Archive for the ‘Green Economy / Economia Verde / Economía verde’ Category

Hidrelétricas, crime e tragédia no Rio Madeira: quem é que vai pagar por isso?

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Por Elder Andrade de Paula

Camponeses arriscam suas vidas na tentativa de colher bananas em uma plantação  inundada em Puerto Yumani, departamento de Beni-Bolívia (Fevereiro de 2014) Fonte: http://www.elcomercio.com/mundo/invierno-lluvias-Bolivia-carreteras-muertos-desaparecidos_0_1083491800.html

Camponeses arriscam suas vidas na tentativa de colher bananas em uma plantação inundada em Puerto Yumani, departamento de Beni-Bolívia (Fevereiro de 2014) Fonte: http://www.elcomercio.com/mundo/invierno-lluvias-Bolivia-carreteras-muertos-desaparecidos_0_1083491800.html

Entre as centenas de imagens que vi até o momento, essa é a que mais impressionou-me nessa mega e inconclusa tragédia no rio Madeira e seu entorno. O olhar e expressão dessa mulher campesina parece-me sintetizar toda a dor e desespero de milhares de pessoas que perderam tudo: moradias, plantações, familiares (só na Bolívia foram registrados mais de 60 pessoas mortas até o momento).

Por essa razão, ao mesmo tempo em que felicito a iniciativa do MPF e MPE de Rondônia em conjunto com OAB-RO, por impetrar ação civil pública solicitando a suspensão das atividades nas usinas hidrelétricas de Jirau e Santo Antônio – até que se refaçam os Estudos de Impactos Ambientais – considero-a insuficiente diante da magnitude desse crime. Isto é, as obras do complexo madeira iniciadas com as construções das usinas de Sto Antônio e Jirau foram executadas a ferro e fogo, transgrediram acintosamente a Constituição e sua regulamentação no que diz respeito aos procedimentos para licenciamento ambiental.

Existe uma vasta documentação destacadamente o PARECER TÉCNICO Nº 014/2007 – COHID/CGENE/DILIC/IBAMA de 21 de março de 2007. Esse documento se tornou mais conhecido pelo seu conteúdo e repercussões políticas: demissão do diretor de Licenciamento do Ibama, Luiz Felippe Kunz Jr e desmonte do IBAMA a partir daquele momento. Ao analisar o conjunto da documentação “Estudo de Impacto Ambiental (EIA), Relatório de Impacto Ambiental (RIMA), Audiências Publicas, vistorias técnicas, reuniões técnicas, documentação apensada ao processo” a equipe técnica do IBAMA expôs em 220 paginas, as insuficiências e omissões dos mesmos.

De acordo com o Parecer, a área a ser alagada poderá ser o dobro daquela projetada nos estudos apresentados. “Em síntese”, conclui o referido Parecer:

i) há notória insuficiência dos estudos e complementações apresentados, fato atestado pelas contribuições de demais órgãos e entidades ao processo, notadamente o Relatório de Análise do Conteúdo dos Estudos de Impacto Ambiental proporcionado pelo Ministerio Publico do Estado de Rondônia;

(ii) as áreas diretamente afetadas e as áreas de influencia direta e indireta são maiores do que as diagnosticadas;

(iii) as vistorias, Audiências Publicas e reuniões realizadas trouxeram maiores subsídios a analise do EIA, demonstrando que os estudos subdimensionam, ou negam, impactos potenciais. Mesmo para assumir um impacto, e preciso conhecê-lo, e a sua magnitude;

(iv) as analises dos impactos identificados demonstraram a fragilidade dos mecanismos e propostas de mitiga coes;

(v) a extensão dos impactos (diretos e indiretos) abrange outras regiões brasileiras e países vizinhos, comprometendo ambiental e economicamente territórios não contemplados no EIA, sendo, desta forma, impossível mensurá-los;

(vi) a nova configuração da área de influencia dos empreendimentos demanda do licenciamento, segundo a determinação presente na Resolução no 237/1997, o estudo dos significativos impactos ambientais de âmbitos regionais. Neste sentido, considerando a real área de abrangência dos projetos e o envolvimento do Peru e da Bolívia, a magnitude desses novos estudos remete a reelaboração do Estudo de Impacto Ambiental e instrumento apropriado a ser definido conjuntamente com esses países impactados. De qualquer forma, e necessária consulta a Procuradoria Geral do IBAMA para o adequado procedimento.

Dado o elevado grau de incerteza envolvido no processo; a identificação de áreas afetadas não contempladas no Estudo; o não dimensionamento de vários impactos com ausência de medidas mitigadoras e de controle ambiental necessárias a garantia do bem-estar das populações e uso sustentável dos recursos naturais; e a necessária observância do Principio da Precaução, a equipe técnica concluiu não ser possível atestar a viabilidade ambiental dos aproveitamentos Hidrelétricos Santo Antônio e Jirau, sendo imperiosa a realização de novo Estudo de Impacto Ambiental, mais abrangente, tanto em território nacional como em territórios transfronteiriços, incluindo a realização de novas audiências publicas. Portanto, recomenda-se a não emissão da Licença Previa (http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/attached-files/ibama_parecer_032007.pdf pg 220-221, grifos nossos).

ESSA TRAGÉDIA PODERIA TER SIDO EVITADA.

Ao jogar no lixo esse Parecer Técnico e todas as criticas e advertências emanadas de movimentos sociais como MAB, especialistas e intelectuais comprometidos com a justiça e defesa dos direitos dos povos, o governo Lula praticou conscientemente um duplo crime: de responsabilidade administrativa e ambiental. Por essa razão, tanto o chefe do executivo na época (Lula) quanto os que tiveram responsabilidades diretas no licenciamento das hidrelétricas do rio Madeira tem que ser processados.

Mais ainda, devemos exigir a suspensão imediata da construção de hidrelétricas, de Belo Monte e daquelas projetadas na bacia do rio Tapajós. Está coberto de razão o povo Munduruku ao travar uma luta sem tréguas contra as barragens no Tapajós e precisam mais do que nunca contar com todo nosso apoio, especialmente o de “nosotros”, aproximadamente 2 milhões de pessoas atingidas pela tragédia das hidrelétricas do rio Madeira na Amazônia brasileira, boliviana e peruana. As hidrelétricas, juntamente com mineração, agronegócio, exploração florestal madeireira e financeirização da natureza via Pagamentos por Serviços Ambientais -PSA, formam o eixo básico desse repertório macabro da destruição posta em marcha pelo capital na Amazônia. Ou desobedecemos e lutamos ou seremos tragados por esse “moinho satânico”.

Acre State Law Regarding Payment for Environmental Services Benefits Financial Market

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

By Amyra El Khalili[1] and Arthur Soffiati [2] for Pravda.ru

Translation of the original article into English by Leandro Moura.

Acre State Law nº 2,308 of 22 October, 2010, which creates the State System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA), the Programme of Incentives for Environmental Services (ISA Carbono) and other Environmental Services and Eco-systemic Product Programmes [1] seems to be a manifestation of the green economy, even before this concept was presented at the Rio+20 conference. If the work of bees as pollinators can be valued and priced, who will receive the money in their name? Nature works without the notion of work and remuneration. Someone will receive it for them. Who will it be? The vulture works daily, whether it is Saturday, Sunday or a holiday. It does so because it is in its nature, not because it needs money. Schemes like SISA and ISA Carbono will make it a lot easier for big business to receive money for what Nature does for free, by valuing and pricing it. Someone will want to receive the money from these services Nature provides for free.

Price formation in the capital markets, specifically on stock and financial exchanges, is determined by three factors: an analysis of fundamentals, which is a study of the current economic setting; a mathematical analysis, which includes calculations of interest rates, time frames and costs; and a graphical analysis, which records the movement of the supply and demand for the object (asset or commodity). Therefore, the complexity involved in price formation demands in-depth knowledge of the object being traded.

In the neoliberal school, in order to shorten the price formation path, “indexes” have been created by elite universities and research institutes. Financial players pay top dollar to these institutions so that with these indicators to hand, they can make decisions (sales and purchases) and turn over contracts on the futures markets at an ever faster pace.

The futures industry, dealing in so-called derivatives, has become the most profitable in recent years, mainly for brokerages and banks, since intermediaries make money on the volume traded, irrespective of the result. In other words, they earn brokerage fees when the customer is making money and also when the customer is losing money.

Over time, it was no longer interesting to earn brokerage fees on sales and purchases for each contract closed. The appetite for speculation and the greed over the advantages of buying and selling quickly, often in seconds, created opportunities for intermediaries (brokers and traders) to profit from the financial game as well; and in general, gambling with other people’s productive work and money, rarely their own.

The financial industry has grown out of proportion with the production of real goods and services; deregulation has advanced, allowing for profits to be made without a system of guarantees in case of losses being incurred; power has become concentrated in the hands of half a dozen banks – also guarantors of deals they themselves offer their customers.

In December 2007, the Bank for International Settlements estimated that the derivatives business was worth US$ 681 trillion – ten times the GDP of all the countries in the world. It is a case of the fox [2] looking after the chicken coop.

We do not know whether those who authored the SISA law know how the financial markets work. What we do know is that the conceptual apparatus used by them is well-known and can lead to mistaken conclusions – like the ones suggested in relation to new laws on so-called ecosystem services.

The article “Duas filosofias de proteção à natureza” [Two nature protection philosophies], by Catherine Larrière, included in the book Filosofia e Natureza: Debates, Embates e Conexões [Philosophy and Nature: Debates, Conflicts and Connections], edited by Antônio Carlos dos Santos (Aracaju: Editora da Universidade Federal de Sergipe, 2008) highlights the importance of differentiating between the concepts of conservation and preservation. They are well-established and of fundamental importance to understanding the relations between human societies (anthropo-societies) and non-human nature.

Preservation means maintaining non-human nature free from human use. Conservation indicates using non-human nature while respecting its limits. In what sense does the law use the concept of preservation? Apparently, as a synonym for protection, a concept that involves preservation and conservation.

Among one group of defenders of non-human nature and the critics of the ecological and environmental movements, the concepts of conservation and of preservation are understood as mutually excluding opposites. A false opposition, for preservation and conservation complement each other. One cannot be a preservationist in a city, nor can one be a conservationist in an extractive reserve.

Proponents of the law also attribute to the Summit of the Peoples [3], a movement in parallel with Rio+20, the inadequate use of ideological analysis, drawing attention to its uninformed ideology. Here, they enter a minefield, a dangerous terrain, since according to one current of thought (Mannheim and Althusser, for example), every human being thinks in an ideological fashion, while classical Marxism understands ideology as the dominant thought that shapes the structure – and hence, the dominant ideology is the ideology of the ruling class. To which of the two meanings of ideology are those questioning the critique of the law referring? From the way the expression is used, it seems like they are outside the realm of ideologies, while the Summit of the Peoples is a prisoner of it.

The authors of the Law maintain that SISA seeks “to make economic and social development compatible with the best environmental preservation practices”. [..] “Making compatible” as in trying to reconcile predatory development, i.e., conventional economic growth, with environmental protection? Historically, since the 1970s, it has been suggested that such reconciliation is provisionally possible. However, when the rope that joins environmental protection and development breaks, development is always prioritised. But different conceptions of development exist. To which development model do the law’s authors refer? The answer to this question soon appears in the text of the Law: sustainable development.

The concept of sustainable development established itself in the 1980s, mainly through the book Our Common Future, which resulted from the Brundtland Commission. It gradually replaced the much clearer concept of eco-development, and became central to the Rio 92 Conference. Over time, its use has become so widespread that it has lost its meaning. Nowadays you hear things like sustainable interest rates, sustainable profits, sustainable income, sustainable growth, sustainable practices and even sustainable body without even a minimum of conceptual rigour. In responding to opinions critical of the SISA Law, its authors do the same. The consequence of such ambiguous use is that, in the case of Sustainable Development, indicators like income and GDP growth are employed. But the production of armaments and related services generate income and contribute to GDP growth. Where is these authors’ pioneering spirit if they use such indicators so uncritically?

Discussing carbon credits is tantamount to returning to the past – or a symptom that we never left it. The carbon market does not tackle the environmental crisis head-on, but seeks to transform it into a source of profits. But the past is also embedded in the present and, likewise, in the future. It suffices to examine the concept of green economy, trumpeted before, during and after Rio+20. What is its content? Nobody knows for sure. What is known is that it is being used by wheeler-dealers to make money from Nature. Just read the book A Economia Verde: Descubra as Oportunidades e os Desafios de uma Nova Era dos Negócios [Strategies for the Green Economy: Opportunities and Challenges in the New World of Business], by Joel Makower (São Paulo: Editora Gente, 2009). The concept of green economy opens the way to the valuing of the air and of photosynthesis, for instance. Producer and product, service provider and service are all lumped together.

It seems we are heading towards a new and more subtle form of slavery. In the slave system, slaves and the goods and services generated by them could be valued. A slave, even with arms crossed, had a price. He or she could be bought and sold, regardless of the goods and services produced by him or her. The new slavery is more akin to what French philosopher Étienne de La Boétie called voluntary servitude. Plants carry out photosynthesis voluntarily to exist, and not because we compel them to. But someone may ascribe to him or herself the right to charge for it, or be granted some government concession to exploit it. Let us leave it there, for the list of modes of undue exploitation is long.

Therefore, the SISA Law opens a dangerous precedent for the fox to look after the chicken coop and to get paid masses of money for doing so [4], as it allows resources to be gathered and then administered by the financial system through the carbon market. It is under the media spotlight, being trumpeted [5] as a model law for the world. While the European carbon market is in the doldrums [6], exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis, over here preachers sell the carbon market as the path out of the convergence of crises.

It is strange that the authors of Acre’s law regarding payment for environmental services seem to have ignored the lessons that can be drawn from analysing the impact of the pricing of agricultural products on international commodity markets, such as cacao, sugar, coffee, soy beans, maize and beef, among others. One has the feeling that the most basic rules of pricing were not studied, those being the analysis of fundamentals (economic setting), mathematical analysis (interest rates, time frames and costs) and graphical analysis (supply and demand).

One cannot create a viable market artificially, with laws and environmental marketing. The experiences with commodity and derivative markets have taught us that the State’s direct participation in regulation to foment sales creates distortions and stimulates speculation.

When the Central Bank regulated exchange rates on the gold market, there was liquidity because the monetary authority would feed the market by buying and selling gold. When the Central Bank left the gold market, it evaporated. There was no future currency market simply because there were no future currency traders. When the Bank established currency control via the exchange rate band, the future currency market at the old BM&F (now BM&FBovespa) emerged from scratch, and is today the market that sustains, in conjunction with the interest rate market, the impressive financial turnover of BM&FBovespa.

Let the State play its role as a regulatory and enforcement agent of the financial system, let it even be a fomenter, but it should not dabble in “market-making”. If the State struggles to manage to prevent environmental degradation and devastation through enforcement, how can it become a financial agent or, with the best intentions, pass on this role to third parties (the fox)?

Ask BM&FBovespa: why do agricultural commodity markets not advance? Or: why do family farmers of this continent not operate on the Futures Exchange to protect themselves from sudden fluctuations in agricultural commodity prices? Ask the players: why is the national soy bean price set by the Chicago Exchange and not formed considering Brazilian costs?

Ask more questions before making laws “to ascribe value to” and/or “to value” environmental goods. Ask Arabs and Africans: why has water (a scarce good in the Middle East and Africa) never been quoted on stock exchanges? Or: why have Arabs and Northeast Brazilians not yet invented the future water market?

Also, ask members of the RECOs Alliance (Networks of Community Cooperation Without Borders), who are building a new economic model for Latin America and the Caribbean by creating “environmental commodities”, whose reports and public consultations have been signed by 5,000+ professionals from varied disciplines and hundreds of communities over more than a decade: why did we not propose (or, better still, not think up) this SISA Law before?

Maybe because we are not as intelligent as the authors of the SISA Law, to the point of mobilizing the vulture. Concluding, it is worth recalling the poem “O urubu mobilizado” [The mobilized vulture], by João Cabral de Melo Neto:

Durante as secas do sertão, o urubu

de urubu livre, passa a funcionário.

Ele nunca retira, pois prevendo cedo

que lhe mobilizarão a técnica e o tacto,

cala os serviços prestados e diplomas,

que o enquadrariam num melhor salário,

e vai acolitar os empreiteiros da seca,

veterano, mas ainda com zelos de novato:

aviando com eutanásia o morto incerto,

ele, que no civil que o morto claro.

Embora mobilizado, nesse urubu em ação

reponta logo o perfeito profissional.

No ar compenetrado, curvo e secretário,

no todo de guarda-chuva, na unção clerical,

Com que age, embora em posto subalterno:

ele, um convicto profissional liberal.

Notes

(1) Acre’s SISA law: http://www.observatorioeco.com.br/wp-content/uploads/up/2010/10/lei-do-acre-para-serviaos-ambientais.pdf
(2) Pagamento por “Serviços Ambientais” e a flexibilização do Código Florestal para um capitalismo “Verde” [Payment for “Environmental Services” and the loosening of the Forest Code towards a “Green” capitalism]. Terra de Direitos, August 2011:http://terradedireitos.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Analise-PSA-CODIGO-Florestal-e-TEEB-Terra-de-direitos.pdf

(3) Final Declaration of the Summit of the Peoples at Rio+20

(4) Uma análise crítica da economia verde e da natureza jurídica dos créditos ambientais [A critical analysis of the green economy and of the legal nature of environmental credits]

(5) Acre participa da Conferência de Mudanças Climáticas em Cancún, no México [Acre takes part in the Cancún Conference on Climate Change, in Mexico], 10 December 2010

(6) O Comércio de Carbono: Como funciona e por que é controvertido [Trading carbon: How it works and why it is controversial]. 3 July 2012.

[1] http://port.pravda.ru/science/06-09-2012/33672-servicos_ambientais-0/
Translation of the original article into English by Leandro Moura.

[1] For further context to this article see also Amyra El Khalili: Lei de pagamento por serviços ambientais do Acre beneficia Mercado Financeiro and response to the article by Virgilio Gibbon: Mira do fogo amigo erra ao criticar Lei de Pagamentos por Serviços Ambientais do Acre and Arthur Soffiati’s article Lei de Pagamento por Serviços Ambientais do Acre joga produtor e produto no mesmo saco

[1] Amyra El Khalili is an economist from São Paulo, author of the e-book Commodities Ambientais em Missão de Paz: Novo Modelo Econômico para a América Latina e o Caribe [Environmental Commodities on a Peace Mission: A New Economic Model for Latin America and the Caribbean]. São Paulo: Nova Consciência, 2009. 271 pages. Access freely on www.amyra.lachatre.org.br.

[2] Arthur Soffiati holds a PhD in Social History with an emphasis on Environmental History from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He is a retired professor from the Fluminense Federal University, and member of its Socio-environmental Studies Centre. He has published ten books, as well as various book chapters, articles in specialized journals and in the weekly press.

25 anos depois, Chico Mendes vive mais indignado com o capitalismo verde

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Nas celebrações para lembrar o aniversário de sua morte, sindicalista é destituído de seu conteúdo político revolucionário e transformado em pragmático “ambientalista”

Por Elder Andrade de Paula, 21.12.2013. Fonte: Repórter Brasil

“Quando te vi com essa camiseta pensei que era mais um propagandista do governo do Acre”, disse-me um dos participantes do II Congresso da Comissão  Pastoral da Terra (CPT) realizado em Goiás no ano de 2005. O comentário me deixou perplexo porque a camiseta em questão era branca e tinha estampada, em sua frente, uma imagem com o rosto de Chico Mendes, sobreposta com a chamada: “Chico Mendes Vive” e, logo a seguir, o texto escrito por ele no ano de seu assassinato “Atenção jovem do futuro, 6 de Setembro do ano de 2012, aniversário ou centenário da Revolução Socialista Mundial, que unificou todos os povos do planeta num só ideal e num só pensamento de unidade socialista que pôs fim a todos os inimigos da nova sociedade. Aqui fica somente a lembrança de um triste passado de dor, sofrimento e morte. Desculpem… Eu estava sonhando quando escrevi estes acontecimentos; que eu mesmo não verei mas tenho o prazer de ter sonhado”.

Minha perplexidade deveu-se ao fato de não estar estampado na dita camiseta nenhuma logomarca identificando o governo do Acre. Ademais, existia outro detalhe fundamental: não havia e não há no vocabulário e nas ações do governo do Acre absolutamente nada que tenha proximidade com esse sonho de Chico Mendes. Ao contrário, o Chico Mendes evocado pelo governo acriano foi destituído de seu conteúdo político revolucionário e transformado em um pragmático “ambientalista”, em consonância com todo o complexo de organizações da sociedade civil articulado em torno da ideologia do desenvolvimento sustentável. Às vezes, também o transformam em vidente, quando usam seu nome para justificar as perversas políticas voltadas para o aprofundamento da mercantilização da natureza. Dizem, dentre outras barbaridades, que Chico Mendes seria a favor do manejo florestal madeireiro, dos famigerados Pagamentos por Serviços Ambientais - PSA, quando sabemos que essas proposições emergiram após o seu assassinato.

Enfim, o fato que relatamos ilustra com muito vigor o monumental poder da imagem e a sofisticação crescente com que tal poder é manipulado. O Governo do Acre tem usado de forma primorosa esse recurso, logrando “colar” com maestria a imagem de Chico Mendes ao seu projeto político, afirmando que estaria realizando os “seus ideais” - como mostra Maria de Jesus Morais no seu artigo “Usos e abusos da imagem de Chico Mendes na legitimação da “economia verde”, no Do$$iê Acre: O Acre que os mercadores da natureza escondem, documento apresentado em 2012 durante a Cúpula dos Povos, no Rio de Janeiro.

Imagem e poder

Nesse sentido, a manipulação da imagem de Chico Mendes atua como um antídoto contra a memória de Francisco Alves Mendes Filho. Enquanto a memória revela obstinado desejo de transformação de uma realidade marcada pela exploração, injustiça e destruição, a imagem manipulada volta-se para o ocultamento dessa realidade. Mais do que isso, os novos mapas com ilustrações do “Zoneamento Econômico Ecológico”, que não passam de adaptações jurídicas e institucionais inebriadas com o vocabulário subjacente à ideologia do desenvolvimento sustentável, são usados para apresentar o Acre como “modelo de economia verde” a ser replicado em outras regiões do mundo.

Essa separação e/ou adaptação entre imagem e seus significados tem sido usada também em “Nuestra América” desde os primórdios da colonização europeia, como lembra Serge Gruzinski em seu livro “A guerra das imagens - de Cristóvão Colombo a ‘Blade Runner’ (1492-2019)”. De acordo com ele, desde que Colombo desembarcou no novo mundo a imagem foi utilizada para fins de dominação. Sem demora, diz o referido autor, os recém-chegados se perguntaram sobre a natureza das imagens que possuíam os indígenas. “Prontamente, a imagem constituiu um instrumento de referência, e logo de aculturação e de domínio, quando a igreja resolveu cristianizar os índios desde a Flórida até a terra do fogo. A colonização europeia aprisionou o continente em uma armadilha de imagens que não deixou de ampliar-se, desenvolver-se e modificar-se ao ritmo dos estilos, das políticas, das reações e oposições encontrados”, escreve Gruzinski.

É precisamente nesta perspectiva analítica que interpretamos a intencionalidade dessa separação entre “Chico e Francisco”. Isto é, apropriar-se de uma imagem e destituí-la de seu sentido original para transformá-la em poderoso instrumento de legitimação do poder. Obviamente, ela necessita manter alguns nexos com uma memória “devidamente adaptada” aos fins políticos de cada momento, conforme explicitado anteriormente.

No decorrer das celebrações dos “vinte anos sem Chico Mendes”, em 2008, mostramos os usos e abusos da imagem desse líder sindical no artigo “Movimentos sociais na Amazônia brasileira: vinte anos sem Chico Mendes”. Destacamos, entre outros pontos, que as proposições do Movimento Sindical no “tempo de Chico Mendes” foram apropriadas e transmutadas na sua negação. Portanto, não estava em curso uma suposta continuidade e, sim, uma ruptura com esse legado. Agora, faremos um exercício oposto: realçar os traços de continuidade no “estilo de desenvolvimento” em curso no Acre.

Legado

Em uma de suas últimas entrevistas , registrada no livro “O Testamento do Homem da Floresta Chico Mendes por ele mesmo”, de Cândido Grzibowski, ele disse o seguinte:

Não dá pra se entender que o governo seja ecológico, que defenda a ecologia, que seja contra o desmatamento, e que ao mesmo tempo esse mesmo governo mande a polícia armada para proteger o desmatamento.

“Em princípio teve alguns momentos que houve um avanço considerável do governo na questão ecológica, no Conselho Nacional dos Seringueiros, na luta dos seringueiros. Mas, em seguida, nós começamos a desconfiar e começamos a descobrir que o governo do Estado estava fazendo um discurso ecológico para justificar a aprovação de seus projetos nos bancos internacionais ou junto às organizações internacionais.  (…) Não dá pra se entender que o governo seja ecológico, que defenda a ecologia, que seja contra o desmatamento, e que ao mesmo tempo esse mesmo governo mande a polícia armada para proteger o desmatamento (…) Até o momento, a justiça sempre está do lado do maior. Um dos problemas, um dos pontos mais fracos com que nos defrontamos é a própria justiça. Muitas vezes recorremos ao apoio da justiça e a justiça, inclusive este ano foi claro, ficou do lado dos latifundiários (…)”

É justamente aí, no governo do PMDB de Flaviano Melo (1987-90), que podem ser encontrados os traços que teriam continuidade e que caracterizam o “fazer” do governo acriano desde 1999. Ao analisarmos atualmente os inúmeros conflitos pela posse da terra e aqueles relativos à expansão da exploração madeireira e pecuária no estado, vemos com clareza a reiteração daquele cenário político descrito por Chico Mendes em 1988. A diferença fundamental é que, hoje, o “ovo da serpente” eclodiu e o Estado está mais subordinado aos ditames dos financiamentos externos e à lógica do capitalismo verde (interpretado como resultante das modificações operadas no capitalismo no sentido de promover um movimento simultâneo de adaptação à nova divisão internacional do trabalho, ao reordenamento de natureza geopolítica, às reconfigurações nas relações Estado-Mercado e à assimilação do ambientalismo no processo de acumulação global que o presidem).

Os resultados de tudo isso apareceram bem sintetizados no já citado Do$$iê Acre. No referido documento destacam-se entre outros: 1) a elevada concentração da propriedade fundiária e da renda; a permanência dos conflitos pela posse da terra e o surgimento de outra ordem de conflitos relacionados com o processo de aprofundamento da mercantilização da natureza; interdição das demarcações de Terras Indígenas; 2) expansão das atividades produtivas consideradas mais predatórias como a pecuária extensiva de corte e exploração madeireira; 3) autoritarismo político e cooptação das representações dos trabalhadores, como o sindicalismo rural, com honrosa exceção do Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais (STTR) de Xapuri.

Sendo assim, o que prevaleceu não foi o legado de Chico Mendes mas, sim, o de seus inimigos. A continuidade passível de constatação é aquela relacionada com o prolongamento da espoliação sob a batuta de um poder oligárquico que necessita ser ocultado para mostrar a imagem de um “Acre moderno”. Os “usos e abusos” da imagem de Chico Mendes (como diz  Maria de Jesus Morais) são fundamentais neste sentido. Neste ano de 2013, o slogan usado pelo governo acriano para “comemorar” os 25 anos de assassinato de Chico Mendes foi: “25 anos, Chico Mendes vive mais” (texto e imagens sobre o assunto chegaram a ser publicados na página da Agência de Notícias do Governo do Acre, (mas o link http://www.agencia.ac.gov.br/index.php/chico-mendes-25-anos não está mais disponível).

Por esta razão, ao invés de usar a dita expressão parece mais apropriado dizer que Chico Mendes vive mais indignado com o capitalismo verde.

* Elder Andrade de Paula é professor associado do  Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas da Universidade Federal do Acre.

UN Climate negotiations: Enough is enough

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Enough is enough

We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference. The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.

The Warsaw Conference has put the interests of dirty energy industries over that of global citizens - with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction; corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue; and a Presidency (Poland) that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. When Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on emission cut commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously, the integrity of the talks was further jeopardized.

This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on the substance of an international mechanism. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions nor increased support for adaptation before 2020 – on these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing. We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, rich country governments have come with nothing to offer. Many developing country governments are also struggling and failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people.

It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.

Therefore, organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action.

We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all. And we will put pressure on everyone to do more to realize this vision.

Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference, it is clear that without such pressure, our governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. We will return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.

ONGS Y MOVIMIENTOS SOCIALES ABANDONAN LAS NEGOCIACIONES DE VARSOVIA (COP 19)

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Ya es suficiente.

Hemos dicho que nos solidarizamos con los millones de afectados por el tifón Haiyan, y con todas las personas afectadas por el clima. Nuestra solidaridad nos obliga a decir la verdad sobre la COP 19 - la Conferencia sobre el Clima en Varsovia.

La Conferencia sobre el Clima en Varsovia, que debería haber sido un paso importante en la transición justa hacia un futuro sostenible, está en camino de ofrecer prácticamente nada. De hecho, las acciones de muchos países ricos aquí en Varsovia, están socavando directamente la propia Convención de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático (CMNUCC), que es un importante proceso multilateral que debe tener éxito, si queremos solucionar la crisis climática global.

La Conferencia en Varsovia ha puesto los intereses de las industrias energéticas sucias, por encima de los intereses de los ciudadanos del mundo -con una “Cumbre del Carbón y el Clima” celebrada simultáneamente; el patrocinio corporativo de grandes industrias contaminantes estuvieron visibles por todo el lugar; y con una Presidencia (Polonia), que está adherida a la industria del carbón y el fracking (fracturación hidráulica). Cuando Japón anunció que seguía a Canadá, y que daría marcha atrás en sus compromisos de reducción de emisiones acordados anteriormente, y Australia –por su parte- dando varias señales que están totalmente indispuestos a tomarse en serio el proceso climático de la ONU, la integridad de las negociaciones fueron dañadas más aún.

Ésta semana vimos una reunión “Ministerial de Financiamiento” casi sin ningún financiamiento real, y las negociaciones sobre pérdidas y daños se han estancado porque los países ricos se niegan a participar en las discusiones sustanciales sobre un mecanismo internacional. Varsovia no ha visto ningún aumento en la reducción de emisiones, ni un mayor apoyo para la adaptación antes de 2020 -en estos asuntos, en realidad, nos ha llevado hacia atrás. Tampoco se vislumbra un camino claro que nos lleve hacia un acuerdo ambicioso y justo en París 2015.

Nosotros, como sociedad civil, estamos dispuestos a colaborar con los ministros y delegaciones que en realidad vienen a negociar de buena fe. Sin embargo, en la Conferencia de Varsovia, los gobiernos de los países ricos han venido sin nada que ofrecer. Muchos gobiernos de países en desarrollo también están teniendo dificultades y fracasando en defender las necesidades y los derechos de sus pueblos. Está claro que si los países siguen actuando de esta manera, los próximos dos días de negociaciones no proveerán la acción climática que el mundo desesperadamente necesita.

Por lo tanto, las organizaciones y movimientos que representan a personas de todos los rincones de la Tierra, han decidido que el mejor uso de nuestro tiempo consiste en retirarnos voluntariamente de las negociaciones sobre el clima en Varsovia. En cambio, ahora nos estamos enfocando en la movilización de la gente para empujar a nuestros gobiernos para que tomen el liderazgo climático en serio. Vamos a trabajar para transformar nuestros sistemas de energía y alimentos a nivel nacional y mundial, y reconstruir este sistema económico roto, para crear una economía sostenible y baja en carbono, con empleos decentes y medios de vida para todos y todas. Y vamos a presionar a todos para hacer realidad esta visión.

Al salir de la Conferencia sobre el Clima en Varsovia, está claro que, sin esa presión, no podemos confiar que nuestros gobiernos hagan lo que el mundo necesita. Volveremos con la voz de la gente en Lima, para hacer que nuestros gobiernos rindan cuentas y se ajusten a la visión de un futuro justo y sostenible.

Diary of a Corporate COP: how polluting industry is presenting its false solutions at COP19

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

From Corporate Europe Observatory

At the end of week one of the UN’s 19th climate conference, and after thousands of people have today marched through Warsaw demanding real, just, effective and ambitious climate action, we take a look back at some of the polluters’ propaganda events that have been happening inside, and outside, COP19.

BusinessEurope, the European Commission and the Polish fossil lobby
The beginning of week one of COP19’s corporate party brought an official side event inside the COP, on 12 November, called ‘Low Emission Poland? Yes we (do) care!’ It was organised by Forum of Gas and Electricity Receivers (yes, a massive gas and fossil fuel lobby), Forum CO2 (a Polish business and heavy industry club) and the Polish Ministry of Environment (the host of the climate talks and better known as the ministry of coal). The event attempted to portray the Polish government, ahem, as a friend of the climate. Present was not only the European Commission’s Hans Bergman, from DG CLIMA, but none other than the European employer’s federation BusinessEurope’s very own Nick Campbell. Who – as you can read about in our COP19 lobby guide – is the head of notorious climate-action blockers BusinessEurope’s climate change working group. Oh, and he works for chemicals giant Arkema. And did we mention that he used to simultaneously chair the climate group of chemicals lobby CEFIC and the Climate Change Task Force of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)? All of which lobby for false solutions to climate change: unjust and ineffective carbon markets that make the rich polluters richer and no less dirty; unconventional fossil fuels like environmentally and socially destructive shale gas; against binding or ambitious targets and mechanisms on emissions reductions or energy savings; and, of course, for the protection of their monopolies through intellectual property rights.

No surprise then that having infiltrated the COP, in an official side event, Campbell’s message was about how industry is already doing its part, how important competitiveness is and that a low electricity price is crucial to that. Oh, and that the EU’s flagship climate policy, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS, which has brought millions of euros in windfall profits to big business and industry whilst allowing them to continue without making domestic emissions reductions – see Carbon Markets box in the lobby guide) is already tough enough. As far as Campbell is concerned, you’ll get competitiveness by getting a global agreement – by which he really means, a global agreement that treats all countries the same – in other words, one that ignores historical responsibility and climate justice, and so is not only unfair but in practice impossible. Because countries in the global South who are suffering most from climate change but did least to cause it would never accept such an unjust agreement.
Chemical industry lobby CEFIC was also on the panel, with its executive secretary William Garcia reiterating that the key word is competitiveness, and realism, and of course, making threats about carbon leakage from Europe. A threat for which, by the way, there is no evidence of, nothing to show that industry/ business is leaving or would leave the EU because of its climate and energy policies. But that didn’t stop another panel member, hard right Polish ECR MEP Konrad Srymanski from insisting that Europe has already delivered so much, and that setting any kind of ambitious emissions reduction example is just ridiculous (climate justice, I hear you say?). According to Srymanski, it doesn’t help, it is economically harmful, nobody is following “us” (Europe) – in fact, they just want to free-ride on our reductions!

Center for European Policy Studies’ pushes for more markets

Later the same day another official COP19 side event in the Warsaw stadium, this time organised by prominent Brussels think tank the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS), which, if you read our lobby guide (’COP19 Policy Debates: The push for expanding markets’ box) you’ll discover is the architect behind the EU’s position on carbon markets. So it was again no surprise that their discussion “The role of the Framework for Various Approaches (FVA) in the 2015 international agreement” was not so much about various approaches, but was dominated by markets, markets and more markets. The FVA is a proposal for a set of non-market and market approaches to climate mitigation, but which could pave the way to a global carbon market by enabling trading between different emission trading schemes, developed with different rules, outside of the UNFCCC. CEPS’ event explained that it was thanks to the EU’s example (of an emissions-useless, but business-profitable) ETS, that lots of countries are now thinking of how carbon markets could effectively(!!) and efficiently(!!!) reduce their emissions. This business-interest steered propaganda however ignores all the evidence from carbon markets’ track record, and pushes a model that is antithetical to the climate debt owed by the rich to those people and countries who did least to cause the problem but are most affected by it. And which attempts to put a price on, and profit from, ecological services such as carbon sequestration. Leading to the privatisation of the atmosphere – a common good (See ‘Carbon Markets’ box in our lobby guide for more details).

Meanwhile, at the Warsaw Stock Exchange…

Thursday 14 November brought a trip outside the climate talks’ conference centre, to the Warsaw Stock Exchange, to an event coordinated in tandem with the COP, entitled ‘Sustainable investment: exploring strategies for resource efficiency and economic growth’. Intended for “leading investors and business figures to discuss how sustainable investment can be the driving force behind long-term economic growth” in a context where “climate change could contribute as much as 10% to portfolio risk over the next 20 year, however investment opportunities in low carbon technologies could total as much as $5 trillion” - i.e. its a great business opportunity! Introduced by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) – a “business sustainability” monitoring group - the message was indeed that business is not doing enough to prevent a 2 degree temperature increase (right so far) but that pricing carbon and markets is how we can stop catastrophic climate change, which can be a profitable exercise for business (…and you were doing so well!) Our old friends and masters of the spin that big business and polluting industry are part of the solution rather than the problem, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD – see their entry in the guide) was there to tell us about how we need to go back to what science says and do what’s appropriate to it, as well as the importance of measuring risk and reporting on sustainability. Oh, and that we need regulation that impacts all equally, so that competitiveness is all the same (do I need to say climate justice again?), and definitely not regulation that is a “politically correct reaction to something.”
Then, we heard from another of the event’s sponsors, Green Cross Poland – the greenwashing NGO of Poland’s richest man Jan Kulczyk (worth around 2.6billion euros), whose fortune comes from his companies’ exploitation of coal and fossil fuels. Kulczyk is one of the brains behind coal industry lobby group the Central European Energy Partners (CEEP), which has pushed for the scrapping of EU climate policy and replacing it with incentives for new, more-efficient coal plants (see Lotos Group entry in the guide). Kulczyk is also the might behind Green Cross Poland, an “environmental NGO” that pushes for business as the solution to our environmental problems and the so-called “green economy” (pretty much growth-based business as usual, with a few nice words about sustainability thrown in, and a dangerous push towards bringing other areas of nature – such as biodiversity or water – under the logic of markets, as with carbon. See ‘Green economy and technology focus’ box in the lobby guide). GreenCross Poland was represented by its vice-president Dominika Kulczyk-Lubomirska, and Kulczyk’s daughter. Her message was that “it is not politicians we should be talking to about ecological problems but business”, but because “business is business, you have to show them that being green is more profitable”.

Chemicals industry CEFIC spins tale for unconventional fossil fuels and CCS

From the Warsaw Stock Exchange back to the COP19 venue for a chemical industry propaganda show. An official side event hosted by CEFIC and ICCA (the European and International chemical industry associations) – with a little help from Dow Chemical (remember Bhopal, anybody?) - entitled “Accelerating Climate Solutions: Technology & Policy Options for Reducing Energy Use & GHG Emissions”. The event told attendees of our international climate talks that we need cheap energy and carbon, in a broad energy portfolio which includes nuclear energy (with its unacceptable risks and radioactive waste) and “game-changer technologies” like Carbon Capture Storage (i.e. new coal power with the hope that an as yet unproven technology not expected to be commercial until 2030, if at all, will keep CO2 emissions underground) in order to stay within 2 degrees temperature rise. With a lot of focus on energy efficient and low energy buildings (a very important part of reducing energy consumption) the chemicals industry did a very nice job of appearing to be a climate friend – when their business model and lobbying record – including pushing for shale gas, intellectual property and against recognition of historical responsibility, which would distort competition – show them very clearly to be a climate foe. (See CEFIC entry in the lobby guide).
This is just the tip of the (melting) iceberg. There were many other corporate lobby events both inside and outside the conference centre in the first week of the climate talks, and there will be many more next week. Added to that, the names of the polluting corporate partners are plastered all over the conference stadium, and free conference bags and notebooks are branded by the worst Polish coal and gas companies PGE and Lotos, both partners to COP19. Walking the corridors of the COP you’ll pass exhibition stalls http://www.cop19.gov.pl/exhibits belonging to the likes of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) (see the lobby guide entries for these lobby groups and the false solutions they’re pushing) as well as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Gas Union (IGU).
With the second week still to go, and most of the major decisions yet to made, our diary of a corporate COP shows yet again how the Polish government, hosts of the climate talks in Warsaw, is putting polluting corporations in an even more privileged position. Making the UN climate talks resemble, more than ever, a business fair. One which is attempting to outsource the solution to the climate crisis to the same corporations that have a vested interest in continuing to burn fossil fuels.

REDD - “Roubo e Extermínio Duplamente Disfarçado”

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Palestra de professora Amyra El Khalili em vídeo:
vídeo 1
vídeo 2

Amyra El Khalili  é especialista em sustentabilidade e mercado financeiro e professora de engenharia financeira. A partir do seu conhecimento prático sobre o mercado de commodities e derivativos, professora Khalili vem analisando, entre outros no seu artigo “Economia Verde: o subprime ambiental” os mecanismos financeiros propostos pela Economia Verde e apontando para os perigos das falsas soluções que vem sendo implementados por meio de projetos de Redução de Emissões por Desmatamento e Degradação — REDD e serviços ambientais.

A palestra foi realizada durante a  mesa redonda “Finaceirização da Natureza e espoliação nos Territórios Indígenas e Camponeses na Amazônia”, organizada pelo Conselho Indigenista Misionário (CIMI) Federação do Povo Huni kui do Acre (FEPHAC), Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais de Xapuri (STTR- Xapuri), Conselho de Missão entre Índios (COMIN) e o Núcleo de Pesquisa Estado, Sociedade e Desenvolvimento na Amazônia Ocidental da Universidade Federal do Acre (NUPESDAO /UFAC), realizada na sexta-feira, dia 12 de abril 2013, as 19:00hs no Anfiteatro Garibaldi Brasil da UFAC – Universidade Federal do Acre.

Conference on Belo Monte, organised by the Green Party of the European Parliament

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Dear all,

please find enclosed the invitation to the conference on Belo Monte, organised by the Green Party of the European Parliament. Join the event and please forward this invitation to anyone interested. Including those who still think that hydropower is sustainable: those are the ones we need to show the reality!
best regards, always,
Paul Wolters

Zum Anklicken der Belo-Monte Website, Konferenzprogramm und Anmeldemodalitaeten bitte den Anhang oeffnen.!

Please open the annex for the link to the Belo Monte Website, the conference agenda and the registration!

Para ver el link a la página web sobre  Belo Monte, la agenda y la inscripción abrir el anexo, por favor!

Para ver o link da página web sobre  Belo Monte, a agenda e a inscrição, abrir o anexo, por favor!

____ BELO MONTE MEGA-DAM ___

The Amazon up for grabs?

A Greens/EFA conference
Thursday 14 November 2013, 15:00-18:30
European Parliament - Room A1G3
60 rue Wiertz - 1047 Brussels

Belo Monte is a controversial mega-dam complex on the “big bend” of the Xingu river, a tributary of the Amazon. Like other mega-projects, it is claimed that such large scale development will improve living conditions for local people, in line with the  Brazilian government’s  slogan “development starts with energy”.  But who benefits? And who pays the bill?

Experts say that Belo Monte will produce a mere fraction of the projected electricity, while it risks huge social and environmental impacts, breaching the rights of the local population to access fisheries and forest. Critics argue that it will entail further construction contracts across the whole region while clearing the forest for mining.

How are EU citizens implicated through investments and shares in European companies which are consortia members? What are the legal challenges and options, what are the corruption allegations, what trials have been brought to the courts, and what has happened with them? What are the alternatives to these kinds of lucrative, publically-funded, expensive, high impact, low yield prestige projects?

Find out through presentations and debate between civil society and players in the legal, political and business world from both sides of the Atlantic, hosted by the three Green MEPs who visited the site and stakeholders in July.


NSA planetarian surveillance scheme “Prism” is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks

NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism

Read article The Guardian

Energy Alternatives — new reports from The Corner House

Friday, June 14th, 2013

By The Corner House

The main conflict in energy policy today is not between ‘business as usual’ and ‘The Alternative’, but among the many different proposed alternatives themselves.

The difficulty is not just that these alternatives are so diverse; the questions they address and the problems they aim to tackle are also different, as are the criteria for answering them, the vocabularies in which they are expressed, and the politics with which they are associated.

Figuring out what the assumptions and audiences of the various energy alternatives are is half the work of assessing where a democratic and survivable energy future might lie.

If the many divergent conversations about ‘energy alternatives’ taking place today around the world are to be brought together, analytically or politically, their points of difference and conflict as well as their possible areas of synergy must be recognized and mapped.

To support uncritically any and all initiatives that describe themselves as ‘energy alternatives’ would be to invite chaos and unending conflict – and would make a liveable energy future impossible.

A new 96-page report, ‘Energy Alternatives: Surveying the Territory’, from The Corner House and its partners, attempts to move discussions forward not by simplifying the debate but by clarifying how complex it is.

It sketches four crucial differences among leading types of energy alternative proposals and initiatives:

  • They are organized around different questions and audiences.
  • They rely on different conceptions of energy’s historical and social entanglements.
  • They follow different political theories and processes.
  • They have different understandings of the relationship between the local and the global.

The report explores each of these divides before outlining how — under these conditions of radical, contradictory diversity — civil society might best encourage the democratic dialogue and alliance-building that constitutes the most important aspect of effective action toward a survivable energy future.

Energy Alternatives: Surveying the Territory

The Museum of Fetishes

Depictions of the alternative energy technologies of the future suggest salvation is at hand — but most of the politics and material realities associated with them are invariably missing.

This article accompanying the report attempts to bring them into the picture, so that essential discussions about energy alternatives and futures do not degenerate into an irrelevant show of magic tricks.

We hope you find these new postings useful and interesting and welcome any feedback.