital, which is increasingly promoting, together with the monoculture tree plantations corporations, the speculation over the control of production and land uses. These companies continue to insist on commercial uses of transgenic trees, as well as other uses of wood for energy purposes, and on selling ‘environmental services’ such as carbon. These are all false solutions to the environmental and climate crisis confronting human societies today, and they ultimately exacerbate injustice, hunger and poverty. Monocultures and transgenic crops are not smart; they are one more tool of ‘green’ capitalism to grab peoples’ lands, undermining those who are building real solutions to the social, environmental and climate crisis.

To confront the impact of the big corporations and the expansion of plantations, we must continue to push for the transformation of this model of production and to fight the neoliberal policies that favour big capital. An important step is for us to join forces in the framework of the “Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power”, in order to build and strengthen instruments to put a stop to the architecture of impunity and legitimation that corporations enjoy today.

The starting point of the Campaign is the struggle of communities resisting the invasion of their territories by transnational corporations, or their fight to expel transnational corporations from their territories. It affirms the right of peoples to freely determine their own way of life. Agrarian reform and the demarcation of indigenous peoples’ territories and those of other traditional and small farmer populations all over the world are urgently needed actions to make headway in the struggle for food sovereignty, social and environmental justice, and people’s power.

We cannot end this declaration without paying tribute to the women and men all over the world who carry out a daily struggle, in different ways, against monoculture tree plantations. They have already achieved important victories in the defense and recovery of their territories and the biodiversity they need for their physical and cultural survival. These women and men, in their arduous and long-suffering struggles for the cause of life and the future, stand in sharp contrast to the greed of the big corporations and investors that seek to appropriate ever more same lands to generate profits for their shareholders.

“Plantations are not forests!”

There are no smart monocultures!”

September 21st, 2014

Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity
La Via Campesina
World March of Women
Friends of the Earth International
World Rainforest Movement (WRM)

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Greenwashing, Land Grabs, Tree Plantations, Uncategorized, UNFCCC

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.

Continue reading

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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

Earth Watch Interview: Simone Lovera of Global Forest Coalition on UN Climate Talks

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.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Pollution, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19

Tom Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network KPFK Interview

IEN-logoTom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network was this week’s guest for our Earth Watch interview segment on the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK in Los Angeles.  Tom addressed the issues for Indigenous Peoples around the UN Climate COP in Warsaw.  Listen below:

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Natural Disasters, UNFCCC

Audio: Will Typhoon Haiyan Affect the Debate on Global Climate Change?

Note: Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, was featured in a press release by the Institute for Public Accuracy on the link between Typhoon Haiyan, climate change, climate justice and the upcoming UN climate conference in Poland.  The link below is to one of the interviews she gave.

–the GJEP Team

Released on Nov 12, 2013

The typhoon that laid waste to parts of the Philippines last week struck just before the 19th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change got underway in Warsaw, Poland on Monday.  But while there is general agreement that global climate change is a major factor in the increasing number and intensity of storms worldwide, there continues to be little progress toward limiting the emission of greenhouse gasses.  We speak with Anne Peterman, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project.

To listen to the show, go to Left Voices

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Filed under Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, UNFCCC

Typhoon Hiayan “Demonstrating How Global South Pays Price for Emissions Historically from North”

PM Friday, November 8, 2013

During the last major climate conference in 2012 in Doha, Tetet Lauron, a delegate from the Philippines, spoke of the devastating effects of Typhoon Bopha that hit the Philippines during that conference, killing hundreds. She said then: “I am Tetet. I am a citizen of the world. This is not an equal nor equitable or world — and I’ve had enough! To the wealthy, industrialized countries who are bracking and deleting away the survival of the people of the developing world [a reference to the rich nations’ tactics during negotiations over text]: You’ve used up more than the lion’s share of the world’s resources and you are historically the world’s largest polluters. We want you to commit — and honor those commitments. …” See below:


ANNE PETERMANN, [email protected]@Climatejustice1
Petermann is executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project, which runs theclimate-connections.org blog.

She said today: “With Typhoon Hiayan ripping through the Philippines, we are once again staring climate catastrophe square in the face. This typhoon, with winds up to 230 mph is being called the strongest cyclone ever to make landfall. But it is likely just the beginning.

“The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this past September was once again clear in its warning that a warming globe means more unstable weather. The waters of the Pacific that fed this typhoon were unusually warm, lending tremendous energy to the storm.

“Typhoon Haiyan is ravaging the Philippines only a few days before the opening of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland on Nov. 11, where once again it is predicted that no concrete action to limit climate change emissions will take place.

“But this storm should be a wake up call to the UN negotiators in Warsaw regarding the concrete impacts of their decades of inaction.

“Typhoon Haiyan is once again demonstrating how countries in the Global South sit directly in the path of the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions historically put out by the Global North.

“We are trying to reach our colleague, Tetet Lauron, of the Peoples’ Movement on Climate Change, who is based in Manila for first hand word of this storm, but so far phone calls are not going through.”

Also see Institute for Public Accuracy news release from 2012 Doha conference: “Doha Deal will Result in “Unprecedented Ecological and Social Collapse.’

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Natural Disasters, Pollution, UNFCCC