Category Archives: World Bank

Zero Net Emissions – The latest fad in false solutions

At the Lima, Peru, climate talks, Jim Yong Kim, head of the World Bank, called for countries and corporations to reduce the impact of climate change by committing to a long-term strategy of “Zero Net Emissions,” also known as carbon neutrality. An article on Responding to Climate Change highlights Kim’s speech, while also explaining some of the details of the process, the likelihood it can be achieved and positions of other global leaders.

Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

So how does Kim think the world can get to Zero Net Emissions? Current tactics used by the World Bank and other global corporations include land grabbing, deforestation, wood burning and palm oil plantations — all known to promote, perpetuate and, in most cases, even worsen climate change.

There’s a comments section on this article, folks. At the time of writing, it’s at 0. Let’s use our voices to make it known that carbon neutrality is not the solution to climate change. The planet deserves better options; the world deserves better leaders.

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Filed under Biofuelwatch, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, World Bank

Truthout | Palm Oil and Extreme Violence in Honduras

A Corporation Dinant worker repairs an irrigation system for oil palms in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras' northern coast, August 26, 2011. The violence over land titles in Bajo Aguan is the most volatile example of the social divide that burst into view a few years ago. (Photo: Edgard Garrido Carrera / The New York Times)

A Corporation Dinant worker repairs an irrigation system for oil palms in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras’ northern coast, August 26, 2011. The violence over land titles in Bajo Aguan is the most volatile example of the social divide that burst into view a few years ago. (Photo: Edgard Garrido Carrera / The New York Times)

The Inexorable Rise and Dubious Reform of Grupo Dinant

By Jeff Conant, Truthout. 8 December 2014 [News Analysis]

As one of the fastest growing global commodities, palm oil has recently earned a reputation as a major contributor to tropical deforestation and, therefore, to climate change as well.

About 50 million metric tons of palm oil is produced per year – more than double the amount produced a decade ago – and this growth appears likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Because oil palm trees, native to West Africa, require the same conditions as tropical rainforests, nearly every drop of palm oil that hits the global market comes at the expense of natural forests that have been, or will be, burned, bulldozed and replaced with plantations.

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Filed under Forests and Climate Change, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Palm Oil, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, World Bank

REDD-Monitor breaks down recent leaked World Bank report on its role in Sengwer land grab

Sengwer houses being burnt by Kenya Forest Service guards on January 16, 2014. Source: Forest Peoples Programme

Sengwer houses being burnt by Kenya Forest Service guards on January 16, 2014. Source: Forest Peoples Programme

News broke earlier this week about a leaked World Bank report that identifies the Bank’s role in the horrible forced evictions–the literal burning out–of the Sengwer people from their homes in the Cherangany forest reserves of Kenya. As usual, Chris Lang of the REDD Monitor does a great job breaking down what the leak shows and what happens next.

John Vidal broke the story in the Guardian:

A leaked copy of a World Bank investigation seen by the Guardian has accused the bank of failing to protect the rights of one of Kenya’s last groups of forest people, who are being evicted from their ancestral lands in the name of climate change and conservation.

Thousands of homes belonging to hunter-gatherer Sengwer people living in the Embobut forest in the Cherangani hills were burned down earlier this year by Kenya forest service guards who had been ordered to clear the forest as part of a carbon offset project that aimed to reduce emissions from deforestation.

Quick Note: the UN, of course, condemned the evictions, as did many organizations in civil society. However,  many in these same institutions champion the same false solutions to climate change that spurred the land grab. Vidal doesn’t make this criticism, but clearly identifies carbon offsets in the early paragraphs of his story, which is very important.

Now to Chris Lang’s great overview!

Evictions of Sengwer indigenous people: World Bank violates safeguards in Kenya
By Chris Lang. REDD-Monitor. September 30, 2014

 

The World Bank’s inspection panel has found that the Bank violated its safeguards in a conservation project in the Cherangany Hills in Kenya. Thousands of Sengwer indigenous people have been evicted and their homes burned down.

 

In January 2013, the Sengwer made a complaint to the World Bank about the Bank-funded Natural Resource Management Project (NRMP). A copy of the Inspection Panel’s May 2014 report was leaked to the Guardian. The report accuses the Bank of failing to protect the rights of the Sengwer.

Read the whole essay here.

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Filed under Africa, False Solutions to Climate Change, Land Grabs, World Bank

La Via Campesina rejects UN Plan for Climate Smart Agriculture

imgresInternational Peasant Movement/Movimiento Campesino Internacional

History presents itself first as tragedy, and the second time as a farce.

As women, men, peasants, smallholder family farmers, migrant, rural workers, indigenous, and youth of La Via Campesina, we denounce climate smart agriculture which is presented to us as a solution to climate change and as a mechanism for sustainable development. For us, it is clear that underneath its pretense of addressing the persistent poverty in the countryside and climate change, there is nothing new. Rather, this is a continuation of a project first begun with the Green Revolution in the early 1940’s and continued through the 70’s and 80’s by the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction projects and the corporate interests involved. These projects, such as the so-called Green Revolution, decimated numerous peasant economies, particularly in the South, to the extent that many countries, like México for example, that were self-sufficient in food production, became dependent on the North to feed their population within a short couple of decades.

The result of these projects, dictated by industrial capital’s need for expansion, was the coopting of traditional agricultural producers and production and their insertion into the present industrial agriculture and food regime. A regime that is based on increased use of toxic chemicals, dependent on fossil fuel inputs and technology, increasing exploitation of agricultural and rural workers, with its resulting loss of biodiversity; a food system that is now under the control of corporations and large industrial farmers, the main beneficiaries of these projects. The result has been the loss of food security and sovereignty, transforming entire countries that were once net food exporters into net food importers. This is not so much that they cannot produce food, but because now, instead, they produce commodity crops used to produce industrialized foods, fuels, manufactured products for sale, and for speculation in the world financial markets.

Today, some of the same actors of these previous projects, such as the World Bank, are the forces behind the imposition of climate smart agriculture as a solution to climate change and to increase income of the rural poor using the same failed thesis that to increase incomes one must increase productivity. It is clear that the intention is to create a market for the Green Revolution as a solution to climate change, poverty and as a proposal for sustainable development in rural areas. We identify this as part of a larger process of “green” structural adjustment projects required by an economic system and the political elites in distress, because they have exhausted other places for enormous speculative financial investments and now see agriculture and agricultural land as the new frontier.

Climate smart agriculture begins with deception by not making a differentiation between the negative effects of industrialized agriculture and the real solutions offered by traditional sustainable peasant agriculture which has contributed to alleviating poverty, hunger and remediation of climate change. To the contrary, climate smart agriculture equates and equally blames all forms of agricultural production for the negative effects that in fact only industrialized agricultural and food production has caused, and fails to recognize and accept the differences between “agri-cultures” and agricultural production methods. The agricultural activity that has most contributed to greenhouse gas emissions has been industrial agriculture, not smallholder sustainable agriculture.

Climate smart agriculture will lead to further consolidation of land, pushing peasant and family farmers towards World Bank Projects, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other institutions, creating dependency on so-called new technologies through their complete packages that include prescriptions of “climate smart varieties”, inputs, and credit, while ignoring traditional tried and true adaptive farming techniques and stewardship of seed varieties in practice by farmers.  Reliance on World Bank promoted methods of production and genetically modified seed varieties will only increase the vulnerability of peasants and small-scale producers, as those packages will not allow them to adapt to climate change, nor will they be able to improve their incomes, and will only result in pushing them further into debt and increased dependency. As the Green Revolution meant the imposition of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides as requirement to access loans and technical support, now it is the imposition of transgenic and biotechnology for the same requirements, and all under the name of productivity.

The idea of increasing agricultural productivity in a sustainable way, or what is now called “sustainable intensification”, is false. Even more so, when one considers that raising yield per hectare through production intensification only increases the income for corporations, financial market speculators, and large landholding farmers. So called “sustainable intensification” is not really about increasing yield per acre, it is more about green-washing large scale industrialized production following the old adage “get big or get out”. Increasingly, peasant and smallholder family farmers have to produce crops for the commodity market and not for local and regional food systems. They are producing for corporations who are manufacturing unhealthy processed food, fuel and supplies to make other products such as farmed –meat and pharmaceuticals. Peasants and small–scale family farmers will have no choice but to continue to accept the task of feeding the insatiable capitalist food production machine and its speculative activities in the financial markets.

This intensification of production is also an effort to reduce the cost of labor, which means further degrading working conditions, and lower salaries for migrant workers.  Most peasants and small holders will be cast aside because there’s no room for them in industrial agriculture except as landless peasants and one of millions of migrants that are seeking to try their luck as low wage laborers in the cities and countryside.

Ultimately, climate smart agriculture tries to cover-up and hide the need for genuine agriculture and land reform. It also hides, and lies about, the issue of scarcity of land and natural resources.  Land and natural resources are only scarce for peasant and small holding farmers. Poverty exists as a result of lack of access to land, land tenure and use, the unfair treatment and wages of workers and an unrelenting exploitation of their labor in order to meet the needs of capitalism, all of which is shaping the madness we are facing today.

In addition, climate smart agriculture, like the Reduction for Emission on Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), will expand the carbon market and its use for financial speculation. The possibility of big profits with investments in carbon credits generated from farmlands involved in climate smart agriculture projects will increase speculation in the carbon market, leading to further “carbon land grabs” by large-scale investors and producers, and the further displacement of peasant and smallholder farmers, just as REDD displaces indigenous people.

Under this climate smart agriculture framework, there is little hope of reducing and removing greenhouse gases, trying to solve food insecurity or any significant rural economic and social development. The problems of poverty, food insecurity and climate change are not market failures, but rather are structural flaws that will persist and worsen with its implementation.

We need systemic change NOW!

Today, just as in the past, we are ready to fight against the false solutions of the capitalist “green economy” and for real solutions to climate change and poverty, through our demands for climate and environmental justice.

We continue to propose and put into practice wherever we can agroecological production and the construction of people’s food sovereignty. We consciously do this as another space to bring about the structural changes that we really need to deal with the issues of poverty, climate change and peoples’ inability to feed themselves.

We call on all social movements gathered in New York to denounce climate smart agriculture as a false solution, oppose the launching of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Climate Summit in New York City, and to join us in the struggle for food sovereignty, and for a different model of agriculture and food production that will provide a just economic well being for small-scale farmers and their communities while producing enough healthy food to meet people’s nutritional needs and guaranteed access to food for everyone. Any method of production and consumption, to be truly sustainable, must enrich and protect Mother Earth. (Download PDF)

NO TO CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE!

YES TO LAND REFORM AND AGROECOLOGY

FOR PEOPLE’S FOOD SOVEREIGNTY!

GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE GLOBALIZE HOPE!

For more information during the NYC Climate Summit, you can contact:

Dena Hoff, Antolin Huascar or Carlos Marentes Jr., at (413) 345-1137  (USA).

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Filed under False Solutions to Climate Change, World Bank

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, COP21 Paris 2015, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Politics, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC, World Bank, WTO

Historical Critique of the Corporate Takeover of the UN

This piece examines the history of the takeover of the UN Climate Conferences by industry and promotes the US climate movement getting on board with the fundamental demands and actions, and alternative solutions being advanced by social movements around the world.  It also gives a nod to the work of GJEP in this arena and credits our report, The Green Shock Doctrine. Thanks Margaret and Kevin!

Cancun-COP16-Indigenous-p-006
Protest at UN Climate Conference, Cancun, Mexico 2010. Photolangelle.org

Climate Alarm Bells Ring but UN and Obama Administration Fail To Act
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The Smirking Chimp. September 5, 2014.

The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most worrisome so far. Paired with data from the 2014 National Climate Assessment, there is no question that the climate crisis is here and is accelerating at a faster pace than predicted. Its effects are widespread and dangerous, yet real solutions are being suppressed.

The climate crisis is a ticking clock that demands immediate effective action, but the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP), which is the international body responsible for creating agreements on climate change, has become nothing more than a tool for multinational corporations and financiers to force a neo-liberal agenda and profit from the crisis. The false solutions being promoted displace and exploit people, destroy the environment and worsen climate change.

The climate crisis is our greatest challenge. Significant work has been done over the past decade by civil society groups around the world cooperating to create plans for resistance to the corrupt COP process and a vision for a just transition to sustainable systems. Now is the time for organizations throughout the United States that advocate for justice to recognize that the climate crisis affects all of us and to participate in this global movement.

Effective strategy requires knowledge of the political environment, the entities involved and an understanding of real versus false solutions. The United Nations, the United States government, Big Green Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the corporations that exert influence over them all are obstacles to effective action. Solutions exist but they won’t be coming from above, rather they will come from a mobilized grass roots demanding transformation to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy.

To read the entire article, click here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, COP21 Paris 2015, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Natural Disasters, Solutions, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19, World Bank, WTO

Happy Anniversary Bilaterals.org!

Congratulations to Bilaterals.org, an important website monitoring the status and developments of unjust bilateral trade agreements around the world.  This crucial movement asset was founded by a group of global justice activists 10 years ago, including GJEP Board member Aziz Choudry.

3 September 2014

bilaterals.org is a collaborative website for the exchange of information and analysis about bilateral free trade and investment agreements. It was launched in September 2004 by the Asia-Pacific Research Network, Global Justice Ecology Project, GATT Watchdog, GRAIN, IBON Foundation and X Minus Y Solidarity Fund.

What brought these diverse groups together was a shared concern about the growth of bilateral trade and investment deals outside the remit of the World Trade Organisation, and a feeling that these less visible but very powerful agreements were still “under the radar” of many activists.

bilaterals.org was thus set up as an open-publishing site where people would be able to find and post their own information and analysis about the full range of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties being negotiated and signed across the globe, and keep up to date with where and what forms of resistance are taking place.

bilaterals.org is now ten years old. To mark the moment, we made this slideshow to remember some of the key struggles against FTAs or BITs that have rocked our worlds these past ten years, all the people who participated and all that was achieved. (Special thanks to Juan Vicente for his musical contribution!)

We are also running an online survey where you can tell us what you think about bilaterals.org and how to improve it. Please help us out and participate! We are also about to undertake a major redesign of the site, so more is coming soon. thanks for your support!

the bilaterals.org collective

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Politics, Uncategorized, World Bank, WTO

Veolia Water Company slams into Detroit!

The city of Detroit’s state appointed emergency manager has hired the notorious Veolia North America, the American subsidiary of the equally notorious Veolia Environment, headquartered in Paris.  Veolia, one of the leading privatizers of water systems in the world and Veolia North America has colonized American cities, especially those located on the Great Lakes.

Photo courtesy Food and Water Watch

Photo courtesy Food and Water Watch

The Company has been hired to “advise” the city on “how to find cost savings” in the sewer and water department.  The city has now opened up bids on privatizing the water and sewer system in Detroit, which has been resisted for years.

Wait, it only gets worse. The United States is in the middle of negotiating a trade deal with the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, aka TTIP, which could undermine communities ability to halt hostile privatizations efforts, hinder attempts to reclaim water systems from EU corporations and make it harder to hold private water companies accountable.

Just what Detroiter’s that are already suffering human rights violations and access to water need! We see the future and it is here.

Read the whole story in Mitch Jones’ story at Food and Water Watch

How Free Trade Might Harm Detroit Again
Mitch Jones, Food and Water Watch. Sept 2, 2014.

While once a central component of the economic activity of the United States, Detroit – like other American cities reliant on manufacturing – has fallen on hard times. To be clear, this isn’t an accident of misfortune. Detroit was targeted by both the “free trade” and anti-labor agenda that took over American politics in the 1970s. As a result, the city lost thousands of jobs and its economy suffered. The current crisis in Detroit involving water shut-offs is a symptom of this agenda.

The state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit opened up bids for privatizing the sewer and water department. Recently, the city hired private water company Veolia Water to advise the city on “cost savings” within the department. Headquartered in Paris, Veolia Environnement operates as Veolia Water North America in the United States and is the second largest water company in the country, serving about 10.5 million people in 32 states. In addition to advising the city on cost savings within the department, Veolia is also one of the companies that have expressed interest in a privatized Detroit water system.

Read the whole story here

Demand System Change

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Great Lakes, Politics, Uncategorized, Water, World Bank