Tag Archives: human rights

KPFK Weekly Earth Segment Featuring Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian Environmental Activist

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod and the Sojourner Truth show at KPFK Pacifica in Los Angeles for weekly Earth Segments and weekly Earth Minutes.

This week’s Earth Segment features Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria, West Africa, on the Niger Delta oil disaster and on the move to replace fossil fuels with biofuels.

To listen to the Earth Segment, go to the following link and click on minute 15:35.

March 29, 2012 Earth Segment on KPFK

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Pollution, Water

UN denies security used undue force when smashing camera into photographer’s face

Admit clown involved in incident

Official UN response below

Note:  The controversy regarding the incident of an unidentified UN security officer assaulting accredited photographer Orin Langelle with his own camera continues.  As you will see in the official response from UN Media Relations Officer John Hay below, the UN is engaging in the same sort of coverup we have seen from the city of Oakland and elsewhere, where security forces have reacted violently to nonviolent protesters or journalists.

It reflects what we at GJEP have asserted in the past and continue to.  The UN is controlled by the corporate elite–the 1%–and do not want unruly protesters or independent journalists interfering in their attempt to snow the global public into thinking they are addressing the climate crisis.  They are not.  The are laying the groundwork for enhanced corporate profit at the expense of the rest of the planet.

This particular battle with the UN is not over.  We refuse to allow the UN’s repression of journalists to go unchallenged–especially when the UN insists that they “are keen to facilitate media reporting …[and]… to treat all participants with respect.”

Walking up to a photographer, grabbing his camera and shoving it into his face is an odd way to demonstrate “respect.”

-Anne Petermann for the GJEP Team

For a description of the incident and the UN’s “facilitation of media reporting,” go to: Addendum: Formal Complaint Filed Against UN Security Actions in Durban

Official Response from the UN Climate Change Secretariat

Date: 2 February, 2012

Dear Mr. Langelle,

Apologies for the late reply.  We take any allegations of undue use of force on the part of UN security staff seriously.  After undertaking a thorough investigation, we are unable to confirm that there was at any time undue use of force by UN security personnel directed against members of the media in Durban.

We have been made aware of an incident involving a participant dressed up as a clown; an incident which you have also mentioned.  Our investigations indicate that it was necessary to clear a passage within the conference center that was being obstructed, in the interest of the safety of all participants and in the interest of the smooth operation of the conference.  At no time was undue force applied in the exercise.

It is not the policy of the UN Climate Change Secretariat to obstruct the reporting of journalists in any way.  On the contrary, the secretariat is keen to facilitate media reporting in the designated public spaces, as long as safety concerns are respected.  And it is the policy UN security to treat all participants with respect and not to apply undue force in the dischare of their functions.

We continue to take any such allegations seriously, and thank you for your letter.

Yours sincerely,

John Hay

Media Relations Officer

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Political Repression, UNFCCC

KPFK Earth Minute: Occupy in 2012 and Indigenous Response to the Occupy Movement

This week’s Earth Minute addresses the Occupy Movement mobilization in Oakland, California last weekend, as well as a gathering of Indigenous leaders in Toronto on January 23rd in which the meaning of the word “occupy” to Indigenous People was discussed.

To listen to the Earth Minute, go to the link below and scroll to minute 40:07

Earth Minute 1/31/12

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

Text from this week’sEarth Minute:

Earth Minute for Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This past weekend, Occupy Oakland rose up to take over a vacant building and transform it into a new community center.  They were met with brutal police repression.  Four hundred people were arrested.

One week ago, in Toronto, Indigenous leaders came together for an event called “Occupy Talks: Indigenous Perspectives on the Occupy Movement.”  During this event they acknowledged the crucial role this movement is filling.  But they also questioned use of the word “occupy” in its name; pointing out that for indigenous Peoples fighting the occupation of their homelands, Occupy implies injustice.

Tom Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network explained that economic injustice is perpetuated by the same system that is marginalizing and oppressing Indigenous Peoples; and that far from being broken, this system is functioning exactly as it was intended.  Understanding this allows us to build a movement that will fundamentally change this deadly system of inequality into one that serves not just all people, but all living things.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann, from Global Justice Ecology Project.

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Filed under Climate Change, Earth Minute, Indigenous Peoples

Second Attempt: Formal Complaint Filed Against UN Security Actions in Durban

Hand of the unidentified UN security guard smashing my camera into my face because I took a photograph of him escorting a UN accredited delegate dressed as a clown out of the UN compound after the clown spoke at a press conference and was being interviewed by media. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Note: On 16 December 2011 I filed a Formal Complaint Filed Against UN Security Actions in Durban, South Africa during the UN climate talks held there; specifically about an incident regarding  an unidentified uniformed officer. The officer shoved my camera into my face to prevent me from documenting the detention and expulsion of a UN-accredited delegate that occurred on 8 December 2011.  I was covering the UN climate talks and was officially accredited by the UN as media on assignment for Z Magazine.On 20 December 2011 I received an email from Elke Hoekstra, UN Communications and Knowledge Management, stating that my complaint was received and “We will look into this matter and come back to you in due course.” Today I contacted Ms Hoekstra via an email below.  Orin Langelle

Dear Ms Hoekstra,

On 16 December 2011 I lodged a formal complaint against the UNFCCC for the treatment I received from one unidentified uniformed officer just after noon on 8 December 2011 during COP 17 in Durban, South Africa.  I was officially accredited by the UNFCCC during COP 17 as media.  I was on assignment for Z Magazine.

On 20 December 2011 you replied to that complaint, “We will look into this matter and come back to you in due course.”

It has now been over a month since I filed my complaint and I feel that the UNFCCC has not responded to me in “due course.”

Please take notice, that I am contacting my attorney in regards to filing a legal charge of assault against the unidentified uniformed officer.

I would hope that the UNFCCC takes this matter seriously now and responds immediately to my complaint.


Orin Langelle

Langelle Photo

P.O. Box  412  Hinesburg, VT  05461  U.S.  GMT -5:00

Member of the National Writers Union and the International Federation of Journalists

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, 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


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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

A Tribute to “The Red Mayor of Santa Cruz”

¡Bert Muhly Presente!

by Orin Langelle, Co-director/Strategist for Global Justice Ecology Project

From left to right: Anne Petrmann, Bert Muhly, Lois Muhly and Orin Langelle. GJEP file photo Santa Cruz, CA 2008

Note: Bert Muhly passed from this Earth on December 16, 2011.  He was 88 years old. Bert was a friend, colleague and comrade to Global Justice Ecology Project since its inception and prior when both Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle worked with different organizations.  And the same can be said of his surviving wife, Lois.  Bert and Lois were married 65 years and lived in Santa Cruz, CA for the past 50.  The staff and board of GJEP send their sincere condolences to the Muhly family.-The GJEP Team

On July 19, 1979 I was in the Florida Keys when I heard the news that the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) overthrew the US backed Anastasio Somoza regime in Nicaragua.  ¡Viva Nicaragua Libre!  I didn’t know it at the time, but that day and revolution led me to the Nicaragua Network and subsequently to Nicaragua many times in the 1990s thru the early 2000s (even though the Sandinistas lost governance of Nicaragua by then through a counter-revolutionary “Contra” war sponsored by the US).   I doubt if I would have ever met Bert Muhly if it wasn’t for the Sandinistas.

I’m not sure when I first met Bert and Lois.  It could have been in Vermont one year when the Nicaragua Network had a National Leadership meeting on a cold and rainy weekend at Wheelock Farm.  It could have been in Washington, DC where Nicaragua Network has its national office or it could have been in Santa Cruz at another Nicaragua Network event.  Sometimes it’s easier for me to remember the circumstances instead of the exact place where an event happened.

Wherever it was, meeting Bert was an event.  Bert seemed larger than life in many ways.  And Bert liked to talk a lot.  I remember Lois nudging him several times at meetings, giving him a ‘please shut up Bert’ look.  When I started to know Bert, it was evident that he was fired with compassion and revolutionary love.

Santa Cruz Sentinel:  Muhly traveled more than two dozen times to Nicaragua, including once to deliver a donated ambulance to Santa Cruz’s sister city of Jinotepe. He was strongly opposed to the Contra movement of the 1980s, which was backed by President Ronald Reagan’s administration to battle the Sandanistas after an overthrow of the country’s dictator.

Our friendship grew over the years and both Anne Petrmann and I had the pleasure of staying at Bert and Lois’ house several times.  It was a political house.  There was no way it could not have been.  Bert had been active in local politics since he and Lois moved to Santa Cruz and for years served on it’s City Council before he became vice mayor and then mayor.  To many people in California, Bert was known as “The Red Mayor of Santa Cruz.”  Bert was proud to be known for that he once told me.  He was also proud when he showed me a photograph of him shaking hands with an elderly gentleman.  He asked me if I knew who the man was or where the photo was taken.  I didn’t.  Bert said, “The photo was taken in Cuba and the man was Che Guevara’s father.”

Many Sandinistas and supporters passed through the Muhly home over the years.  Bert and Lois organized numerous Nicaragua Network national meetings in Santa Cruz.  I never heard anyone complain when it was decided the meetings would be in Santa Cruz.  Yes, there was the business of the network to discuss, but Bert, Lois and their friends knew how to throw a fiesta during the evenings.

I even had a photo show at the Muhly’s during one of the Nica Net meetings.  The front part of the house had my traveling Corporate Globalization vs Global Justice Guerrilla Photo Exhibit [archived web page] one evening in the latter part of 2004.  On another evening during the meetings, we showed a ten-minute promo video of A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees.  That promo, narrated by Dr. David Suzuki, was shown weeks later in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Bert and Lois along with Three Americas (more later), Steve Leinau from Earth Links and Raindancer Media‘s Ed Schehl produced the award winning A Silent Forest video that is still being shown today.  Global Justice Ecology Project was the expert consultant for the video.

Genetically engineered trees and crops were some of the latest egregious schemes that Bert wanted to stop. Bert was always concerned about the Earth we live on and what ‘development’ means.

Santa Cruz Sentinel: The former UC Santa Cruz and San Jose State University professor was remembered…as a passionate and diligent activist who, as part of the vanguard of California environmentalists in the 1960s, contributed to legislation that created the powerful Coastal Commission that now governs development along 1,100 miles of the state’s shoreline.

Muhly was an instructor in the environmental studies program at UC Santa Cruz and later the graduate planning program at San Jose State University, for a total of 19 years. He retired from San Jose State as professor emeritus in 1989 but maintained an active voice in local land use issues.

Bert was the co-founder of Three Americas which had its roots in the Santa Cruz Coalition for Nicaragua.  Bert told me that he and others, while Nicaragua and its peoples would always be in their hearts, felt that it was time to look at all of the Americas, as the problems of globalization, militarism, Indigenous Peoples’ struggles and all of the ills of Capitalism continue to worsen and impact peoples and the environment throughout the Hemisphere.

The accomplishments of Three Americas are too numerous to go into detail, but they include work with coffee cooperatives in Guatemala, land rights issues with the Rama Indigenous Peoples in Nicaragua, and many more projects.

I know those who met and worked with Bert are honored to have been in his presence.  I know I am.  The last time I saw Bert was in February of last year.  Anne Petermann and I had lunch with Bert and Lois at their home.  Bert was as committed and determined as ever to the struggle.  He bombarded us with a long list of projects that needed to be done and ideas to fulfill to make the world a better place for all–now it’s up to us to carry on.

Earth Links:  Bert Muhly’s Legacy

As an original member of the Santa Cruz Coalition for Nicaragua, and then founding board member of Three Americas, Inc., Bert Muhly personified the spirit of people-to-people exchanges, which reach across great distances to bind together those who would protect our environment and our most vulnerable citizens. This work is a wonderful example of what a few committed individuals can accomplish, even against long odds, when they work together.

¡Bert Muhly Presente!

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Latin America-Caribbean

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]


[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