Tag Archives: tree plantation

2011 Top Ten Articles on Climate Connections

Note:  The following are the top ten articles from Climate Connections from 2011 according to those the number of views each received.  Several of these are original articles/photos from GJEP’s Jeff Conant, Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, and were also published in magazines, over the wires and cross-posted in other websites/blogs over the past twelve months.  We have posted them in reverse order, from number 10 through number 1.

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–The GJEP Team

10. A Broken Bridge to the Jungle: The California-Chiapas Climate Agreement Opens Old Wounds (April 7) GJEP post

Photo: Jeff Conant

By Jeff Conant, Communications Director at Global Justice Ecology Project

When photographer Orin Langelle and I visited Chiapas over the last two weeks of March, signs of conflict and concern were everywhere, amidst a complex web of economic development projects being imposed on campesino and indigenous communities without any semblance of free, prior, and informed consent. Among these projects is a renewed government effort to delimit Natural Protected Areas within the Lacandon Jungle, in order to generate carbon credits to be sold to California companies. This effort, it turns out, coincides with a long history of conflicting interests over land, and counterinsurgency campaigns aimed at the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), as well as other allied or sympathetic indigenous and campesino groups.  Continue article

photo: Kim Kyung-hoon / Reuters. caption: Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children...

9. Nuclear Disaster in Japan; Human Health Consequences of Radiation Exposure and the True Price of Oil  (March 15) Cross-posted from Earthbeat Radio

Nuclear power plants across Japan are exploding as the country struggles to cool them down and recover from the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Joining host Daphne Wysham to discuss the latest on the disaster is Damon Moglen. Damon is the director of the climate and energy program for the Friends of the Earth.  Continue article

8.  Today’s tsunami: This is what climate change looks like (March 11) Cross-posted from Grist

March 11 tsunami leads to an explosion at Chiba Works, an industrial (chemical, steel, etc.) facility in Chiba, Japan.Photo: @odyssey

So far, today’s tsunami has mainly affected Japan — there are reports of up to 300 dead in the coastal city of Sendai — but future tsunamis could strike the U.S. and virtually any other coastal area of the world with equal or greater force, say scientists. In a little-heeded warning issued at a 2009 conference on the subject, experts outlined a range of mechanisms by which climate change could already be causing more earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity.  Continue article

7.  2011 Year of Forests: Real Solutions to Deforestation Demanded (February 2) GJEP post

As UN Declares International Year of Forests, Groups Demand Solutions to Root Causes of Deforestation

Insist Indigenous & Forest Peoples’ Rights Must Be at the Heart of Forest Protection

New York, 2 February 2011-At the launch of the High Level segment of the UN Forum on Forests today, Mr. Sha Zhukan, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs will declare 2011 “the International Year of Forests.” Civil society groups advocating forest protection, Indigenous Rights, and climate justice are launching a program called “The Future of Forests,” to ensure that forest protection strategies address the real causes of global forest decline, and are not oriented toward markets or profit-making.

Critics from Global Justice Ecology Project, Global Forest Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Timberwatch Coalition, BiofuelWatch, and Indigenous Environmental Network charge that the UN’s premier forest scheme: REDD… Continue article

6. Chiapas, Mexico: From Living in the jungle to ‘existing’ in “little houses made of ticky-tacky…” (April 13) GJEP post

Selva Lacandona (Lacandon jungle/rainforest)

Photo Essay by Orin Langelle

At the Cancún, Mexico United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last year, journalist Jeff Conant and I learned that California’s then-Governor Arnold Swarzenegger had penned an agreement with Chiapas, Mexico’s Governor Juan Sabines as well as the head of the province of Acre, Brazil.  This deal would provide carbon offsets from Mexico and Brazil to power polluting industries in California—industries that wanted to comply with the new California climate law (AB32) while continuing business as usual.

The plan was to use forests in the two Latin American countries to supposedly offset the emissions of the California polluters.

Conant and I took an investigative trip to Chiapas in March.  When we arrived… Continue photo essay

Overview of the March. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

5. Photo Essay: Global Day of Action Against UN Conference of Polluters (COP) in Durban (December 3) GJEP post

3 December 2011–Thousands of people from around the world hit the streets of Durban, South Africa to protest the UN Climate Conference of Polluters.

Photo Essay by Orin Langelle/Global Justice Ecology Project and Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project-Global Forest Coalition. Continue photo essay

4. Showdown at the Durban Disaster: Challenging the ‘Big Green’ Patriarchy (December 13) GJEP post

GJEP's Anne Petermann (right) and GEAR's Keith Brunner (both sitting) before being forcibly ejected from the UN climate conference. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Dedicated to Judi Bari, Emma Goldman, my mother and all of the other strong women who inspire me

An action loses all of its teeth when it is orchestrated with the approval of the authorities.  It becomes strictly theater for the benefit of the media.  With no intent or ability to truly challenge power.

I hate actions like that.

And so it happened that I wound up getting ejected from one such action after challenging its top-down, male domination.  I helped stage an unsanctioned ‘sit-in’ at the action with a dozen or so others who were tired of being told what to do by the authoritarian male leadership of the “big green’ action organizers–Greenpeace and 350.org.  Continue article

3. Photo Essay from Vermont: The Recovery from Hurricane Irene Begins (August 31) GJEP post

Route 100--this and other washed out bridges and culverts cut off the town of Granville, VT from the outside world

As of Tuesday, 30 August 2011, there were still thirteen towns in the U.S. state of Vermont that were completely cut off from the outside world due to the torrential rains of Hurricane Irene.  This was because roads like Route 100, which runs north and south through the state, sustained catastrophic damage to its culverts and bridges for many miles.    In all, over 200 roads across the state were closed due to wash outs from the heavy rains that pelted the state for nearly twenty-four hours on Sunday, August 28.

Text: Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Photos: Orin Langelle, Co-Director/Strategist, Global Justice Ecology Project  Continue photo essay

2. Environmental Destruction, Effects of Climate Change to Worsen in Philippines (January 6) Cross-posted from  Bulatlat.com


MANILA – The year 2010 should have been an opportunity for the new administration to implement fundamental reforms to protect the environment and national patrimony, especially since during the former administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the state of the environment of the country has gone from bad to worse. Continue article

1. Permafrost Melt Soon Irreversible Without Major Fossil Fuel Cuts (February 22) Cross-posted from IPS News

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Feb 17, 2011 (IPS) – Thawing permafrost is threatening to overwhelm attempts to keep the planet from getting too hot for human survival.

Without major reductions in the use of fossil fuels, as much as two-thirds of the world’s gigantic storehouse of frozen carbon could be released, a new study reported. That would push global temperatures several degrees higher, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable.

Once the Arctic gets warm enough, the carbon and methane emissions from thawing permafrost will kick-start a feedback that will amplify the current warming rate, says Kevin Schaefer, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. That will likely be irreversible.  Continue article

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Natural Disasters, Nuclear power, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, 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

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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Filed under Climate Change, Earth Minute, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, REDD

Environmental Groups Denounce Diversion of Forest Funding to REDD Plantations

For Immediate Release

September 21, 2011                                        (Español debajo)


September 21st, 2011 – On the World Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations [1], a coalition of environmental groups and Indigenous peoples organizations [2] has launched a call to the international donor community to halt the diversion of forest conservation funding to dubious schemes to “Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks” (REDD+), which are being promoted within the framework of the United Nations Climate Convention.

The groups charge that climate policy makers are working with a flawed definition of “forests” that includes monocultures, genetically engineered trees and agrofuel plantations.

“This erroneous definition allows REDD+ funding to finance the expansion of monoculture tree plantations, which are implicated in serious environmental and social impacts and human rights violations all over the world,” said Winnie Overbeek, coordinator of the World Rainforest Movement.

More than five hundred scientists have called on the UN Food and Agricultural Organization to review the definition of forest [3], so that a clear distinction can be made between biologically diverse forest ecosystems, which provide a broad range of values and products for humanity, and monoculture tree plantations.

Also on the World Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations, the World Future Council will hold a ceremony in New York to hand an award to the most inspiring, innovative, and influential forest policy [4]. Simone Lovera, Executive Director of Global Forest Coalition, and one of the jury members of this year’s award, points out: “It is important to note that the six countries nominated, The Gambia, Rwanda, United States, Bhutan, Nepal, and Switzerland, have developed their successful forest policies without any REDD+ support” [5].

“Most of these successes are based on a combination of political will and the recognition of the rights of local communities and their valuable role in conserving and restoring forests,” Lovera said. “Forest donors should support initiatives and policies that ensure rights-based, socially just forest conservation rather than diverting their funding to risky REDD+ experiments that promote tree monocultures and human rights violations.”

Tom Goldtooth, director of Indigenous Environmental Network adds: “All over the world, monoculture tree plantations and other REDD+ projects are triggering conflicts with Indigenous Peoples and local communities and environmental devastation. Meanwhile, support is lacking for socially just and successful policies that support real community forest conservation.”

Many REDD+ donors speculate that their projects will soon be financed through mandatory carbon offset markets, which they expect will bring significant additional investment. However, carbon offset markets are collapsing due to fears that countries will fail to reach an agreement on legally binding emission cuts beyond 2012.

“Without global caps, there will be no global trade,” says Tamra Gilbertson of Carbontradewatch. “The European Emissions Trading Scheme – the world’s primary carbon exchange – excludes REDD+ due to well-founded concerns that forest carbon offsets undermine real efforts to reduce emissions. REDD+ funding has proven to be highly volatile, inequitable and uncertain. In order to both combat climate change and to value forests in their own right, forest conservation policies need reliable, stable and equitable support – not disingenuous and patently false solutions like REDD+.”

For further information, contact:

Winnie Overbeek, Coordinator, World Rainforest Movement, +598 2 413 2989

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network, + 1 218 760 0442

Simone Lovera, Executive Director, Global Forest Coalition, + 595 21 663654

Tamra Gilbertson, Coordinator, Carbontrade Watch, + 34 625 498083

Jeff Conant, Communications Director, Global Justice Ecology Project, +1 510 698 3802


[1] See http://www.wrm.org.uy

[2] The No REDD Platform is a loose network of researchers, activists, organizations and movements that work together by sharing information, organizing collective strategies and supporting each other. By connecting with global justice movements committed to climate, environmental and social justice the No REDD Platform aims to expose the injustices inherent in REDD+ projects globally. See  http://noredd.makenoise.org

[3] http://www.wrm.org.uy/forests/letter_to_the_FAO.html

[4] See http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/4398.html

[5] Please note that of these countries, Nepal is the only country that currently receives significant amounts of REDD+ support, but its successful policy on supporting community-based forest management was developed long before the first REDD+ support started to arrive.

Para Publicación Inmediata

Septiembre 21, 2011

Grupos Ambientalistas Denuncian la Desviación de Fondos Destinados a los Bosques hacia Plantaciones REDD

21 Septiembre, 2011 – En el Día Mundial de Lucha Contra los Monocultivos de Arboles [1], una coalición de grupos ambientalistas y organizaciones de Pueblos Indígenas [2] ha lanzado un comunicado a la comunidad donante internacional para detener la desviación de fondos para la conservación de los bosques hacia esquemas dudosos para “Reducir Emisiones de Deforestación y Degradación de Bosques y fortalecer las reservas de carbono” (REDD+) las cuales se están promoviendo dentro de la Convención Marco de la ONU sobre el Cambio Climático.

Los grupos claman que los responsables de las políticas de cambio climático están trabajando en base a una definición de “bosques” defectuosa que incluye a los monocultivos, los árboles Genéticamente Modificados, y las plantaciones de agrocombustibles.

“Esta definición errónea permite que los fondos REDD+ financien la expansión de monocultivos de árboles los cuales están involucrados con serios impactos ambientales y sociales y violaciones a los derechos humanos alrededor del mundo”, según Winnie Overbeek del Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques tropicales.

Más de quinientos científicos han hecho un llamado a la Organización de la ONU para la Agricultura y la Alimentación para revisar la definición de bosques [3], y así se pueda hacer una clara distinción entre ecosistemas de bosque biológicamente diversos que proporcionan un amplio rango de valores y productos para la humanidad, y los monocultivos y/o plantaciones de árboles.

También durante el Día Mundial de Lucha Contra los Monocultivos de Arboles, el Consejo del Futuro Mundial realizará una ceremonia en Nueva York para entregar un premio a la política forestal más inspiradora, innovadora, e influyente [4]. Simone Lovera, Directora Ejecutiva de la Coalición Mundial por los Bosques, y una de los miembros del jurado de este año señala que: “Es importante notar que los seis países nominados, Gambia, Ruanda, Estados Unidos, Bután, Nepal y Suiza, han desarrollado sus exitosas políticas forestales sin ningún apoyo de REDD+” [5].

“La mayoría de estos éxitos se basan en una combinación de voluntad política y el reconocimiento de los derechos de las comunidades locales y su valioso rol en la conservación y restauración de bosques,” dijo Lovera. “Los donantes de bosques deberían premiar los esfuerzos de estos países en vez de desviar sus fondos hacia experimentos riesgosos de REDD+ que promueven los monocultivos de árboles y las violaciones a los derechos humanos”.

Tom Goldtooth, Director de la Red Indígena Ambiental añade: “Alrededor del mundo, los monocultivos de árboles y otros proyectos REDD+ están disparando los conflictos con Pueblos Indígenas y comunidades locales, y la devastación ambiental. Entre tanto, el apoyo para políticas exitosas y socialmente justas que apoyen la verdadera conservación forestal comunitaria disminuye”.

Muchos donantes de REDD+ especulan que sus proyectos pronto se financiarán por medio de mercados obligatorios de compensación de carbono, de donde ellos esperan recibir importantes inversiones adicionales. Sin embargo, los mercados de compensación de carbono están colapsando debido a los temores que se tienen de que los países no lograrán llegar a un acuerdo respecto a la reducción de emisiones legalmente vinculantes más allá del 2012.

“Sin límites globales, no habrá comercio global”, dice Tamra Gilbertson de Carbontradewatch. “El Régimen Europeo de Comercio de Emisiones –  el principal en intercambio de créditos carbono mundialmente – excluye REDD+ debido a preocupaciones bien fundamentadas en que las compensaciones de carbono forestal socavan los esfuerzos reales para reducir las emisiones. Los fondos de REDD+ han demostrado ser altamente volátiles, desequilibrados e inciertos. Para poder tanto combatir el cambio climático como valorar a los bosques en su derecho propio, las políticas de conservación de bosques necesitan un apoyo confiable, estable y equitativo – no deshonesto con soluciones claramente falsas como REDD+.”

Para mayor información contactar con:

Winnie Overbeek, Coordinadora, World Rainforest Movement, +598 2 413 2989

Tom Goldtooth, Director Ejecutivo, Indigenous Environmental Network, + 1 218 760 0442

Simone Lovera, Directora Ejecutiva, Global Forest Coalition, + 595 21 663654

Tamra Gilbertson, Coordinadora, Carbontrade Watch, + 34 625 498083

Jeff Conant, Director de Comunicaciones, Global Justice Ecology Project, +1 510 698 3802


[1] Ver http://www.wrm.org.uy

[2] La Plataforma No-REDD es una red de investigadores, activistas, organizaciones y movimientos que trabajan conjuntamente compartiendo información, organizando estrategias colectivas y apoyándose mutuamente. Al conectarse con movimientos de justicia social comprometidos con el cambio climático, la justicia social y ambiental, la Plataforma NO REDD busca exponer las injusticias inherentes de los proyectos REDD+ a nivel global. Ver http://noredd.makenoise.org

[3] http://www.wrm.org.uy/forests/letter_to_the_FAO.html

[4] Ver http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/4398.html

[5] Por favor note que de estos países, Nepal es el único que aún recibe cantidades importantes de apoyo para REDD+, pero su política exitosa que apoya el manejo comunitario de bosques fue desarrollada mucho antes de que el primer apoyo a REDD+ empezara a llegar.

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Filed under Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, UNFCCC

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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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, GE Trees

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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