Tag Archives: Climate Justice

KPFK Sojourner Truth Show Special One Hour Reportback from Durban Climate Talks Thursday (19 Jan.)

Tune in to KPFK Los Angeles’ Sojourner Truth show Thursday morning (19 January) at 7am Pacific US, 10am Eastern US and GMT-8 to listen to a special hour-long reportback from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa plus the latest on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Also, what is the state of the environmental movement and what is the way forward. 

Guests on the show will include:

• Pablo Solón, former Ambassador to the UN for the Plurinational State of Bolivia

• Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network

• Teresa Almaguer, Youth Program Director, PODER!, a member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

• Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

The host of the Sojourner Truth show is Margaret Prescod.

To listen to the show live, go to: http://www.kpfk.org/listen-live.html

To listen to the archived show after the broadcast is over, go to: http://archive.kpfk.org/ and click on the “Sojourner Truth show” from Thursday, 19 January.

Global Justice Ecology Project and the Sojourner Truth show partner each week for an Earth Minute every Tuesday and an Environmental Segment every Thursday.

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands, UNFCCC

Tracking the World Bank at COP17

Note: GEAR (Global Economic Accountability Research) is a fiscally sponsored project of Global Justice Ecology Project and Keith Brunner, author of the piece below, is once of our Research Associates.  Keith was also the person, along with GJEP ED Anne Petermann, who got hauled out by UN security from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa last month for occupying the hallway outside of the main plenary and refusing to leave.

–The GJEP Team

By Keith Brunner

Cross-Posted from GEAR

In addition to following the ongoing development of the Green Climate Fund in Durban, I also took the time to attend a number of World Bank organized side events focused on climate finance and investment.  As well as funding massive fossil fuel intensive projects- such as last year’s three and a half billion dollar loan to build one of the planet’s largest coal-fired power plant complexes in South Africa (ironic, no?)- the World Bank has been ramping up its portfolio of “Climate Investment Funds” and is jockeying for leadership roles in most of the aspects of the UN climate change proceedings.

So: is the World Bank really turning over a new clean, green leaf, ready to help the world’s poor contend with the climate chaos caused by the same fossil fuel-intensive development patterns which the Bank has championed?  Hardly.  Instead, under the leadership of President Robert Zoellick, a former head honcho at Goldman Sachs, the Bank is moving at full speed towards laying the groundwork for a colossal new financial services sector based in environmental products, while using the UN process as a legitimizing cover.  This brilliant scheme (note that all the environmental market initiatives are called “schemes”) will simultaneously provide a new investment frontier for the pools of stagnant capital controlled by the 1% in this slumping world-economy, as well as provide an offsets-based shell game which allows the planet’s biggest polluters to continue with business-as-usual, while giving the appearance that they’re “going green.”

Potentially the most interesting part of tracking the Bank was observing how it functioned in partnership with the US negotiators, and in fact seemed to be generating the policy language which Todd Stern and Jonathan Pershing (the US reps) would later echo impeccably.  Repeat after me: “Private sector engagement…public sector finance as guarantor of private sector loans…catalyzing investment…markets, markets, markets.”  It was essentially like watching a game of telephone, as other government delegations would parrot the US/World Bank line, with mainstream NGO’s such as World Wildlife Foundation following suit like puppies eager to please.

Climate Investment Fun with the World Bank

The first event I attended at COP17 was the launching of a new Climate Investment Fund (CIF).  As of 2011, the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit hosts 15 of these funds, which taken together are capitalized to the tune of $2.3 billion USD1.

The Carbon Initiative for Development, or the “Ci-Dev Fund”, was launched in Durban with the goal of helping “the least-developed countries access financing for low-carbon investments and enable them to tap into carbon markets after 2012… [t]he Bank wants to ensure that its suite of financial instruments, including private sources of capital via carbon markets, is accessible to all country clients so they can invest in their sustainable development2.”

The key words here are “financial instruments” and “private sources of capital via carbon markets.”  The Ci-Dev fund exists to fast-track the generation of carbon offset credits from projects as cook stoves in Africa, and household biogas systems in Nepal.  These offset credits will then be sold on international carbon markets, and can be purchased by polluting firms eager to meet emissions targets without actually changing their high-polluting behavior.

So the claim that Ci-Dev finance will aid in “sustainable development” is a wee bit of a misnomer- for how can development be ‘sustainable’ if it is de facto allowing for the continued frying of the planet, with the poorest and most marginalized regions to be hit the hardest?

Let’s say it: Se-ques-tra-tion

Another set of World Bank side events which I had the pleasure of attending at COP17 dealt with what the Bank calls ‘Climate Smart Agriculture.’  As with forest carbon initiatives such as the controversial Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) UN program, ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ is just a recognition that good agro-ecological practices can actually sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and store it semi-permanently in the soil.  This is precisely what the global federation of peasant farmers La Via Campesina has been saying for years, with their slogan “Small farmers (Campesinos) cool the planet.”

However, while Via Campesina sees in this another reason to protect the land, food, and other rights of peasant farmers worldwide, the World Bank sees an immense new investment frontier, through the creation of agriculture-based carbon offsets which can be bought and sold on global markets.

The Bank led an all-out push to get agriculture included under the UNFCCC’s carbon mitigation proceedings, building momentum for the decision by hosting agriculture-focused panels which featured UN dignitaries, finance and agricultural ministers, and of course, the ubiquitous private sector representatives.  Thanks partly to heavy organizing and a letter signed by over 100 civil society organizations from Africa and around the world calling for the UN to reject efforts to consider agricultural soils within carbon markets, it didn’t happen.  At least, not yet.  In the Durban Platform outcome from COP17, agriculture is found not under markets-focused mitigation, but under the Scientific and Technical body, a relative backwater.  We’ll see if this moves forward at COP18

The delay is good news, considering how the inclusion of soil carbon into offset markets has played out so far.  During the question and answer session at the launch of the Bank’s third ‘tranche’ of its BioCarbon Fund (which finances soil and forest-based initiatives), a young woman spoke up who had worked for a Bank-funded soil carbon project in Kenya.  She explained that the mostly women farmers who were a part of this project are set to make between 1$ and $5 per year, with the rest of the money going to project developers and consultants.  A representative from CARE International working in Africa piped up and said that they are facing soil carbon projects where the financial break-even point for the farmers won’t be reached for 10 years.

One Big Happy Family

Celebrating one year in operation for its Partnership for Market Readiness, the World Bank hosted a panel discussion which included finance ministers from Mexico, Brazil, Denmark, and South Africa.  Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action, opened the panel:

“[The Partnership for Market Readiness] brings together developed and developing countries with a shared interest to further the development of the next generation of multilateral carbon market mechanisms…We need to succeed in developing functioning new market mechanisms at the multilateral level.  The alternative will be a world of fragmented crediting mechanisms and a multitude of carbon currencies that would move us away from a seamless international carbon market with a single carbon price.”

After reflecting on the new market initiatives announced in the past year by California, China, Denmark, and Australia, Hedegaard concluded “So, the good news is the carbon market family is definitely growing.”

Here’s where the interesting part comes in- the carbon price, in actuality, has collapsed.   So is it good news that more countries are headed down this policy cul de sac?

Over the past year, the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)- the largest carbon market on the planet- has seen its carbon price lose over half its value, currently trading at about 7 Euros per tonne of CO2.  The carbon price in the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism, which generates carbon offset credits that are accepted in the EU ETS, has fallen to under 4 Euros/tonne.  Economically speaking, at this price, there is zero incentive for polluting firms to invest in low-carbon technologies.  At this price the market is useless- a playground for speculators.

In fact, this June Andrew Steer, the World Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, was quoted in the Guardian saying: “The [carbon] market is failing us.  It has done very good things in the past but is not delivering what we feel is necessary.”  And in August (when the price was even higher than it is now!), Reuters proclaimed carbon to be the “world’s worst performing commodity.”

This was the elephant in the room at all of these World Bank events.  The panelists danced around it, making references to the “too-low carbon price” (Hedegaard) and fluctuating markets, yadda yadda.  But when confronted with the basic reality that the planet’s future is being handed over to jumpy Wall Street traders and unstable and untested financial schemes, the room would get silent.

“I’ve been waiting for someone to ask that question,” was the measured response Rachel Kyte, VP of Sustainable Development at the World Bank, gave to a query about the carbon price and long-term viability of carbon markets.  Responding to my question about when the Bank saw the “carbon market bubble bursting,” the Mexican undersecretary at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources chuckled and leaned forward to speak into the mic: “It already popped.”

Forging ahead, armed with ideology…and nothing much more

I spent my afternoon one Wednesday at a presentation which reviewed the recent World Bank publication, prepared at the request of G20 Finance Ministers, entitled “Mobilizing Sources of Climate Finance.”  Featuring an all-star cast of representatives from the French Finance ministry, the US Treasury Department, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, panelists discussed different methods of finance generation and emissions pricing instruments.

In the Question and Answer segment, I raised the point that the documents we’d been handed by the IMF, as well as the majority of the comments made by the presenters, claimed that there was no real difference between a carbon tax or emissions trading.  As I pointed out, experience shows otherwise.  Each of the presentations had acknowledged the major difficulties faced by emissions trading schemes, but then went on to advocate for the expansion of these complex schemes, equating them with a simple tax levied on carbon dioxide emissions.

The IMF rep took my question, and proceeded to lay out three detailed arguments of why a carbon tax is far more simple to implement, and more effective in bringing about structural changes than an emissions trading scheme.  He was nonchalant, and it was clear that this was his personal opinion, having been engaged in policy-making and having studied the matter.  But this contrasted with the “official line” we’d been fed only ten minutes earlier.  What gives?

What was clearly left out was mention that a carbon tax goes against the ‘official religion’ of the IMF or the World Bank, and increasingly, the United Nations environmental agencies.  Favoring the deregulation of business and financial activity, the opening up of borders to international trade, and the removal of ‘market-distorting’ subsidies (for housing, agriculture, or food, for example), neo-liberal economic policy and corporate globalization has been the dominant policy package of capitalism for over two decades, enforced through supra-national  entities like the World Trade Organization, the IMF, and the World Bank.  Through this lens of ‘market fundamentalism,’ any kind of tax is immediately seen as creating ‘market distortions,’ which will presumably cause the ghosts of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman to rise from the dead, not to mention those of Ronald Reagan and Margaret “There Is No Alternative” Thatcher, who were essential in implementing neoliberal policies in the 80′s in their home countries and abroad.

So, Question: How does the neoliberal economic religion approach the climate crisis, which has been dubbed “the greatest market failure the world has seen” by one prominent economist?

The answer, of course, is to create more markets.  From the Emissions Trading Scheme, or “Cap and Trade” approach, which dices up our common atmosphere into a patchwork of invisible property rights (‘rights to pollute’), then hands them over for bargain deals- although most of the time, for free- to the biggest polluters on the planet, to the nascent markets in financial securities backed by ‘ecosystem services,’ the priests of the neoliberal religion are spinning out increasingly desperate ways to maintain business as usual, while building the facade that they’re ‘solving the climate crisis.’  It would be humorous if it wasn’t all so depressing.

So, by now, one can see what some of the implications of a World Bank-controlled Green Climate Fund could be.  I’ve only touched on one aspect of the ‘green’ investment schemes getting underway, which run the gamut from new and improved GMO trees and organisms, to geoengineering, agrofuels and nanotechnology, all the way to money for more good-old massive dams, mega wind farms, and super-sized solar arrays.  And, of course, we’ll be sending Haliburton to rebuild infrastructure after that next super-typhoon, financed though the GCF’s Private Sector Facility using ‘adaptation’ finance.

Luckily, there’s a growing movement against the Bank’s involvement in global ecological finance and policy, information around which can be found here: www.worldbankoutofclimate.org.  As we move towards Rio+20, this issue will certainly gain more traction and energy.  Occupy the World Bank?

1.  www.carbonfinance.org

2.http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:23062384~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, REDD, UNFCCC, World Bank

Grassroots Report Back from the Durban Disaster: “2011 UN Climate Change Negotiations”

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project and GEAR (Global Economic Accountability Research) did a report back from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa last month.  The reportback was held on January 11th and filmed by Burlington, Vermont’s CCTV network.  The report back was organized by the Environmental Working Group of Occupy Burlington and Burlington Action Against Nukes.  Special thanks to Sophie and Peggy for organizing this.
From Center for Media and Democracy–CCTV:
Grassroots Report Back from the Durban Disaster: “2011 UN Climate Change Negotiations”
Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, along with Keith Brunner and Lindsey Gillies (all from VT); including special live-stream report from Jeff Conant in Oakland.  All five speakers were present at the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa last month.
(to watch the report back, click on the link below)

http://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/grassroots-report-back-durban-disaster-2011-un-climate-change-negotiations

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Green Economy, World Bank

Report Back from Durban, South Africa: Grassroots vs. the 1% at the UN Climate Negotiations

• Corporations control UN conference as Big NGOs attempt to stifle grassroots’ dissent 
 
• The Durban disaster marks the lost decade in the fight against climate change

Durban Day of Action in the streets. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

WHO: Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, along with Keith Brunner and Lindsey Gillies (all from VT); including special live-stream report from Jeff Conant in Oakland.  All five speakers were present at the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa last month.

WHERE: Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street, Burlington, VT from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  Free and open to the public.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 11th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

The UN Climate Conference in Durban took place from November 28th to December 10th  2011

Sponsored by: Burlington Action Against Nukes and the Environmental Action Group of Occupy Burlington

Notes: Both Petermann and Brunner were carried out of the talks by UN security, ejected from the UN grounds and turned over to the South African police for staging an unpermitted sit-in protest of the corporate take-over of the negotiations. Gillies was also ejected. See  http://wp.me/pDT6U-3hX

The entire two weeks in Durban were marred with controversy, which included the corporate takeover of the UN climate talks, heavy handed security measures to prevent civil society participation in the talks, and the attempt by “Big Green” Non Governmental Organizations (i.e. Greenpeace and 350.org) to control a major “Occupy” protest there.  This attempted control of dissent prompted Petermann to write a controversial critique of the big NGOs, titled “Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the Big Green Patriarchy.”  See http://wp.me/pDT6U-3iE

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization

Mexico can’t see the wood for the trees

Note: This article arose out of the heated debates on REDD (the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme) at the UN Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico in 2010.  GJEP actively campaigned against REDD there and supported the important work of our Indigenous allies who were there to oppose REDD.  As a result, GJEP is quoted opposing REDD in the article below.

Another outcome of our work against REDD in Cancun is a new video documenting opposition to REDD by Indigenous peoples, forest dependent communities and Northern communities all of whom are negatively impacted by REDD.  This video, “A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests,” which we co-produced with Global Forest Coalition, will be officially released on the 16th of January.”

–The GJEP Team

Cross-Posted from Le Monde Diplomatique (English Edition)

January 2012 Edition

An indigenous community in Mexico wants to drop protected conservation status for its area because it feels it has lost real control of its land and way of life. Concern about carbon emissions is blinding policy makers to the failures of some of their conservation policies

by Anne Vigna

“That’s the one,” said Arcenio Osorio, pointing at the huge mountain that towers over the village of Santiago Lachiguiri, in Oaxaca state, part of southwestern Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec. “It provides water to all the towns in the area, and to us, the Zapotec people, it’s sacred. That’s the mountain we wanted official protection for.” Osorio is secretary of the community assembly, a traditional elected body that represents the people of the village. The 8,000 inhabitants of the county have always been involved in the conservation of their mountain, the Cerro de las Flores (“Mountain of the Flowers”). An official from the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) told me it is classed as an area of “exceptionally high biodiversity” due to the “excellent state of preservation of its ecosystem”.

In the valleys at the foot of the mountain, they grow organic coffee. The slopes are covered with little woods and patches of maize, but after several hours of walking and clambering you come to forests of pine trees, under which grow hundreds of species of wild flowers. Because of its altitude (2,200 metres) and the rock it is made of, the mountain acts as a kind of sponge, which stores the greater part of the area’s water supply.

Cerro de las Flores is a textbook case of conservation policy. In August 2003 it became Mexico’s first “voluntary community preserved area”. My source said Conanp defines this as an area protected by a “conservation mechanism put in place at the request of the local community, that protects the area’s natural riches and offers sustainable economic alternatives to its inhabitants”. According to Conanp, 207,887 hectares of land are managed in this way in Mexico. But at the meeting of the community assembly in January 2011, the people of Santiago Lachiguiri voted to drop the area’s “preserved area” status. “The government deceived us,” explained Osorio. “We are still the legitimate owners of the land, but we have lost control of it.”

Osorio was clearly irritated, and with some justification. The village’s land commissioner, Enan Eduardo, explained his choice of words: “We discovered that the certification of the 1,400 hectares of Cerro de las Flores entailed a conservation period of 30 years, rather than the five years we had agreed on when we voted.” Did that imply deception, and loss of control? “The conservation policy means we also have to change our production methods, even if it makes no sense in ecological terms.”

Certifying land involves the establishment of a development plan, preceded by a diagnostic survey; non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government institutions (Mexico’s ecology ministry and Conanp) handle both tasks. The process is supposed to begin with “participatory workshops”, to inform the local inhabitants and allow them to make their opinions heard and take part in decision-making. But in Santiago Lachiguiri this procedure, seen as essential for the success of any conservation initiative, wasn’t followed correctly. Conanp insists the local inhabitants participated and were properly informed. Osorio said: “We went everywhere with them, and answered all their questions. But we had no idea what they were planning.”

Slash and burn

As a result, the conservation area ended up including the flanks of the mountain, where 140 smallholders had been growing maize. A further 517 hectares were included in the “payment for environmental services” programme, under which agricultural activities are forbidden, but the community receives an annual payment of 400 pesos (US$30) per hectare, that is $15,510 a year. It’s not much — and less than they were making from farming the land. The conservation plan also described a range of activities that would supposedly enhance the area’s resources without damaging the environment. The two flagship projects were an ecotourism initiative and a water-bottling plant. Both were abandoned after four years. Two cabins intended to accommodate tourists were never used — this remote area attracts few visitors — and the cost of transporting the bottled water proved prohibitive.

But it was farming that stirred up the most trouble. The local community practised slash-and-burn cultivation (land is cleared, burned and then planted every seven years). The ash serves as a natural fertiliser and the wood is used as cooking fuel. Typical crops are maize, beans, tomatoes and peppers.

Anthropologist Eckart Boege says that, when properly managed, according to strict rules, itinerant cultivation is the best way of farming without destroying the environment; the Mayas were masters of this technique, in both production and reforestation. But Mexican and international institutions have identified this farming method as the latest big threat and they all want a ban on burning, since carbon capture has become the central element of conservation policies. Slash-and-burn has in fact caused environmental damage in Mexico, leading to deforestation, soil impoverishment, water shortages and reduced biodiversity.

But this is not the case with land occupied by indigenous peoples such as the inhabitants of Santiago Lachiguiri, who have established strict community rules (1). “If it’s properly used, the technique can actually increase the biological diversity and mass of the forest. We release CO2 by burning, but we capture more during the regeneration phase,” explained Alvaro Salgado, agronomist and author of a study on slash-and-burn. These facts have been recognised in scientific publications but are denied by Conanp, which is busy imposing another project on the village — agro-forestry, a system that integrates trees into a system of permanent cultivation, in this case apricot trees and maize. The results have failed to convince the locals. In three years, the soil has become impoverished and the trees are scrawny. “Since the maize yields were poor, Conanp advised us very early on to use chemicals to enrich the soil,” said Eduardo. Another result was that most of the 140 smallholders who had lost their land left the village. Some emigrated to the US, some moved to the city, some went to work on a motorway construction site, and the youngest joined the army after a recruitment campaign.

The villagers demanded the removal of the mountain’s protected area status and an end to the payments for environmental services. They also sent two representatives to the Alternative Global Forum that was held at Cancún in December 2010 in parallel with the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16). Their aim was to denounce the conservation policies that were being imposed. Their testimony was of the highest importance: it was COP 16 that approved the agreement on forest conservation proposed at COP 13, in Bali in 2007 — the REDD (Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Degradation) programme.

Unable to agree on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the signatories hoped that REDD would kill two birds with one stone, cutting emissions by 15% while preventing deforestation. Diego Rodriguez from the World Bank had no doubts REDD would enable the world to prepare for climate change.

’We want to be able to say no’

Yet REDD shows little concern for the 300 million people across the world who depend on forests for their living. The programme is based on “compensation”: any business enterprise or country that pollutes can compensate for its greenhouse gas emissions (quantified in terms of tons of carbon) by “protecting” a forest. Advocates of REDD claim this approach is scientific but it does not appear to have convinced everyone. Research by Stanford University in California shows that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change overestimated the amount of carbon stocked in a forest in Peru by one-third (2).

Anne Petermann of the NGO Global Justice Ecology Project says the idea that carbon can be stocked implies a ban on the felling of trees. Indigenous groups are opposed to REDD, she says, because they believe it will inevitably displace communities or have a serious impact on their way of life, without doing anything to reduce pollution or climate change. Representatives of indigenous peoples, who came to Cancún in large numbers, hoped to impose a requirement that free, prior and informed consent be obtained before the implementation of any REDD project. “We want to be able to say no if a company wants to use our territory to compensate for carbon emissions,” said Onel Masardule, representative of the Kuna people of Panama.

But REDD’s final text merely refers to “social and environmental safeguards”, which have yet to be defined. It mentions the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (which says that “indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources”), but the declaration isn’t binding. Two recent reports (3) on respect for indigenous peoples in REDD programmes indicate that the land rights of local inhabitants and principles of consultation and information have been systematically flouted.

Over the past six years, a range of projects have been financed by enterprises (Shell and Gazprom in Indonesia, BP in Bolivia, and Rio Tinto in Australia), by countries (Norway in Brazil and Indonesia, France in Mexico) and special funds belonging to international institutions such as the World Bank and UN agencies. The Cancún Agreements did not decide how the REDD programme was to be financed but the idea, still championed by the World Bank, of offering REDD carbon credits on the global emissions market already seems less viable.

It is now accepted that the markets have done nothing to help reduce carbon emissions or to promote the financing of a less polluting economy. Kate Dooley, an expert on forests at the NGO Fern, says carbon trading does not encourage people to use less carbon but gives the illusion that it’s possible to compensate for pollution. She fears that if REDD were to become part of the carbon trading market, there could be a wave of land speculation based on assigning a “carbon value” to forests. But the so-called developed nations, which are historically responsible for climate change, have refused to finance REDD alone. A decision on the issue has therefore been put off until COP 17, to be held in Durban, South Africa, 28 November—9 December 2011.

All the World Bank reports stress that public money will not be enough to finance the establishment of REDD; private funding is also needed — estimates range from $15bn to $50bn per year, but the funds currently available amount to only $2bn. And a question remains: what is to be done about the smallholders who want to continue growing maize while conserving some of their land? At COP 16, Mexico’s president Felipe Calderón declared: “We will pay the smallholders to plant trees instead of maize on the mountain, and live on payments they will receive for environmental services.”

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, REDD, UNFCCC

KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles Interview with GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann on the Durban Disaster

Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann was interviewed on the Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod on KPFK on Thursday, January 5 about the outcomes from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa and the civil society protests there.

To listen, click on the link below and scroll to minute 37:56:

http://archive.kpfk.org/mp3/kpfk_120105_070010sojourner.MP3

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute every Tuesday and weekly interviews with activists on key environmental and ecological justice issues every Thursday.  In addition, during major events such as the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, we organize daily interviews Tuesday through Friday.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC

Report Back from Durban, South Africa: Grassroots vs. the 1% at the UN Climate Negotiations

The March outside of the Conference of Polluters in Durban. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

Burlington, VT–Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann,  Orin Langelle and Jeff Conant along with Keith Brunner and Lindsey Gillies will give a report back from last month’s controversial UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa on Wednesday, January 11, at the Fletcher Free Library Community Room in Burlington, Vermont from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  All five presenters were in Durban for the climate negotiations.

Fletcher Free Library is located at 235 College Street in Burlington, VT.  Burlington Action Against Nukes and the Environmental Action Group of Occupy Burlington are sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.

“The Durban disaster marks the lost decade in the fight against climate change,” said Anne Petermann, Executive Director of GJEP, whose international office is in Hinesburg, VT. “These talks accomplished nothing except to delay any implementation of a UN plan to stop climate change until 2020,” she stated.

Both Petermann and Brunner were carried out of the talks by UN security, ejected from the UN grounds and turned over to the South African police for staging an unpermitted sit-in protest of the corporate take-over of the negotiations. [1] Gillies was also ejected.

Earlier that week, photojournalist Orin Langelle, on assignment for Z Magazine, had his camera shoved into his face by a UN security officer because Langelle was taking a photograph of the officer ejecting a person who was giving an interview to the media following a UN-approved Global Justice Ecology Project press conference. This incident led Langelle to file a formal complaint against UN security. [2] Langelle will show his documentary photographs of the “Durban Disaster” at the upcoming event.

Jeff Conant, Global Justice Ecology Project’s Communications Director who was also present in Durban, will take part via live-stream from the GJEP Oakland, CA office to discuss the perspectives of other climate justice groups on the Durban negotiations.

The entire two weeks in Durban were marred with controversy, which included the corporate takeover of the UN climate talks, heavy handed security measures to prevent civil society participation in the talks, and the attempt by “Big Green” Non Governmental Organizations (i.e. Greenpeace and 350.org) to control a major “Occupy” protest there.  This attempted control of dissent prompted Petermann to write a controversial critique of the big NGOs, titled “Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the Big Green Patriarchy.” [3]

Notes:

[1] Global Justice Ecology Project Director Anne Petermann Ejected from COP17   http://wp.me/pDT6U-3hX

[2] Formal Complaint Filed Against UN Security Actions in Durban  http://wp.me/pDT6U-3jy

[3] Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the ‘Big Green’ Patriarchy   http://wp.me/pDT6U-3iE

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, UNFCCC

Photo Essay: UN Climate COP: Corporate Exhibitionism (parting shots)

Note:  Anne Petermann and I went to our first UNFCCC COP (Conference of the Polluters) in 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  One  of my first observations was that this was a bizarre trade show–from ‘clean coal’ to ‘clean nuclear’ to a clean way to get fucked.  Smile.  I was not impressed.  Well,  going into the exhibition center was more exciting than the plenaries packed with, for the most part,  suited charlatans. Fast forward to Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen, Cancún and now all the way  to Durban, South Africa; and guess what?–the 1% have been and still are in control (for now). But one of the good things that has happened over these years is that the resistance has risen from a couple of handfuls of us to thousands.  It is evident to GJEP that the COP process is nothing more than the rich figuring out how to make more money off Mother Earth and her inhabitants under the guise of addressing climate change.  So this photo essay, with text by Anne Petermann, is my parting shot to this entire unjust, racist, classist, land-grabbing COP crap.  No to the next meeting in Dubai and yes to mobilization for the Peoples Summit during Rio +20.  GJEP will continue to support the social movements, Indigenous Peoples and those who struggle for justice. Please enjoy the trade show photos and note that the last two photos in this series show the discrepancy between the 1% and the 99%.  Orin Langelle for the GJEP Team.

All photos:  Langelle/GJEP       Captions:  Anne Petermann

The Road to Rio.  “Wait, I think we spelled that wrong–isn’t it supposed to be “Greed Economy”?

“Ohm…no Fukushimi…Ohm…no Fukushima…”

” Look into the blank screen… You are feeling sleepy…Join us…join us…join us…repeat after me…I believe in the green economy…Robert Zoellick is a nice guy…REDD will save the forests…The World Bank’s mission is poverty alleviation…”

What the World Bank said…

“Carbon bubble, what carbon bubble?  A ton of carbon is supposed to be cheaper than a pizza.  Isn’t a pizza made of carbon?  It all makes sense to me!”
“With the Green Economy we can even make fabrics out of tree pulp!  Fabulous Fashions From Foliage!  Yummy Eucalyptus unitards! Perky Plantation Pant Suits!  Thank God for the Green Economy!”
“We help cool down climate change by logging tropical forests…What, you gotta problem with that?”

“We magically transform ancient tropical forests into biodiesel plantations!.  Birds love ’em!  (F*#k the orangutans).”

” Oooo…that panda makes me so hot…”

People need nature to thrive–which is why we have to protect nature from them!

“These charts clearly show that it’s the NGOs that are responsible for carbon emissions.  That’s why we have to ban NGOs from the climate talks; if there were no NGOs there would be no climate change.  Listen to me.  I’m a white guy and I know.”

“Screw you anti-capitalist NGO bastards. Market-based schemes like the CDM are the best solution to climate change!  So what if they don’t reduce carbon emissions.  Piss off.”

How the 1% live.  The pretentious Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban was host to the World Climate Summit, 3-4 December, which was a high-level and high-security event where business, finance and government leaders met to celebrate the glory of their green-ness with events like “The Gigatonne Award” for whatever company’s PR campaign was the biggest pile of “green” manure.

 The following week the corporate conference sponsors offered side events for UN government delegates on the theme of “Advancing Public-Private Partnerships for REDD+ and Green Growth” i.e. how to ensure profit-making as usual in the face of ecological collapse and rising public outrage.

How the 99% live.  This tent was where the delegation met that came to Durban with La Via Campesina, the world’s largest peasant organization.  Their slogan, Small Farmers Cool the Planet, confronts the myth that governments and the UN will take care of climate change for us and promotes the idea that bottom up, small scale, community-controlled and bioregionally appropriate solutions are what is needed. The building behind the tent was where La Via slept and ate meals–not as pretentious as the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel, but the people were real.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Geoengineering, Land Grabs, Nuclear power, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, REDD, UNFCCC