Tag Archives: green economy

Rio Earth Summit: tragedy, farce, and distraction

By Anne Petermann, September 2012.  Source: Z Magazine

As I flew to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 12 for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)—the 20-year anniversary of the historic “Rio Earth Summit”—I read an article in the Financial Times titled “Showdown Looms at OPEC After Saudi Arabia Urges Higher Output.” The article explained that Saudi Arabia was urging OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to increase their output of oil in order to ensure that the global price of oil would not exceed $100 per barrel in order to “mitigate the risks that high oil prices pose to the global economy.”

The article pointed out that ensuring the health of the global economy requires expanding oil production. This, as we know, will worsen the climate crisis. The takeaway message of the article, therefore, is that the global economy will only thrive by destroying the life support systems of the planet.

At the Rio Earth Summit, this was also the underlying logic of the so-called “green economy” proposals that have polarized and paralyzed the talks since the first preparatory meeting for Rio+20 in May 2010.

According to Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, who wrote about the Rio+20 summit’s preparatory meetings for the Guardian back in March 2011, “Far from cooking up a plan to save the Earth, what may come out of the summit could instead be a deal to surrender the living world to a small cabal of bankers and engineers. Tensions are already rising between northern countries and southern countries…and suspicions are running high that the…‘green economy’ is more likely to deliver a greenwash economy or the same old, same old ‘greed’ economy.”

At the Rio+20 summit, industrialized countries and multinational corporations, accompanied by institutions like the IMF and World Bank, led the push for development of the green economy—that is, to use the very ecological devastation caused by global capitalism to create markets in so-called “environmental services” by turning them into tradable commodities. These new markets would help prop up the global economy in a greenwashed version of business as usual.

“Environmental services,” provided by intact natural ecosystems—which include such things as the storage of carbon, the purification of air and water, and the maintenance of biodiversity—would be given a monetary value in the market, enabling them to be purchased and supposedly protected. In reality, however, it would allow companies to destroy a biodiverse ecosystem in one area, by purchasing the protection of an equivalent ecosystem.

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Land Grabs, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Rio+20

Earth Audio podcasts: Achim Steiner of UNEP and Pat Mooney of the ETC Group at the Rio+20 Peoples’ Summit

Achim Steiner, head of UNEP defends his model of the Green Economy while ETC Group’s Pat Mooney looks on.

At a panel session at the Peoples’ Summit, Pat Mooney of the Canadian technology watchdog organization ETC Group challenges UN Environment Program Director Achim Steiner’s concept of the green economy. Mooney says the model would hand control of the world’s biomass over to the same corporations and financial institutions responsible for the current ecological and financial chaos. June 16, 2012.

click here to listen/download

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Filed under Earth Radio, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Rio+20

Rio+20 Alternative Peoples’ Summit opens today: People of the world vs. the “green economy” and global economic foreclosure

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Today is the opening day of the Cupola dos Povos–the alternative Peoples’ Summit for Environmental and Social Justice in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It was pulled together by Brazilian groups and is being attended by social movements, Indigenous Peoples, activists and organizations from all over the world who are coming together to identify real solutions to the multiple and rising crises we face as humans on planet Earth.  The summit was organized in direct opposition to the official UN circus known as the Rio+20 Conference for Sustainable Development.  More aptly it would be called the Rio+20 Conference for the greenwashing of Business as Usual.

As I flew to Rio on 12 June, I read an article in the Financial Times titled “Showdown Looms at OPEC After Saudi Arabia Urges Higher Output.”  The article explained how Saudi Arabia is urging OPEC to increase their output of oil in order to ensure that the global price of oil does not exceed US$100/barrel in order to “mitigate the risks that high oil prices pose to the global economy.”

The insane logic of expanding oil production in the face of mounting climate chaos in order to help rescue the global economy accurately reflects the mindset behind the negotiations around the UN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit, set to start next week here in Rio.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Rio+20, World Bank

Radio Hour: Keystone XL Pipeline Decision, Analysis of the Durban Disaster, Preparing for Rio+20

The KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show on January 19th hosted a special hour-long Earth Segment devoted to discussing the announcement of the Obama Administration that it was rejecting the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, as well as analyzing the outcomes of last month’s UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, and what comes next for the climate change movement with the Rio+20 Earth Summit to be held in Rio de Janiero in June.

Speakers on the show included Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network, Teresa Almaguer, Youth Program Director at PODER!, a member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, and Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project.

To listen to the hour-long show, go to: Sojourner Truth show Jan 19, 2012

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, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Rio+20, Tar Sands, UNFCCC

Corporate Clown Cast Out of Climate Circus


After a press event held by Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) at COP17 in Durban, South Africa today, one of the panelists, Kevin Buckland, was ejected from the Summit.

Kandi Mossett, Ricardo Navarro, and Clown. Photo: Conant/GJEP

His offence? Clowning around.

The press conference also included Desmond d’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Ricardo Navarro of Friends of the Earth El Salvador, Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project. The topic at hand was the failure of COP17 to meet the needs to the great majority of the world’s population, and social movements’ concerns that the looming emergence of the so-called “Green Economy” is bringing a wave of landgrabs, speculative bubbles, and the increasing commodification of all forms of life.

In a gesture intended to stimulate critical thought, to bring levity to the profoundly gloomy conclusions of the COP, and to garner media attention for the grassroots community perspectives that are summarily excluded from this high level global event, a team of clowns, with Buckland as their ringleader, were invited by GJEP to speak on the panel.

Buckland, who has been involved with Occupy COP17 as part of the youth delegation, began his statement to the media with the statement, “I have a dream. My dream is that one day corporations will be judged not for their actions, but for the amount of the earth’s surface that they control.”

Unfortunately, the United Nations failed to get the joke.

While being interviewed following the press conference, Buckland was grabbed and hauled away. His badge was taken, and he was barred from the International Conference Center.

See the interview here:

Photographer Orin Langelle, on assignment for Z Magazine (and, in full disclosure, also the co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project), followed the clown and his UN Police escort, and received his own share of rough treatment. UN Police “shoved the camera into my face,” says Langelle. The photographer’s vocal reaction, defending his status as a journalist, drew more attention by both UN Security and delegates.

The incident serves to reveal that, in the words of Andrea Palframan, one of the filmmakers who shot the video above, “these negotiations are so corporate controlled that there really is not place for civil society here anymore.”

The backstory, with analysis:

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Media, UNFCCC

UN Security Ejects Youth Delegate Dressed as Uncle Sam Clown; Tells Journalists to Delete Photos

Cross-Posted from GEAR (Global Economic Accountability Research) [Note: GEAR is a fiscally sponsored project of Global Justice Ecology Project]

(GEAR video of press conference below post)

December 8, 2011.
Durban, South Africa

At 12:15pm today, after a press conference hosted by Global Justice Ecology Project, a GJEP panelist dressed as a clown was de-badged and removed from the UNFCCC negotiations.

“Uncle Sam,” identified as Kevin Buckland, art ambassador for 350.org, was stopped in the middle of an interview immediately following the press conference and was escorted out of the building by security. Buckland has been appearing as “Uncle Sam,” the ringleader of a band of corporate clowns, at several outside rallies and events over the past two weeks of the UN climate talks here in Durban, South Africa.

Buckland was informed by UN security that he was breaking the NGO code of conduct, despite repeated affirmations that he was merely giving an interview, and not participating in an action.  This is only the latest in a string of incidents here at COP17 where civil society has been muzzled by “code of conduct” rules arbitrarily imposed by UN security.

Journalist Orin Langelle of Z Magazine and Global Justice Ecology Project was told by UNFCCC Security Guards to stop taking photos and had his camera shoved into his face. Two civil society observers had their cameras taken by security while filming the expulsion process.

Global Justice Ecology Project’s press release promised “…a strong denouncement of the Green Economy, and an end with a band of clowns blowing bubbles and highlighting the absurdity of the whole UNFCCC process.” Buckland, who has organized and performed numerous pieces of political street theatre, was invited to the press conference to provide a satirical view of the corporate capture of the UN climate process, and of the market schemes being advanced under the guise of the new “Green Economy.”

Other panelists during the press conference, including Desmond D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance,  Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project, Kandi Mosset of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Ricardo Nevarro of Friends of the Earth El Salvador, the former President of FOE International, were not bothered after the press conference. Buckland was the only panelist to appear in clown regalia.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Nuclear power, Posts from Anne Petermann

COP 17: Global Leaders Powerfully Denounce Green Economy; Expose its impacts on peoples and ecosystems

8 December 2011

* Clown Ejected and Photographer Assaulted by UN Security *

(video of press conference follows in next blog post)

GJEP ED Anne Petermann introduces the press conference. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Durban, South Africa–During a Global Justice Ecology Project press conference today at the UN Climate Conference COP 17, Indigenous Peoples, youth, social movement leaders and ecological justice activists gave powerful testimonies about the looming impacts of the “economic integration” of carbon offsets schemes across the world through the “Green Economy.”

Speakers condemned the Green Economy as a repeat of the failed and unjust dominant economic model, predicated on the expansion of the controversial REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) offset scheme to privatize and market the carbon stored in oceans, soils, agriculture, and biodiversity – that is, every entity on earth. They further explained how this emerging economic scheme will exacerbate impacts on communities already suffering from climate change, fossil fuel pollution, and false solutions to the climate crisis.

A team of clowns dressed as Uncle Sam and his economic advisors defended the 1% global elite that the Green Economy is designed to serve.

Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, who moderated the event, opened with a quote from Einstein. “Einstein famously said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. From that perspective, this COP is insane.”

Demond D'Sa. Photo: Langelle/ GJEP

Desmond D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance spoke next. “This conference of polluters has been a failure,” he declared. “It’s not going to assist the communities in South Durban or anywhere. Today as we sit inside this funeral parlor, we lament the deaths of our mothers, our children, and our families. The decisions we see coming out of here are in the interest of greed and corruption.” He closed his talk by invoking the anti-Apartheid call, “Amandla!” which means, ‘power to the people!’

Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance broke down in tears when she spoke of the mounting numbers of deaths on her home reservation in North Dakota, where natural gas fracking is destroying the water table and fracturing the community.

Referring to one of the key events of social movement groups at COP17 this week, Mossett said, “We called for a moratorium on REDD this week because this is the only thing that is going to save people – to stop these crazy policies.”

Ricardo Navarro, of Friends of the Earth El Salvador added, “Here at COP17, we are seeing nothing less than the moral collapse of governments. The politicians here do not represent us. We are the ninety nine percent, and we have to take the streets.”

Clowns, led by Uncle Sam, then took over the stage and spoke on behalf of the United States and the global elites.

“We are the ones that caused the climate crisis,” the clowns announced. “And we are the only ones that can solve it!

Uncle Sam and his economic clowns. Photo: Langelle/ GJEP

Referring to REDD, Uncle Sam declared, Forests are very messy. They contain many useless life forms. If they’re not good for the economy, I say get rid of them.”

When asked by the press, “What is your Plan B?”, Uncle Sam, portrayed by Kevin Buckland, a US-based activist and member of the Youth delegation, answered, “Mars.”

During follow up interviews in the hallway of the ICC, UN Security detained Buckland, in clown regalia, while being interviewed on camera. He was debadged and evicted for alleged violation of the UN code of Conduct. (Clown suits are not, apparently, in the dress code.)

While taking photos to document Buckland’s detention, Vermont-based photographer Orin Langelle, Co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, on assignment for Z Magazine, was assaulted by UN Security who shoved his camera in his face.

And so the United Nations Circus of Polluters begins to draw to its fractious end.

UN security detains a "de-clowned" Uncle Sam. Photo: Langelle/ GJEP

Note: Full Statements by Press Conference Participants below

Statement by Anne Petermann, Moderator, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Welcome everyone. We have invited climate justice allies from around the globe to join us at this press conference to highlight the inherent dangers of the Green Economy and explain why we are uniting to blockade the “road to Rio.”

Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” In that light, this UNFCCC COP process is insane.

But even more insane is the direction in which it is headed. Not only in terms of setting into motion mandates that will allow business as usual until the planet is cooked, but most of all by moving forward with this so-called ‘green economy.’

The logo of COP 17 is a perfect example of this disastrous economic system and this corrupt COP process. It is a giant dead tree, painted green that is smothering the Earth.

We’ve seen for centuries how the market system of transforming resources and human labor into capital for the 1% has impacted critical ecosystems and driven entire peoples into extinction. But now they want to expand this market. They want to take the disaster of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and expand that offset scheme to every plant, animal and ecosystem on Earth.

They are developing plans now for Blue REDD, Brown REDD, Yellow REDD, Green REDD, REDD in every color of the rainbow. They want to use the carbon stored by every entity on the planet–including not just forests, but oceans and biodiversity, soils and agriculture to offset pollution from industry in the North, so they can go on polluting.

Already we are confronted not only by the climate crisis, but also by the food crisis, the water crisis, the biodiversity crisis, and the crisis of the oceans. And the Green Economy, in squeezing control of the natural world into fewer and fewer hands of the 1% will exacerbate these problems and drive planet earth to the point where, as Native American activist and poet John Trudell said, “Civilized man may make survival by civilized man impossible.”

Statement by Desmond D’sa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance.

This Conference of Polluters has been a failure. It’s not going to assist the communities back home where I come from, or any communities anywhere in the world. Today as we sit inside this funeral parlor, we lament the deaths of our mothers, our children, and our families.

This funeral parlor has increased misinformation, it has withheld information, and it has not been transparent. The decisions are not in the interest of mankind, the decisions we see coming out of here are in the interest of greed and corruption.

We have to say to today in no uncertain terms, that the conference is a failure. It has wasted resources that could have been used to bring about better things in the world.

We the citizens of the world, the 99% we will continue to fight them in every corner of the world, we will continue to hold them accountable.

Speaking united with one voice we will continue to do this.

Down with the corrupt governments! Amandla!


Kandi Mossett. Photo: Langelle/ GJEP

Statement by Kandi Mosset, Indigenous Environmental Network and GGJA

Hello. I am Eagle woman

This is the seventeenth Conference of the Polluters. And what have they done in that time? Nothing!

I grew up on a reservation. We are watching our people die. While I was here my cousin died. He was only 36 years old. Heart attacks, cancers, asthma. Everybody is being affected by the dirty industries on the reservation–industries allowed to continue polluting because of offsets. Because of REDD.

We called for a moratorium on REDD because that is the only thing that is going to save people – to stop these crazy policies. As Indigenous Peoples, as traditional people, we know better than anybody, better than these high level people, how to live upon the land. We resist these people that say ‘we will make the decisions for you.’

I can’t tell you what it’s like to keep going to these funerals, when the coffins are getting smaller and smaller.

I’m not here to compare our struggles; I’m here to unite. Because there is strength in unity and we must unite.

Decolonize the COP and unoccupy the sky!

Ricardo Navarro. Photo: Langelle/ GJEP

Statement by Ricardo Navarro, Friends of the Earth El Salvador

We are here to express our disappointment. We are facing a big threat to the future of humanity. The scientists say they are guaranteeing a world that is 5 degrees warmer, by the end of the century.

To allow this to happen is criminal. Politicians are criminals for allowing this to happen. We are talking about the future of humanity, our sons, our daughters.

The message we are getting here is that politicians do not represent us.

We have to take the streets. We are the 99%, and we have to take the streets.

We are seeing nothing less than the moral collapse of governments.

Statement by Uncle Sam (clown Kevin Buckland):

Hello.  I am Uncle Sam.  I was pleased to be a part of the World Corporate Climate Summit, which I helped organize over the weekend here in Durban.  Oh yeah and the COP 17 whatever process.

But I’m here today at this press conference because I have a dream.  I have a dream that one day corporations will not be judged by the actions that they take, but by how much of the Earth’s surface they control.  But this dream is threatened.  It is threatened by regulation.  Human rights laws, environmental regulations, unions.  All of these stand in the way of progress.   It is not right.  It is not just.  We have paid good money to our government partners to ensure the outcomes of these talks, and by god, we mean to see those outcomes realized.  Neoliberalism must prevail or all life on earth will be threatened.  And by all life on earth, I mean, of course, the 1%.

Uncle Sam is interviewed by the media, shortly before being detained by UN security. Photo: Langelle/ GJEP

After all, we, the 1% have a very long track record, going back hundreds of years, of improving upon nature.  Nature is very slow and inefficient. For example, nature eliminates the weak and sick one individual at a time; where we eliminate entire ecosystems and peoples!  It is a much more efficient process.

With the Green Economy, we, the 1%, are now taking our experience and advancing it to the next level.   It’s like this COP 17 logo.  Note that it depicts a giant dead tree, painted green, that is covering the earth.  This is what we are about.  This is the progress we are moving toward.  Currently, forests are made up of living trees that take years to grow, must be cut down, debarked, and sawed into lumber or pulped for paper.  Forests are very messy, with lots of extraneous life forms and human communities that serve no purpose. With the green economy, we can use new technologies–geoengineering, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and genetic engineering –to develop trees that sprout from the earth, grow to a massive size, are perfectly square, and fall to the ground, ready for harvest.  And we will engineer them to be green so they will make people feel good.

It’s a win-win.  We eliminate the surplus human population and monopolize the planet’s resources, channeling them for the benefit of us, the 1%.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Land Grabs, REDD, Rio+20, UNFCCC

La Via Campesina Invites Allies to Share Perspectives in Durban

La Via Campesina, the largest federation of peasant farmers in the world, has brought a delegation of hundreds from across Africa to gatherings in and around the UNCOP 17 Climate Summit. As a federation of smallholder farmers and fisher groups, La Via Campesina opposes the kinds of top-down, market-driven policies promoted by the World Bank and the UN Climate Regime.

Yesterday we were invited, along with several of our friends and colleagues, to participate in a working session with La Via Campesina at their encampment near a highway overpass miles from the official summit.

Forthcoming, we hope to report on what La Via itself is doing here in Durban. For now, here are some snapshot portraits of GJEP’s allies and what they had to say yesterday. (Reporting: Jeff Conant. Photos Orin Langelle/GJEP)

“The talk now on the table at the COP is to base the Green Climate Fund on private investment. But if there is an investment, they need a return. What does that mean, a return on investment? It means the corporations, the private sector, and the financial industry want to set up the Green Climate Fund in a way that returns money to them. That’s why we call it the Greedy Corporate Fund.”

Lidy Nacpil, Jubilee South


“They say we are talking about the transition to a Green Economy – that capitalism has to turn green. This is like saying that a tiger is going to become a vegetarian.”

Lucia Ortiz, Rede, Brazil


“Before you trade anything, you have to determine, whose property is it? Before they can trade seeds, they have to determine, ‘who owns that seed?’. Some corporations own that seed. Well, who owns the carbon dioxide in the air? That’s what they are working out in the carbon markets and at these UN climate conventions. That’s why we call the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change the World Trade Organization of the Sky.”

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network


“More than half of the gases that cause global warming come from the industrial food system. They say the industrial food system feeds the world. It’s bad food, it’s toxic food, it’s not very nutritious, but they say, ‘we are feeding the world,’ so we have to live with it. Well guess what? They’re lying. The industrial food system produces 30 percent of the food. The other 2/3 is produced by small farmers and fishers. Now they say they will stop using all the oil. Don’t believe them. They will use every drop of oil. But with that excuse, they say now, they will make green fuels. They will make fuels out of biomass. What is biomass? It is forests, it is fields, it is your harvest. They want to use all of this to make their fuels.”

Sylvia Ribeiro, ETC Group


“The FAO and others have reduced agriculture to counting carbon and putting a price on it. The value of the carbon is added to the value of the water and the crops that could be grown on the land, and this makes it appealing to investors, which leads to land grabs. But today, a ton of carbon is worth about 3 euros – less than a pizza. This may explain the somber mood of the talks in Durban.”

Rachel Smolker, BiofuelWatch


Renaldo Chingori Joao, Member of the International Coordinating Committee of la Via Campesina, Mozambique

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Geoengineering, Green Economy