Archive for the ‘Where Fossil Fuels Come From?’ Category

Statement from the family of Arthur Manuel on his passing

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Arthur_ManuelOn Wednesday January 11, 2017 at 11:00 PM, Arthur Manuel, our beloved father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, warrior, and teacher passed away. Arthur was one of our most determined and outspoken Secwepemc leaders and activists—a pillar in the resistance, known globally for his tireless advocacy for Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination. He passed on into the spirit world surrounded by many generations of his loving family.

Arthur was the son of Marceline Paul of the Ktuanaxa Nation and George Manuel of the Secwepemc Nation. George was a political leader and visionary who served as president of the National Indian Brotherhood and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Arthur was born into the struggle and groomed to be a leader and defender of Indigenous rights and title. Coming up as a young leader in the 1970s, he served as president of the National Native Youth Association, leading the occupation of Indian Affairs. He attended Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) and Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, Ontario).

He returned to his community and was elected Chief of Neskonlith Indian Band, Chair of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, and Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Delgamuukw Implementation Strategic Committee. He was a long-time co-chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and former co-chair of the Global caucus. He was active in the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More movement and as a board member of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. He was one of the main strategic thinkers of the decolonization movement in Canada. As the spokesman for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, he convinced the World Trade Organization to recognize that Indigenous peoples are subsidizing the BC lumber industry through the non-recognition of Aboriginal title. He was co-author, along with Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, of the award-winning Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, with a foreword by his friend and fellow activist Naomi Klein.

He worked selflessly in defence of Indigenous territorial authority and he fiercely opposed any termination of Indigenous land rights. He rejected provincial and federal authority over unceded Indigenous land, and challenged the extinguishment of Indigenous title through the BC treaty process. He fought climate change, battling the imminent threat of pipelines across Secwepemc territory.

He was a world traveller who connected Indigenous nations across the globe to unite in a common vision and defend their rights. He was gifted a button blanket by the Nuxalk nation and has received countless honours for his work around the world.

Arthur was also a teacher and a mentor to many. He was a source of knowledge for youth and young leaders. Through his fierce love for his people, he shone a light on the path to justice for a new generation of activists.

He’s a residential school survivor, having attended the Kamloops (Kamloops BC), St Eugene’s (Cranbrook BC) and St. Mary’s (Mission BC) residential schools.

Arthur is survived by his life partner, Nicole Schabus, by his sisters Emaline, Martha, Doreen, and Ida, his brothers George, Richard, and Ara, and by his children, Kanahus, Mayuk, Ska7cis and Snutetkwe. He is predeceased by his parents, sister Vera, brother Bobby, beloved son Neskie and his grandchildren Napika Amak and Megenetkwe.

In his most recent article on Canada’s 150th celebration, published only a week before his death, Arthur insisted again that Canada was built entirely on the theft of Indigenous lands.

“Our Indian reserves are only .02% of Canada’s land and yet Indigenous peoples are expected to survive on them. This has led to the systematic impoverishment of Indigenous people and the crippling oppression that indigenous peoples suffer under the current colonial system.

The .02 land based is used to keep us too poor and too weak to fight back. It is used to bribe and co-opt the Indigenous leadership into becoming neocolonial partners to treat the symptom of poverty on Indian reserves without addressing the root cause of the problem, which is the dispossession of all of the Indigenous territory by Canada and the provinces.” – First Nations Strategic Bulletin, August-December 2016 Issue

Wake: Friday, January 13th 5:00 PM and Saturday, January 14th, Adams Lake Indian Band Gymnasium, 6349 Chief Jules Drive, Chase, BC

Funeral Services: Sunday, January 15th 10:00 AM, Adams Lake Indian Band Gymnasium

Media contact: Russell Diabo at 613-296-0110 or rdiabo@rogers.com
Donations to support Arthur’s service can be sent to jacksoncrick7@yahoo.ca
Condolences to the family and photos of Arthur can be sent to erfeltes@gmail.com

Carbon Trade Watch Newsletter 2014/1

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

While governmental leaders in Lima meet to trade away the climate, we would like to share some publications and multimedia work published in 2014 by CTW. Some key highlights include: Support for resistance in Brazil against pre-salt offshore oil drilling, research into natural gas and other energy conflicts in Europe, and uncovering further financialisation of nature plans such as biodiversity offsetting, and the new Natural Capital Finance Facility.

Publications:

The Natural Capital Finance Facility: A window into the green economy
This new publication aims to break down the complexities of emerging “nature” financing by exploring a new pilot facility put forward by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, called the Natural Capital Finance Facility. The authors discover the lack of transparency and power relations behind the NCFF and outline in clear language how natural capital financing functions, where the money comes from, how profits are made and how public funds are leveraged. In addition, the publication explores how funding mechanisms emerge before policy has been decided and links this to REDD+ and the carbon markets. This paper outlines the dangers to this approach and explores what is lost when financial mechanisms are given priority over grant-based projects.
To order

A Tree for a Fish: The (il)logic behind selling biodiversity
Putting a price on ecological systems has been around for several decades, although it was especially heightened during the UN climate negotiations with the introduction of the carbon market, a system which places a monetary value on the carbon-cycle capacity of nature for trade in financial markets. The carbon market quickly became “the only game in town” that policy-makers and multilateral agencies would discuss and implement regarding climate change policy. Following this logic, the 2010 UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) called for “innovative financial mechanisms’” to deal with biodiversity loss, making biodiversity offsets the standard buzzword within conservation debates. At the same time, people have been resisting projects that claim to compensate for biodiversity destruction and continue to demonstrate how this concept fails to address the drivers of environmental and social damage.
To order
En español

Like a Dull Knife: The People’s Climate “Farce” (Quincy Saul, Truthout)

Friday, September 19th, 2014

By Quincy Saul, Truthout

In the lead-up to any large-scale protest, it is useful to bear in mind the potential dangers and drawbacks of such an endeavor. On the eve of what is being advertised as “the biggest climate march in history,” we might reflect on Malcolm X’s experience of the March on Washington, as recounted in the Autobiography of Malcolm X:

“Farce in Washington”, I call it. . . . It was like a movie. . . . For the status-seeker, it was a status symbol. “Were you there?”. . . . It had become an outing, a picnic. . . . What originally was planned to be an angry riptide, one English newspaper aptly described now as “the gentle flood”. . . . there wasn’t a single logistics aspect uncontrolled. . . . They had been told how to arrive, when, where to arrive, where to assemble, when to start marching, the route to march. . . . Yes, I was there. I observed that circus.

Of course, not everyone present concurred with Malcolm X about the March on Washington – and even in a top-down format, one hopes the upcoming march could draw much-needed attention to the climate movement. The question is: At what cost? In this vein, what follows are a few reflections on the buildup to the September 21 People’s Climate March in New York City, to provide some concrete analysis of concrete conditions, and propose some solutions.

Deadline

The climate justice movement has an expiration date. If the tipping points in the earth system are passed, and the feedback loops begin their vicious cycle, human attempts at mitigation will be futile, and climate justice will become an anachronism – or at worst a slogan for geo-engineering lobbies. Thousands of scientists have come to consensus on this point, and many years ago gave us a deadline: A carbon emissions peak in 2015 followed by rapid and permanent decline.

In other words, we have roughly four months to work for climate justice. The world is literally at stake; all life on earth is at risk. Never has there been a more urgent or comprehensive mandate.

Even the guardians and gatekeepers of the ruling class, from politicians to scientists, are forthcoming on this point. Listen to Al Gore: “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers, and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.” He said that in 2007. It is in this context that we must seek to better understand and analyze the People’s Climate March.

“An Invitation to Change Everything”

The People’s Climate March has a powerful slogan. It has world-class publicity. But the desire to bring the biggest possible number of people to the march has trumped all other considerations. The results are devastating:

No Target: The march is a U-turn through Times Square, beginning at a monument to genocide (Columbus Circle) and ending . . . in the middle of nowhere. Here in New York City where the ruling class of the whole world has made their diverse headquarters, the march will target none of them. The march will not even go near the United Nations, its ostensible symbolic target.

No Timing: The United Nations will convene leading figures from all over the world – several days after the march. The march does not coincide with anything, contemporary or historic.

No Demands: Again, to attract the largest number of people, the march has rallied around the lowest common denominator – in this case, nothing. Not only are there no demands, but there is in fact no content at all to the politics of the march, other than vague concern and nebulous urgency about “the climate,” which is itself undefined.

No Unity: While a large number of people are sure to converge on Columbus Circle on September 21, the only thing they will have in common is the same street. The revolutionary communists will link arms with the Green Zionist Alliance and the Democratic Party, and compete with Times Square billboards for the attention of tourists and the corporate media.What is the binding agent for this sudden and unprecedented unity? Fifty-one years later, the words of Malcolm X still ring true: “the white man’s money.”

No History: Instead of building on the momentum of a decades-old climate justice movement, this march appears to be taking us backwards. Here’s what Ricken Patel of Avaaz, one of the main funders of the march, said to The Guardian: “We in the movement, activists, have failed up until this point to put up a banner and say if you care about this, now is the time, here is the place, let’s come together, to show politicians the political power that is out there on there.”

It is as if the massive mobilizations outside the United Nations meeting in Copenhagen (2009), Cancun (2010) and Durban (2011) never took place, let alone the literally thousands of smaller, more localized actions and gatherings for climate justice. At all of these gatherings, activists convoked the world to demonstrate the power of the people, under banners which were far more radical and transformative than anything we have seen so far for this march.

No Integrity: The invitation to change everything has been permitted and approved by the New York City Police Department. This permit betrays a lack of respect for the people who will be making sacrifices to come all the way to New York City to change the world, and a lack of integrity among those who want to change everything, but seek permission for this change from one of the more obviously brutal guardians of business as usual. This lack of integrity sets up thousands of earnest souls for an onset of depression and cynicism when this march doesn’t change the world. This will in turn be fertile soil for everyone and anyone hawking false solutions.

No target, no demands, no timing, no unity, no history and no integrity amounts to one thing: No politics. The whole will be far less than the sum of its parts. The biggest climate march in history will amount to something less than Al Gore.

In discussions over the past month with a wide range of people – UN diplomats, radical Vermonters, unionists, professors, liberal Democrats, etc. – the same thing has been repeated to me by everyone: “If we get a huge number of people, no one will be able to ignore us.” “The mainstream media will be forced to cover it.”

So what is being billed and organized as The People’s Climate March, and An Invitation to Change Everything, turns out to be a massive photo op. The spectacle of thousands of First World citizens marching for climate justice, while they continue to generate the vast majority of carbon emissions, brings to mind the spectacle of George W. Bush visiting New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

So what are we left with? James Brown knew, when he said: “You’re like a dull knife; Just ain’t cutting. You’re just talking loud; And saying nothing. Just saying nothing. Good luck to you; Just allow you’re wrong. Then keep on singing that; Same old money song . . .”

So What Are We Going to Do About It?

This is not the place to complain, but to propose solutions. If we are unsatisfied with this march and its leadership, we have to provide an alternative. As James Brown knew, we “have to pay the cost to be the boss.” Here are some suggestions for starters:

We are going to stop lying to the people. This is the primary and cardinal rule of revolutionary politics. To invite people to change the world and corral them into cattle pens on a police-escorted parade through the heart of consumer society is astoundingly dishonest. From now on, we will stop lying to people. Climate justice requires nothing less than a global revolution in politics and production; it requires a historic transition to a new model of civilization, which will demand great sacrifice and creativity from everyone.
We are going to stop making demands of anyone or anything but ourselves and each other. The powers that be are deaf, dumb and deadly, and we will waste no further time trying to pressure or persuade them. We are going to stop speaking truth to power and start speaking truth to powerlessness. Either we are going to become the leaders we have been waiting for, starting now, or we are going to resign ourselves to the inevitability of catastrophic climate change and the sixth mass extinction.
We are going to return to the source. This means three things: (A) Return to the common people from the delirious heights of symbolic protest politics, with dedication to concrete local work, to divorce food, water, shelter and energy systems from capital. (B) Return to the livelihood and wisdom of our ancestors, the indigenous peoples of every continent, who have lived for thousands of years in harmony with nature, and who still possess the knowledge and skills to restore balance. (C) Return to the sun – a second Copernican revolution and a heliocentric energy policy. Either we return to a subsistence perspective that has prevailed for the majority of human history, or all future development of productive forces must be based exclusively on solar energy.
We are going to get arrested! The only thing that we can do to meet the deadline for climate justice is to engage in a massive and permanent campaign to shut down the fossil fuel economy. But we have to do this strategically, not in the symbolic cuff-and-stuffs that are a perversion and prostitution of the noble ideals of civil disobedience and revolutionary nonviolence. So we are going to shut down coal plants; we are going to block ports, distribution centers and railway hubs where fossil fuels are transported; whatever it takes to keep the oil in the soil. We’re going to put our bodies between the soil and the sky.So let’s make sure that the call to “Flood Wall Street” on September 22 is the “angry riptide” it should be, and not “the gentle flood.”
We are going to join the rest of the human race. For 200 years too long, citizens of the United States have been parasites and predators on the rest of the world. To prevent climate catastrophe, we are going to leave our imperial hubris behind, and join with the revolutionary ecosocialist uprisings that are sweeping the global South.

Berlin: Aufruf zur gemeinsamen Teilnahme an der Klimademo am Sonntag, 21.9.2014

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Liebe Mitstreiter,
gemeinsam mit Tausenden von Demonstranten in New York, London, Paris und weiteren Städten auf allen Kontinenten wollen wir die Politiker, die am Klimagipfel 2 Tage später teilnehmen, an ihre Verantwortung für diese Welt erinnern! Die Filmaufnahmen dieser Demos werden auf der Konferenz gezeigt werden.

TREFFPUNKTE am 21.9. um 14:30 Uhr
14 Uhr – Alexanderplatz – Fußgänger Demo mit Silent Climate Parade.
14.30 Uhr – Mariannenplatz Kreuzberg – Fahrrad-Demo
16.30 Uhr – Potsdamer Platz/Ebertstraße (Vor ‘Vapiano’) – Kinder- und Familiendemo

All drei Demozüge führen zum MAL SCHNELL DIE WELT RETTEN am Brandenburger Tor.

In Richtung Straße des 17. Juni wird es eine eine Schnippeldisko-Vokü geben, Upcycling-Events und Workshops sowie Infos und Diskussionen mit Umwelt- und Klimagruppen.

ABLAUF:
Wir sammeln uns an den angegebenen Treffpunkten. Abmarsch Richtung Brandenburger Tor – Ankunft Brandenburger Tor: ca 17 Uhr. Dort beginnt dann eine große Kundgebung mit vielfältigem Programm bis in die späten Abendstunden. Wir sollten dort noch eine Weile beieinander bleiben. Zwischen 17:30 und 18:00 Uhr werden Luftballons auf den Weg nach New York geschickt.

Die Demos sind als Silent Climate Parade konzipiert: das heißt für die Fußgänger TANZEND zum Brandenburger Tor zu ziehen. Die Musik dazu kommt über Kopfhörer, die man sich individuell am Neptunbrunnen bei den Hauptveranstaltern ausleihen kann (Ausgabe ab 13 Uhr, Personalausweis dabei haben!). Abgabe der Kopfhörer ab 17 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor.

Weitere Informationen:
Alle Aktionen auf dieser Demo sind umweltfreundlich, Musik wird über Kopfhörer gehört, auch die Luftballons, die zwischen 17.30 Uhr und 18.00 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor auf den Weg nach New York geschickt werden, sind biologisch abbaubar.

Bitte auch Information in Englisch lesen: Like a Dull Knife: The People’s Climate “Farce” (Quincy Saul, Truthout)Klick hier

Crítica ao mercado de carbono

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Crítica ao mercado de carbono assegura que mecanismo de compensação é antiético

Filósofo pela Universidade de Viena, Michael Schmidlehner questiona legislação criada pelo Governo do Acre para garantir pagamento por serviços ambientais e usa o argumento da ‘justiça climática’ para fulminar a dinâmica da compensação por emissão de gases de efeito estufa Amazônia

ITAAN ARRUDA

(fonte: jornal A Gazeta)

Os pagamentos por serviços ambientais estão longe da unanimidade. Há fortes argumentos que questionam a implantação de políticas públicas cuja retórica se fundamenta na lógica “fazer com que as comunidades ganhem dinheiro com a floresta em pé”.

Professores universitários de diversas partes do mundo, dirigentes de pequenas ONGs, líderes rurais, pesquisadores têm relativizado a eficácia do mercado de carbono como mecanismo de minimização do efeito estufa, responsável pelo aquecimento global, e criticam duramente o instrumento REDD (Redução de Emissões por Desmatamento e Degradação Florestal).

Sobre essas questões, o Acre tem sido apontado, sem exagero, como uma espécie de “modelo” da implantação desses mecanismos como política pública, inclusive com amparo legal, como é o caso do Sistema Estadual de Incentivo a Serviços Ambientais (Sisa), gestado no governo de Binho Marques, finalizado na atual administração de Tião Viana e aprovado na Assembleia Legislativa ano passado.

Aliás, esse é o primeiro argumento utilizado pelos críticos para aniquilar a proposta dos pagamentos por serviços ambientais. Essas legislações semelhantes ao Sisa são classificadas como “subnacionais”. Elas, de acordo com os críticos, não são formuladas por um mecanismo centralizado no Governo Federal e por ele fiscalizado e monitorado.

“O artigo 225 da Constituição brasileira diz que o meio ambiente é um bem público”, adverte o filósofo e professor universitário Michael Schmidlehner. “Isso é um valor e não está certo transformar isso em mercadoria”. O professor lembra que o ex-governador do Estado da Califórnia, Arnold Schwarzenegger liderou a formação de uma rede de gestores públicos chamada de Goverment Task Force que usou a retórica da defesa e preservação ambiental para, de fato, blindar interesses comerciais de grandes indústrias por meio de iniciativas subnacionais semelhantes ao Sisa.

“A própria ONU condenou por unanimidade essas iniciativas subnacionais”, lembra o pesquisador. A Organização das Nações Unidas entendeu que esse tipo de ação pública deve ser necessariamente protagonizada pelos governos centrais e não pelas federações.

Compensações como mascaramento

O filósofo Michael Schmidlehner defendeu ano passado uma tese de mestrado sobre biodiversidade na Universidade de Viena, na Áustria. O estudo parte da análise do discurso oficial do Governo do Acre até a implantação das políticas públicas.

Para o pesquisador, a essência da defesa do Governo do Acre se baseia na seguinte lógica econômica: atribui-se um valor monetário aos recursos e o ser humano vai preservá-los porque vai valorizá-los. A “repartição de benefícios” seria, nesse cenário, um “estímulo para a preservação”. Um argumento que Schmidlehner rebate com a seguinte pergunta: “Será que é da natureza humana sempre optar pelo crescimento econômico?”, indaga. “Eu imagino que não. Seria muito triste se fosse só isso”.

No entanto, o pesquisador é honesto em reconhecer que não encontrou um caminho para a solução do problema. “Eu tenho que dizer que também não tenho as soluções para combater a miséria, distribuir renda. Não tenho. Mas, no meu ver, o que está acontecendo é muito preocupante porque está se dizendo que teria soluções. E eu acho que eles estão fundamentalmente equivocados”.

Schmidlehner utiliza uma metáfora simples para dizer que todos, inclusive, estão em busca de um novo caminho. “Eu acho que é muito pior você dizer para alguém perdido que você tem um mapa, que você sabe que é falso, do que dizer que não sabe o caminho”, compara. “É isso que eu acho que está acontecendo: acho que está sendo replicado um mapa errado, falso, que aponta para soluções que, ao contrário, são um beco sem saída ou programas que tendem a piorar”.

Antiético

Schmidlehner pontua um problema sistêmico na dinâmica da compensação por emissões de gases de efeito estufa. Ele cita vários casos, mas destaca um que ocorre no estado da Califórnia, oeste dos Estados Unidos.

“Há comunidades de baixa renda que vivem em Los Angeles próximos de fábricas [que emitem grandes quantidades de gases poluentes] e as pessoas têm taxas de câncer elevadas, taxas de aborto espontâneos elevados e as crianças brincam no meio da fumaça”, pontua.

Ele informa que essas comunidades já exigiram que essas empresas diminuam as emissões. “Já mandamos cartas para lá exigindo: ‘Não façam isso. A compensação não resolve o problema climático e é eticamente questionável’, disse em carta. “Ora, como vender crédito de carbono daqui para lá vai resolver o problema da vida dessas pessoas? Tem que reduzir ao invés de compensar. Essa ideia da compensação é anti-ética e ela não resolve o problema”.

Virtualidade

O filósofo questiona o instrumento de REDD ou de REDD+. “Há um grande equívoco, por exemplo, quando se fala dos projetos REDD”, sentencia. “A partir do momento que eles são financiados através do mercado, o seu efeito de redução de emissões é aniquilado porque ele permite as mesmas emissões em outro lugar. E pior: essas emissões reduzidas são emissões altamente virtuais”.

A defesa oficial dos governos baseada na lógica do “ou usa com método ou se devasta” efetiva uma troca ruim para as comunidades. “O argumento comum é o seguinte: ‘se não fazemos nada, as áreas florestais vão ser desmatadas’, mas omite-se o fato de que aquele que compra, o carbono que ele emite já vai para os ares realmente”, afirma. “Troca-se algo virtual por algo muito real. Além disso, não há garantia de que as florestas onde há aplicação de conceito REDD estejam imunes às catástrofes, incêndios… são previsões”.

Territorialidade ameaçada

O mecanismo REDD dificulta o uso emancipador da territorialidade por parte das populações tradicionais da floresta. Dito de outra forma: o uso da terra não é mais autodeterminado pelos povos que nela vivem. Ou, no mínimo, isso sofre bastante com a entrada em cena do mecanismo REDD, defende o pesquisador.

“As pessoas vão ter que seguir regras implementadas de fora”, analisa. “São outras regras que vão se estabelecer sobre esse território. O exercício de territorialidade, de ter a autonomia da tua terra, de fazer as coisas como a tua comunidade entende passa a ser ameaçado”.

Para Schmidlehner, a pergunta é relativamente simples. “Como se mantém o conhecimento tradicional? O conhecimento tradicional não é museu. Se você regulamenta o conhecimento tradicional você já perde a essência dele. Porque ele é criado e se cria na prática, na oralidade e na ação. É na interação com as formas de vida da floresta que se gera o conhecimento. É algo vivo”.

Para o filósofo, a retórica oficial acaba expondo uma contradição. “Então, chega até ser uma ironia dizer que com os serviços ambientais se valoriza a cultura e os conhecimentos tradicionais ecossistêmicos, como está no Sisa”.

REDD promove fuga de desmatamento

Quando uma empresa madeireira atua em determinada região, há impacto ambiental evidente, com ou sem manejo. Se essa região passa a ser utilizada pela ação de governo com implantação do instrumento de REDD, a madeireira não deixará de existir. Ela apenas migrará para outra área, ampliando o rastro de desmate, argumenta o pesquisador.

“Existem interesses de grandes empresas, grandes bancos, de usar o Acre como vitrine para isso. Então, por isso, é tão importante a verdade sobre os projetos REDD”, diz. “Nos relatórios feitos por muitas ONGs, há omissão de muitos problemas. Um deles trata da permanência do carbono, que não é garantido. Outro problema é do ‘vazamento’ ou ‘fuga’. Você praticamente exporta a destruição.

Motivos para impedir implantação do mecanismo REDD, segundo pesquisador

1.    Restrições e proibições às comunidades (falta de soberania sobre próprio território);

2.    Ameaça à soberania e segurança alimentar;

3.    REDD não evita destruição da mata (não preserva floresta);

4.    Comunidades são acusadas de desmatar, mas empresas poluidoras, não;

5.    Proposta REDD é imposta às comunidades. Não nasceu nas comunidades

6.    Fragmentação de lideranças nas comunidades;

7.    REDD não socializa resolução de problemas comuns às comunidades

Top UN climate change official Christiana Figueres said that it is ‘no longer necessary’ for the World Bank to rely on coal in its energy projects

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Top UN climate change official Christiana Figueres said that it is ‘no longer necessary’ for the World Bank to rely on coal in its energy projects, saying that the organization should now focus on bringing alternative energy sources forward.

Figureres commended World Bank Director Jim Yong Kim on his commitment to climate action and acknowledged that coal has understandably played an important role in past energy development projects. She went on to say, however, that it is time for the World Bank to move on from coal.

Figueres said:
“It is one of the very serious challenges that the World Bank has, and it’s very understandable, because [coal] was a fuel that was critically important to developing countries at a certain stage in their development. So the fact that the bank has a portfolio of investment in coal is understandable from a historical perspective. …it is no longer necessary to do that, because we have many other technologies that can come forward.”

Her remarks come as the World Bank draws criticism for its support of a new coal power plant in Kosovo. Director Jim Yong Kim has defended the project because of unmet energy needs in the area, but many have challenged Kim’s assumption that coal power is a solution – including Kosovars.

Citing the alarming health consequences of coal, Kosovar activists have launched a major public health campaign against the new power plant through ads on national television and social media outlets, as well as a light projection on the World Bank building in Washington D.C. Opponents believe that Kosovo’s energy needs can be met more safely and effectively through greater energy efficiency and modest renewable energy projects.

Figueres, like the Kosovar activists, is highlighting the discrepancy between the World Bank’s commitment to mitigating climate change and its continued support for coal – one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, as well as an enormous burden on public health and the environment.

As an international funding organization, a decision from the World Bank to halt funding for coal would be a powerful statement of its decreasing viability as an energy source.

READ: Where Fossil Fuels Come From?