7 November 2013. Source: La Via Campesina
Farmers produce food, not carbon. Yet, if some of the governments and corporate lobbies negotiating at the UN climate change conference to be held in Warsaw from 11-22 November have their way, farmland could soon be considered as a carbon sink that polluting corporations can buy into to compensate for their harmful emissions.
“We are directly opposed to the carbon market approach to dealing with the climate crisis,” says Josie Riffaud of La Vía Campesina. “Turning our farmers’ fields into carbon sinks – the rights to which can be sold on the carbon market – will only lead us further away from what we see as the real solution: food sovereignty. The carbon in our farms is not for sale!”Carbon trading has totally failed to address the real causes of the climate crisis. It was never meant to do so. Rather than reducing carbon emissions at their source, it has created a lucrative market for polluters and speculators to buy and sell carbon credits while continuing to pollute. Now the pressure is increasing to treat farmland as a major carbon sink which can be claimed as yet another counterbalance to industrial emissions. The governments of the US and Australia, the World Bank and the corporate sector have long argued for this, and for the creation of new carbon markets where they can purchase land-based offsets in developing countries. Agribusiness is well positioned to profit from these, and some developing country governments hope that offering their forests, grasslands and farmland to polluters in the North could earn them revenue. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, World Bank
By Naomi Klein, October 29, 2013. Source: AlterNet
In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.
But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).
Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”
Note: For years, social movements, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, and civil society networks have denounced the so-called “Green Economy” as a scheme designed by the global ruling class to gain control over the world’s last remaining lands and natural resources. This resistance came to a head last summer at the UN Rio+20 Summit, where thousands of people marched in opposition to this new wave of green capitalism, calling instead for the recognition and strengthening of communities’ rights to land, water and food sovereignty, and the rights of Mother Earth.
Search “Green Economy” in the Climate-Connections search box for past coverage and analysis.
-The GJEP Team
By Paul Brown, 30 August, 2013. Source: Climate News Network
It is not easy to put a value on an intact forest, a clean river, or unpolluted air, but that is what a group of the world’s biggest banks is attempting to do.
They have agreed that the present economic system uses and often destroys the environment without paying to do so. And that, they say, is not sustainable.
The banks are also concerned that some companies are using up natural resources so fast, with no thought for their own future, let alone that of the planet, that they will collapse. They want a way of warning them and ultimately withdrawing their credit unless the companies mend their ways.
The 43 financial institutions, including the World Bank, are setting up a working party as a consequence of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, also known as the Rio+20 summit, when the initial 39 large banks signed a Natural Capital Declaration. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Land Grabs, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, World Bank
July 30, 2013.
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.
Note: This horrific episode, apparently linked to a World Bank-funded geothermal power project, reveals some of the more egregious social impacts of the Era of Extreme Energy.
Extreme energy does not merely refer to forms of oil that are ‘dirtier’ than conventional oil, or extraction methods that require enormous quantities of energy for little return. Extreme energy also refers to the one percent’s insatiable greed for energy growth at any cost – including the cultural destruction of Indigenous People’s, forced evictions of villages, and assassinations of leaders in opposing large scale energy development, be they new oil fields, mega-dams or geothermal projects.
Geothermal is a key piece of the United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. In fact, the World Bank’s interest in SE4All is centered on geothermal development. If this incident is the standard for ‘sustainable’ energy development, perhaps we need to ask the question (once again): Sustainable energy – for whom, for what, and at what cost?
-The GJEP Team
July 26, 2013. Source: Cultural Survival
July 26, 2013 was a gloomy day for the Maasai community who live in Narasha in Naivasha, Kenya. By day break, hundreds of hired goons accompanied by armed police officers stormed the settlement and burned over 61 homesteads. During the raids 500 lambs, 200 calves and food that was in stores were burnt. During the ensuing melee 2 men were shot and wounded and are currently receiving treatment. Over 2000 people were left homeless and are currently living in the cold without food or shelter.
Narasha has been home for the Maasai but a land deal perpetrated by the former government regime has perpetually been bent on grabbing the Land. The land in question has allegedly been sold to KenGen for the production of geothermal power with funding from the World Bank.
By Rosie Wong, July 25, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
The carbon trade doesn’t just fail to address climate change. In countries like Honduras, it funnels cash to notorious human rights abusers and threatens vital resources.
“We’re not selling this oxygen to anybody,” said Vitalino Álvarez, a participant in the Unified Aguán Farmers´ Movement (MUCA) in the boiling hot northern region of Honduras. Like many places around Honduras and the world, Álvarez’s community is a direct victim of international carbon trading programs—or what residents call “selling oxygen.”
Carbon trading was developed as a mechanism for addressing global climate change under the Kyoto Protocol. It allows companies rooted in the global North, which collectively produce most of the world’s greenhouse gases, to buy and sell “Certificates of Emissions Reduction” from developing-world companies rather than cut their own emissions. The practice enables them to continue polluting based on the assertion that emissions elsewhere are being cut.
Through this mechanism, they pay companies in the global South that have implemented “green” initiatives (making new technological investments or reducing deforestation, for example) and either use the certificate to avoid cutting their own emissions or else sell it to another company. This scheme is not only accepted, but also actively promoted, by both the United Nations and the World Bank.
But carbon trading does not actually fulfill its stated goal of cutting global emissions, since the price of carbon remains too cheap to curb polluter behavior. The study “Carbon Trading—How It Works and Why It Fails” shows that carbon trading allows overall air pollution and climate change to continue to escalate.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, UNFCCC, World Bank
Note: Will Hurd, quoted in the article below, is a good friend of Global Justice Ecology Project. His work in Ethiopia was previously a sponsored project of GJEP.
-The GJEP Team
By Claire Provost, July 17, 2013. Source: The Guardian
A young Karo boy stands above the Omo river near Kolcho village, Ethiopia. Communities in the region claim they suffered abuse. Photo: Dean Krakel/Getty
The UK Department for International Development (DfID) and USAid, the American aid agency, have been accused of ignoring evidence ofhuman rights abuses allegedly linked to their support for a multibillion-dollar social services programme in Ethiopia.
A report published on Wednesday by the US-based thinktank the Oakland Institute details a long list of grievances presented to aid officials from the UK and US by communities in the Lower Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. They claim they suffered intimidation, beatings, rape, forced evictions and other abuses as a result of the government’s controversial “villagisation” resettlement programme, which seeks to clear land to make way for commercial investments.
“Donor agencies were given highly credible first-hand accounts of serious human rights violations during their field investigation, and they have chosen to steadfastly ignore these accounts,” says the report, written by Will Hurd, an NGO worker who served as a translator for a team of DfID and USAid officials on a visit to the region in January 2012.
Transcripts of parts of these meetings, which have been made public alongside the report, show community members ignored aid officials’ questions about the state of education, development and health clinics, and repeatedly tried to bring the conversation back to the subject of abuse.
Note: With companies like Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, and PepsiCo involved, it’s easy to get an idea of where this “New Alliance” is headed.
-The GJEP Team
By Helena Paul and Ricarda Steinbrecher, June 19, 2013. Source: EcoNexus
This brief report looks at how governments, international finance institutions and global corporations are collaborating in major new projects in Africa (currently in Mozambique and Tanzania) to reorder land and water use and create industrial infrastructure over millions of hectares in order to ensure sustained supplies of commodities and profits for markets.
The Corridors concept first emerged at the World Economic Forum and a number of major corporations are involved. African Agricultural Growth Corridors are described as development opportunities, especially for small farmers, but are likely to be most advantageous to corporations and client governments.
They have the backing of international institutions including the World Economic Forum, the G8 and G20 groups of the major global economies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Bank.
More recently many of the same players have come together to create the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which promises to reinforce and extend the Corridor concept. Continue reading
By Carlos Zorrilla, June 13, 2013. Source: Upside Down World
The last time Ecuador “reformed” its mining legislation was in 2000. Back then, the World Bank was going around the world merrily “modernizing” everyone’s mining legislation (in more than 100 countries), to make the world safer and easier for transnational mining corporations to pillage the world’s resources and ship them North. The reforms were put in place and, decades later, many countries are still suffering from the massive natural resource curse that the laws inspired and made happen. The impacts were so negative that many are currently trying to undo some of the changes. But not Ecuador.
In the case of this Andean country, in the 1990s the World Bank lent it $14 million dollars to help it carry out the changes, plus prospect for minerals in all of Western Ecuador, including inside seven protected areas. The upshot was that the changes to the law removed all kinds of “obstacles” that mining companies always complain about, including reducing or doing away with most taxes and eliminating royalties, in addition to abolishing all environmental regulations. The incentives, together with the creation of mineralization maps showing areas of interest, were meant to attract all kinds of mining companies and open the country to mining. And that it did. All of a sudden, the country, which had only small-scale mining experience, was flooded by small and large companies led by no lack of sleazy individuals trying to make a fast buck with their fly-by-night mining companies.
The consequences of the World Bank’s neoliberal policies here and elsewhere, were not surprising: large-scale social conflicts, violence, social unrest. Luckily, in Ecuador communities were able to stop large-scale mines from opening, otherwise the country would also be burdened by enduring environmental problems. As it stands right now, Ecuador is the only Andean Nation without any large-scale metal mines (such as copper and gold). But that is about to change with the reforms to the mining legislation being debated in the National Assembly as I write this.