Tag Archives: tree plantation

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

Earth Minute for September 27: World Bank-Supported “Forest Protection” in Indonesia

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.

This week’s Earth Minute discusses the workshop on REDD at the World Bank’s annual meetings in Washington, DC.  To listen to the show, click here.

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

At the annual meetings of the World Bank in Washington, DC, last weekend, I attended a workshop organized by activists from Indonesia about the impacts of World Bank-supported forest conservation projects like REDD.  REDD is the scheme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation that is specifically designed to supposedly “offset” carbon emissions from Industrialized countries like the US by protecting forests in developing countries.

One of the presenters explained that unjust forest conservation projects in Indonesia are leading to violence that rivals the atrocities that occurred under the Suharto dictatorship.

Thousands of forest-based communities are being evicted from their lands by heavily armed forest rangers, paramilitaries and police, who force people to leave at gunpoint while their homes are burned to the ground.

But as one of the speakers pointed out, what is happening in Indonesia is not unique; these strong-arm tactics are happening around the world in the name of “protecting” forests for the purpose of offsetting pollution in Industrialized countries like the US

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

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GE Trees for Biofuels: Risk Assessment Lacking

NOTE: In the two articles below, we find the same old propaganda we’ve heard about GM trees (also called GE trees or GMO trees) since the late 1990s.  In the first article about GM poplars, there is once again there is no attention paid to the ecological impacts of the inevitable and irreversible genetic contamination of native poplar trees with the engineered traits from these “successful” GE poplars.  They are low-lignin, meaning they have been genetically engineered to supress natural lignin production.  So?  Well, no problem, except that lignin is what protects trees from disease, insect infestation, animal browsing, wind, etc.  Will these trees have so-called “stacked” genetic traits that also make them resistant to disease or insects?  If so, these trees could have a host of unpredictable effects, even on human health.  The health impact of inhaling pollen from trees genetically engineered to produce insecticide in every one of their cells has not been adequately studied.  Preliminary findings, however, reveal potentially serious problems.

Article two trumpets about the promise of GE eucalyptus for biofuels.  Again, no attention paid to the ecological impacts of releasing an invasive, flammable and water-sucking tree into the environment by the millions.

These “scientists” are very good at playing up the successes, but so very bad at assessing the risks–both ecological and social.

–Anne Petermann for the GJEP Team

From GENET News


SOURCE:  Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Belgium (VIB) http://www.vib.be/en/news/Pages/Initial-field-test-results-GM-poplars-bioethanol-yield-almost-doubled.aspx

DATE:    19.05.2011

SUMMARY: “The yield of bio-ethanol from the wood of GM poplar trees from a VIB field trial is up to 81% higher than non-modified poplars VIB-UGent researcher Wout Boerjan presented these results at the international conference “Bioenergy Trees” in Nancy, France. “This is just the beginning. The results of the field test confirm that we are on the right track. Further research will allow us to select poplar varieties that are even better suited for bio-ethanol production,‰ said Wout Boerjan from VIB and Ghent University.”


Nancy, France, May 19, 2011 – The yield of bio-ethanol from the wood of GM poplar trees from a VIB field trial is up to 81% higher than non-modified poplars VIB-UGent researcher Wout Boerjan presented these results at the international conference “Bioenergy Trees” in Nancy, France.

“This is just the beginning. The results of the field test confirm that we are on the right track. Further research will allow us to select poplar varieties that are even better suited for bio-ethanol production,” said Wout Boerjan from VIB and Ghent University.

To read the entire post, go to: http://globaljusticeecology.org/stopgetrees.php?tabs=2&ID=558

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees

Sojourner Truth Show on KPFK Pacifica Radio

Listen to Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator of the Stop GE Trees Campaign, discuss the BP oil spill, the climate change bill and the USDA approval of GMO tree plantations in the U.S. south.

Please click the link below:

KPFK Show 5:13:10

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Invasive GE Eucalyptus Threatens Southern Forests & Water

For Immediate Release            February 11, 2010

Contact: Dr. Neil Carman, Plant Scientist, Sierra Club +1.512.663.9594
Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project +1.802.578.0477
Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director, Dogwood Alliance +1.828.242.3596
George Kimbrell, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Food Safety +1.571.527.8618

Groups Force USDA to Re-release Draft Environmental Assessment on Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus Trees for Southern U.S. Forests: Original Assessment Lacked Key U.S. Forest Service Hydrological Studies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture re-released their draft environmental assessment [1] regarding a request by ArborGen, a subsidiary of timber giants International Paper and MeadWestvaco, to plant over a quarter of a million genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in so-called “test plots” across seven southern U.S. states. [2]

“If these invasive GE eucalyptus are planted across the South on this large of a scale, it is highly likely that fertile seeds will escape into surrounding forests,” said Dr. Neil Carman, a plant scientist with the Sierra Club.  “This is a major problem since eucalyptus is already known for its invasiveness.  Once they escape into the forests, there is no way to call them back.  It would be an ecological nightmare for southern forests.”

The environmental assessment was re-released by the USDA after groups concerned about the environmental impacts of transgenic eucalyptus trees pointed out that the assessment was missing key hydrological studies conducted by the U.S. Forest Service that directly refute the conclusions of the USDA’s draft environmental assessment which recommend approving ArborGen’s request.  The USFS studies point out that eucalyptus trees have heavy water requirements and can seriously impact ground and surface water reserves. [3]

The USDA is seeking public comments on their draft environmental assessment through February 18th, 2010. [4]

“In countries that are already suffering the impacts of large-scale eucalyptus plantations–like Brazil, Chile and South Africa–people have organized massive campaigns against them,” stated Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and North American representative of the Global Forest Coalition.  “This is because eucalyptus plantations have devastated forests and communities.  In Brazil, the Mata Atlantica forest has been all but wiped out by eucalyptus plantations.  In Chile, communities living near eucalyptus plantations have lost their access to fresh water.”

Other new information in the assessment reveals that some of the supposedly infertile engineered eucalyptus trees in existing field trials produced fertile seeds.  Eucalyptus is a non-native tree and numerous species of eucalyptus are already considered invasive.  This new transgenic (or GMO) eucalyptus has been engineered to tolerate colder temperatures giving it the potential for invading forest ecosystems throughout the South.

“I had hoped that the disaster of kudzu would have taught us the consequences of releasing invasive species into the environment,” agreed Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director for the Dogwood Alliance.  “Instead, ArborGen wants to release invasive GE eucalyptus trees.  Unlike kudzu, however, these trees are not only invasive, they are also highly flammable and use huge quantities of fresh water.  California is already spending millions to eradicate invasive and flammable eucalyptus trees.  We do not want these invasive trees to be mass-planted in the South.”

The STOP GE Trees Campaign [5] is working with the Center for Food Safety on plans to stop ArborGen’s proposal to release hundreds of thousands of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees across the U.S. South.  “This is a very slippery slope,” warns George Kimbrell, an attorney for the Center for Food Safety. “Allowing the release of these GE eucalyptus trees will set a legal precedent that could allow the release of genetically engineered poplars or pines–which have wild relatives across the continent.  The commercial release of engineered versions of native trees would lead to the contamination of forests with engineered pollen.  Once this occurs there is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop the further contamination of more forests.  We have to stop the release of GE trees before this contamination occurs.”

The public is encouraged to submit comments to the USDA regarding the ArborGen proposal to release 260,000 genetically engineered cold tolerant eucalyptus trees across seven southern states.  For details on this, please visit: http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/stopgetrees.php?tabs=0

[1] To download the USDA’s December 17, 2009 revised draft environmental assessment, go to: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs/08_014101rm_ea2.pdf

[2] The seven states targeted for ArborGen’s GE eucalyptus deployment are South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

[3] The summary findings of the USFS with regard to the impacts of eucalyptus plantations on water resources can be found on page 57 of the new USDA draft environmental assessment.  These findings include the fact that the water usage by eucalyptus plantations is at least double the water usage by other forest types, and that afforestation to eucalyptus plantations will reduce stream flow, lower the water table and affect groundwater recharge.

[4] Comments to the USDA can be submitted at: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=09000064809c344a

[5] Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates the STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign.  The Sierra Club and Dogwood Alliance are part of the Steering Committee for the Campaign.  For more information on the campaign, go to: http://www.nogetrees.org.

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GJEP’s Anne Petermann on WORT FM

October 26th--Check out Global Justice Ecology Project’s E.D., Anne Petermann, speaking about the links between forests, the REDD scheme and the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen (CorporateHaven) on WORT’s program A Public Affair out of Madison, Wisconsin.  She is in interviewed in the second half of the show after co-author of Climate Coverup, The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, James Hogan.

To listen, please click HERE

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World Forestry Congress: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Plantations

Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project & North American Focal Point of Global Forest Coalition, posted on this blog everyday last week from the World Forestry Congress.

Buenos Aires, Argentina Oct. 23, 2009- Adjacent to the lounge area at the World Forestry Congress are two shallow pools with sporadically placed globs of water plants growing in them.  Floating in and among these water plants, posing as water lilies, are big pink Gerber Daisies.  Hanging from the ceiling are plastic birds suspended by fishing line.  Over the loudspeaker, very tinny sounding recorded bird songs.  This bizarre setting, I believe, serves as a perfect metaphor for what I have seen at this, my first, World Forestry Congress.

In seminar after seminar I have witnessed plantation-crazed maniacs posing as people deeply concerned with the well-being of our forests.  Even at the Forest Restoration session the topic was not threats to the world’s forests and techniques to restore forests and their biodiversity.  No, the workshop on “restoring forests” was all about growing monoculture tree plantations. (sigh.)

Nearly every session here has been first and foremost a public relations campaign aimed at drilling into the heads of all, but especially the young impressionable forestry students, that the industrial plantation forestry is our best bet for saving the forests.  These forestry hucksters congratulate themselves and each other for being such good con artists.  And their jargon is flawless.  They have coopted the terminology developed by social movements and environmental organizations brilliantly.  Capacity building and Consultations with Indigenous Peoples, Sustainable Forestry Management, Net Zero Deforestation, Forest Restoration, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation, Ending Illegal Logging, Certification, Advancing Social and Ecological Values, Environmental Stewardship, Sustainability Criteria… and on and on…  So beautiful, so moving. (Pay NO attention to the man behind the curtain!)

But if you actually listen to the presentations you can find the subtext and hear what they are actually saying.  It is like something from George Orwell’s 1984.  For example, yesterday at a session on REDD, a woman overseeing a REDD project in Brazil pointed out that her project in the Juma forest is raising money by partnering with corporations including Marriott and Coke.  For every night someone stays in a Marriott hotel, they donate $1 to the REDD project in order to offset the emissions of their guests (no, not the emissions released BY their guests).  The lesson: the more we consume, the more we conserve.  Brilliant!

This logic then also spills over into the effort to promote trees for bioenergy as a means to fight climate change.  We can reduce emissions from deforestation while we reduce more emissions by logging more trees!  2+2=5!  War is Peace! (Hmmm, the guy sending more troops to kill people in Afghanistan DID just got the Nobel Peace Prize…)

Then there was the World Wildlife Fund session on Thursday night on “Stimulating  Forest Investments—how to finance forest destruction, oops, I mean, conservation.  (Funded, you might like to know, by CitiBank and USAID, among others.)

Mark Constantine, of the International Finance Corporation talked about their work in Indonesia.  He had a very neat and tidy little chart that talked about “Challenges” (there’s that word again!) in one column and “Opportunities” in another.

Challenge: Peat Swamp Forest Conversion.  Opportunity: Reforestation of Degraded Lands.  Now, remember boys and girls what we just learned about “forest restoration.”  That’s right, the “challenge” of peat swamp forest destruction in Indonesia provides us with the “opportunity” to plant tree monocultures!

In another chart, he listed the “Risks” of certain activities, next to a column called “mitigation.”  The first item under “risks” was “unsustainable logging & biodiversity loss”  The mitigation: certification and NGO partnerships.  In other words, when you do unsustainable logging and destroy biodiversity, you will need to mitigate your image by getting sustainable forestry certification and partnering with an NGO like WWF.

Another presenter was Roberto Waack, from the Forest Stewardship Council, your friendly neighborhood forest certifiers.  (Didn’t realize forests needed to be certified, did you? You thought they just grew.)  His presentation was quite illuminating.  First he pointed out what FSC does: “Advancing Sustainable Forest Management [you will remember from our lesson yesterday that SFM includes conversion of forests to monoculture timber plantations] through Standards, Certification and Labeling.”

They now have 115 million hectares of certified forests (both “natural” and “planted”) in 82 countries, with over 15,000 FSC certificate holders in 99 countries.  They have certified productive forests worth over $20 billion. In 2007, they experienced 40% growth in their FSC “supply chain.”  You should have seen their graph!  Nothing but up, up, up! FSC, he explained, is a “multi-billion dollar brand.”

They are also working with operators to help them transition to “clean energy” from biomass, and are supporting new markets and multiple use of forests—including bioenergy.

This is all well and good, you say, but what has it got to do with protecting forests?  Honestly, I have no idea…

The final session of the day is going on as I write this.  It is the session on “recommendations” for the congress.  As my recommendations would be in the realm of removing themselves from the planet, I thought it best to abstain from attending.  If I had to hear one more talking head blather about sustainably destroying the planet, I would have lost my mind completely.

So there you have it.  The World Forestry Congress in a nutshell.  6,000 participants (including approximately 6 Indigenous People) and millions of tons of emissions devoted to exactly what purpose?  Toward the noble goal of building the capacity to manage forests sustainably toward zero net deforestation in order to restore the forest, thereby reducing emissions from deforestation and ending illegal logging through certified sustainability criteria and environmental stewardship that advances social and ecological values.

Who could argue with that?

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Filed under Climate Justice, Indigenous Peoples, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD

Forest Protection and Indigenous Rights Organizations Globally Denounce the World Forestry Congress

Blog post by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project & North American Focal Point of Global Forest Coalition. Every day this week she will be posting an update from the World Forestry Congress on this blog

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Rather than writing another lengthy blog post on the absurdities witnessed at the XIII World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires, today I offer you some of the views of our allies regarding the Congress.

First you will find comments on REDD made by Camila Moreno, who is Global Justice Ecology Project’s Brazilian representative and a New Voices on Climate Change participant. She made the comments during a panel presentation on REDD organized by the Climate Media Partnership at the congress on Thursday, October 22.

My second post is the presentation by Marcial Arias, who is a Kuna from Panama, on the impacts of REDD on Indigenous Peoples. Marcial gave this presentation during the same panel presentation as Camila for the Climate Media Partnership.

Next I have posted an excerpt from a statement by World Rainforest Movement criticizing the claim of the congress to be “carbon neutral.”  WRM boycotted the congress, instead writing a detailed and sharp critique of it.

Finally, you will find Global Forest Coalition’s formal letter of resignation to the World Forestry Congress Advisory Board. GFC resigned from the WFC Advisory Board after every recommendation they made was ignored.

Camila Moreno on Brazilian Social Movements Denouncing REDD

Camila Moreno, speaking on behalf of New Voices on Climate Change for the panel organized by the Climate Media Partnership, pointed out the widespread opposition to UN’s REDD scheme by communities, Indigenous Peoples, social movements and organizations in Brazil and throughout Latin America.  She began her presentation by reading the Belém Letter: the statement denouncing REDD adopted by Brazilian NGOs and social movements.

You can read the letter at http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/connections.php?ID=323.

She went on to further elaborate the criticism by Latin American groups to including forests in the carbon market, and called for an opening of space for discussion on the true causes of climate change including its underlying drivers, in contrast to the lack of space for any dissent or in-depth conversations found at the World Forestry Congress.

Marcial Arias (of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest, and Global Forest Coalition) on the Views of Indigenous Peoples on REDD

I have some serious concerns about REDD, which I will explain.

For Indigenous Peoples the trees are more than wood.  The trees mean food, medicine, shelter, and that is not being recognized by REDD.

Next, REDD is being promoted for poverty alleviation.  I will explore if this is true.  First, these types of market mechanisms are not new, we saw something similar through the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol) which has had great impacts on Indigenous communities.  For example, the CDM has led to the development of monoculture timber plantations and also large dams on Indigenous lands, and these have had very grave impacts on Indigenous peoples.  Examples of this exist throughout Latin America and Africa.

The mechanisms of REDD+ include developing monoculture timber plantations.  With these plantations comes the use of agro-toxics and herbicides.  This is reducing the life expectancy in Indigenous communities, and you can already see the damage to peoples’ health due to tree plantations and associated agro-toxins.

Another important issue is the question of benefits for avoided deforestation.  The tradition of the Kuna People is to do small-scale sustainable logging in the summer. It is part of the culture.  How much will we be paid to change our culture?

Then there is the problem of informing communities about the problems of REDD.   I am reasonably informed, but it is very difficult to explain to the people in indigenous communities just what REDD will mean to them.

Finally, the governments must to take into account the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with REDD.  It is essential that this UN declaration is taken into account, and it is critical that the people have the ability to say no to these projects.  And finally, the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples must be taken into account in the development of REDD.

 Excerpt from World Rainforest Movement on the carbon neutral fraud at the World Forestry Congress

For the entire critique, please visit WRM’s website at http://www.wrm.org.uy/

According to its organizers, the XIII World Forestry Congress (WFC), to be held from 18 – 23 October, in Argentina, “will be the first World Forestry Congress which shall achieve ‘Carbon Neutral’ ranking”. The organizers plan to reach such status through the purchase of “carbon credits” from Nobrecel’s “Forestry-industrial Sector Biomass Energy Project” in Brazil.

The monoculture tree plantation “forests”

Before analysing the validity of the “carbon neutrality” claim, it is important to understand where the “carbon credits” are coming from, because this relates directly to the misleading slogan of the WFC: “Forests in Development: a vital balance”.

In line with a definition that equates plantations with forests, the WFC organizers did not find any problem in making a deal with Nobrecel, a company holding an extensive area of eucalyptus “forest” in Brazil, which feeds its pulp mill in the State of São Paulo.

The “carbon neutral” myth

The idea of “neutralising” fossil fuel emissions is based on the premise that the carbon released from burning fossil fuels can in some way be “neutralised” by other activities such as the Nobrecel project. This is simply not possible.

What needs to be understood is that the carbon released through the use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) has not been part of the functioning of the biosphere for millions of years. Once fossil fuels are extracted and burnt, that carbon –which until then had been safely stored underground- is released, thereby increasing the above ground carbon stock. Once released, that carbon cannot be returned to its original storage place and the more it is extracted, the more the total amount of carbon in the biosphere is increased, thus further enhancing the greenhouse effect.

In the case of the WFC, the organizers themselves explain that most of the emissions related to its meeting will come from overseas flights. Carbon neutral flights are perhaps the best way to show that this is a cheating game. Planes do not fly on renewables; they run on oil. Once burnt to enable the planes to fly, the carbon contained in the fuel is released. Nothing can make that carbon return back underground.

Instead of channeling money to a company such as Nobrecel –thus subsidizing its destructive activities- the international forestry sector could show its commitment with our Planet by ceasing to promote monoculture tree plantations. Instead of trying to achieve an impossible “carbon neutrality” it could tackle the much more achievable objective of excluding tree monocrops from the definition of forests.

Global Forest Coalition Letter of Resignation to the World Forestry Congress

Dear Mr. Heino,

When Dr. Miguel Lovera as Chairman of the Global Forest Coalition agreed to join the Advisory Committee of the XIII World Forestry Congress, he did so because he hoped he would have been able, as the only representative of Southern NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations on this committee, to contribute some of the views of our IPO and NGO members to the preparatory process of the Congress. He and his colleague Simone Lovera, who participated on his behalf in the Advisory Committee meeting in March 2009, submitted various proposals to enhance the participation of Indigenous Peoples’ representatives, Southern NGOs and women in the congress. He also proposed to have a greater emphasis on forest restoration in the congress and to ensure the program of the congress reflected a clear distinction between forest restoration and the expansion of monoculture tree plantations, considering the massive opposition of social movements against the latter.

Regretfully, he did not get any response on these suggestions.

As Miguel Lovera started working as advisor to the Paraguayan Minister of the Environment in June 2009 he asked me to substitute him in the Advisory Committee. When I was accepted as his substitute, I asked you and other members of the Advisory Committee about your response to the proposals GFC had submitted, and about ways I could participate effectively in the work of the Advisory Committee in general. On August 12 I received a response from Ines Matyszczyk that my “message of 9 August has been referred to Mr Olman Serrano, Associate Secretary-General of the XIII WFC, who will get in touch with you directly to follow-up on GFC’s proposal”. But we did not get any response from him or anybody else so far.

We have not been consulted at all about speakers, or other elements of the Congress’ programme. Having now reviewed the final program as it is posted on the WFC website, we feel there is a severe lack of participation of Indigenous Peoples and Southern NGOs amongst the main speakers. Except for two keynote speakers from COICA, the coordinating body of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon, we recognize hardly any Indigenous peoples’ representatives amongst the speakers.

We feel the program of the congress is very much biased towards industry and government representation and that it lacks representation of Indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities. We also feel there is a lack of balance between proponents of carbon offsets and wood-based bioenergy and more critical voices amongst the WFC speakers.

Meanwhile, we have understood that specific requests by our Argentine NGO colleagues to allow more local NGOs and social movements to participate in the congress have been denied as well.

In summary, we feel the WFC Organizers have not taken us seriously as part of the advisory committee. Based on our concerns, I regret to inform you that I decided to resign as a member of the Advisory Committee of this congress.


Signed, Andrei Laletin, Global Forest Coalition

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