Archive for June, 2011

No Peru, aeroporto é fechado em meio a distúrbios

Friday, June 24th, 2011

No Peru, aeroporto é fechado em meio a distúrbios

As operações do aeroporto peruano de Puno, na fronteira com a Bolívia, foram suspensas hoje em meio aos distúrbios decorrentes dos protestos da população local, que tenta impedir a implementação de projetos de mineração e energia na região. “Os voos estão preventivamente suspensos até as 18 horas (20 horas em Brasília)”, disse o controlador de voo Johnny Meza, que trabalha na torre de controle do aeroporto internacional de Manco Capac, em Puno, 830 quilômetros ao sudeste de Lima.

De acordo com a emissora de televisão N, cerca de 300 policiais tentavam conter a revolta da população local. A rádio Pachamama informou que os manifestantes derrubaram as cercas do perímetro do aeroporto e chegaram a invadir a pista. Os manifestantes exigem que o governo peruano expulse a mineradora canadense Bear Creek, que quer explorar prata na região. Eles também são contra a construção de uma hidrelétrica por meio da qual seria vendida energia ao Brasil. As informações são da Associated Press.

Heinrich Böll Stiftung: A frustrated call to debate from a German Green

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

NGOs in the Climate Crisis
Processes of Fragmentation, Lines of Conflict,
and Strategic Approaches

By Barbara Unmüßig

I

“The global crisis situation challenges us to adopt a new process-oriented approach to the engagement of civil society ” – concludes Klaus Heidel in a contribution to the 2009 Social Watch Deutschland Report. Heidel presents a critical reflection on the role of civil society – indeed, a rare phenomenon from the ranks of civil society organizations. He cites limitations, divisions, and the diverse dilemmas facing civil society actors. (Heidel 2009)

The debate is overdue. For many years, the belief has survived that we are one global civil society which – in a historic mission – will save the world in light of the universal failure of state policies. This position is experiencing a renaissance, particularly following the disappointing United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

At the same time, the international climate negotiation process highlights how large the conflicts of interest among civil society climate actors have now become in terms of geography, positions, and ideologies. There can no longer be any talk of strength through unity, of harmony of positions. The political conflicts of interest are further joined by numerous internal institutional principles and constraints on civil society work – especially with respect to access to resources and financial aid and to (media) publicity.

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that become involved in global processes such as the climate negotiations have long been confronted with the same structural problems and dilemmas as those of official government negotiators: Who is included, who is excluded? How is it even possible to achieve the capacity to act and develop strategies in light of extremely heterogeneous interests?
What would be a smart division of labor with so many actors? Which resources can be meaningfully put to use? What can be implemented in a politically realistic way and what would be desirable in climate policy (justice, solidarity, overcoming the North-South conflict)?

Since the disappointment in the outcome of the climate summit in Copenhagen, many civil society
organizations have indeed begun to reflect on their own role in the climate negotiation process and on climate protection in general. In his discussion paper of January 2010, Jürgen Maier, Director of the German NGO Forum on Environment and Development, calls on the NGOs “to take a self-critical look at themselves and ask to what extent they actually contributed to the poor result of the climate negotiations and whether they should adjust their course accordingly.” (Maier 2010)

II

Whether Greenpeace or the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), whether the Climate Action Network (CAN) or Friends of the Earth International (FOEI)4 and Climate Justice Now!5 – all the global climate actors have discussed their future role at the climate negotiations and in climate policy in general in closed meetings, following the failure at Copenhagen. Very few of these debates have become public.

Based on my own observation, the questions mentioned above have hardly played a role in those debates. There is no such thing as an international and interorganizational strategy debate.

There is no single actor who could organize such a debate. There just isn’t that one strategic center for civil society and there won’t ever be one.

Mixed Bunch

Who is this mixed bunch known as “NGOs”? NGO stands for “nongovernmental organization” and is the collective term for not only vastly differing civil society organizations but also informal coalitions and interregional networks (Janett 1997). In public surveys, they sometimes achieve favorability ratings which politicians can only dream of. They are occasionally even described as “the makings for a better world.” (Nuscheler 1998)

There is nothing new about the occurrence of NGOs, much less in climate policy. For two decades now, no UN climate conference has taken place without them being present and involved in negotiations. Since the beginning of negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, interested NGOs have been included in the official negotiations.

As long as they have the status of an organization or an institution, they may register for the negotiations as observer organizations.

While 171 organizations were registered at the start, that number has already grown to 530
organizations by 2000 (Carpenter 2001). To date, more than 1,297 NGOs are registered at the UNFCCC. That high number may seem astonishing at first glance. But the United Nations apply a broad definition of “NGO” to include all organizations not “established by means of an intergovernmental agreement.”

This definition therefore also includes universities, trade and industrial associations, churches, and municipal authorities.

III

Trends in Climate Work

The participation of civil society actors in the UN climate negotiations has experienced various trends during the past 20 years. Numerous environmental and development organizations participated in the negotiations during and after the Earth Summit – the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development – which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In Germany, the UN Conference of Parties, generally known as COP, admitted that it had achieved a high degree of mobilization and local, national, and international networking in Berlin in 1995 (Walk 1997).

The interest of a broad spectrum of civil society actors then began to fade following the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in Kyoto, Japan (1997). Development organizations from the North and South in particular withdrew from the climate process and increasingly dedicated their political attention to “traditional” poverty issues and in particular to international trade policy – at an international level, to the World Trade Organization process.

Consequently, the anti-globalization movement which was gaining strength hardly, if at all, addressed global ecological challenges. Issues of distribution and equity were linked more closely to social rather than ecological issues. Civil society was no longer as committed to discussing environment and development in the same joint context as it had been doing in the 1990s.

As a result, large and transnational environmental organizations such as WWF and Greenpeace, national environmental organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Defense Fund7 or the German BUND,8 international networks such as Friends of the Earth International or the Climate Action Network, as well as more recent highly specialized NGOs such as the German organization Germanwatch9 or the British E3G10 virtually kept to themselves at the annual UN Conference of Parties. Their climate specialists buried themselves in the technical details of the negotiations and concerned themselves with the complicated structures of the UN climate process.

And although they criticized some instruments such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and emissions trading on the margins, they generally supported them. In the well-publicized annual ritual of the COPs, the NGOs lamented the lack of progress with regard to implementation of the emission reduction commitments made in the Kyoto Protocol and demanded more technology transfer and more money for climate protection. The international negotiation process was, however, hardly bound to the larger NGOs’ own members and could hardly be communicated to a wider public. The NGOs themselves no longer even bothered with a wider mobilization.

The NGO climate specialists mostly kept to themselves and enjoyed more of a co-elitist status relative to the government delegations. Moreover, apart from transnational networks such as the Climate Action Network or Friends of the Earth International, civil society actors from the countries of the global South were virtually absent from the negotiations. Even international development organizations such as Oxfam stayed away for years.

This situation did not change until the mid-2000s. However, the global wake-up call for a new offensive in global climate protection came not from civil society but from climate scientists who, based on their findings, warned the public and policy makers of the dramatic advance in climate change. Many civil society organizations changed their agenda once again and became re-involved in climate protection, at the expense of trade issues, among other concerns. The WTO was now out, as the massive caravan of NGOs descended on Copenhagen for the UN climate summit in December 2009.

IV

That climate summit experienced the largest mass mobilization ever in the existence of the climate negotiations. Thus, many new actors from the North and South have become re-involved in the climate negotiations:

Development organizations such as Oxfam11, Christian Aid12, or, in Germany, Misereor13 and Bread for the World14 are once again active in climate policy, whether in the newly founded German Climate Alliance15 or in developing countries with adequate programs and partners. Locally, there are again also ever more initiatives and organizations – whether in the North, East, or South – opposing misdirected energy projects or other large-scale projects.

With these new civil society actors, “forgotten” or neglected topics such as climate justice and poverty have also returned to the negotiation processes. This was visible and tangible by the time of the 2009 COP in Bali and has manifested itself, among other ways, in the establishment of a completely new transnational network such as Climate Justice Now!.

Within a period of three years, the influential Third World Network16 established itself as a central voice for civil society with a large influence on governments in southern countries and now publishes daily newsletters during interim climate negotiations and during the COPs themselves.

CAN has accepted new members mainly from the South. They have called on CAN internally to engage in debates on climate justice and burden sharing with regard to CO2 reduction targets and finances. The NGO Focus on the Global South17 helped organize a climate justice conference in Bangkok in July 2008, where 170 activists from social movements and the critical scientific communities from 31 countries took part.18 In the South Indian village of Mamallapuram in October 2008, CAN hosted its second Equity Summit since 2001, which 150 representatives from civil society organizations representing 48 countries attended (Fuhr 2008).

Participation was thus noticeably expanded and has become less homogenous and exclusive. The greater diversity and heterogeneous nature of the NGOs has, however, also intensified the conflicts between them and the various advocacy groups (indigenous and professional organizations, feminist and gender-issue organizations, trade unions, and many others).

Notwithstanding these changes, another factor remains important for participation in global negotiations:

Who is able to raise the necessary funds? Who is able to afford the travel, the hotels? These material questions, too, determine who is excluded and who participates. As a result, the NGO community has experienced a split, which divides the more hierarchically structured “global players” from other NGOs with fewer resources and spontaneously organized grassroots organizations and social movements.

V

Fragmentation and Diverging Interests

Now more than ever, the climate crisis reveals how historical and economic responsibility for the crisis differs and how regions and social classes are differently affected by climate change. This also manifests itself in the diverging interests within civil society. Conflicts of interest are becoming more and more visible, between northern and southern NGOs, between NGOs and social movements, and between environmental and development organizations. They latch onto particular positions, but also onto strategic processes (lobby work vs. actions) and onto the relevant level of activity (local vs. global). Thus, divisions have become inevitable. Friends of the Earth International has left CAN. Climate Justice Now! has not even become a member of CAN.

Overall, CAN has lost some of its unifying and coordinating power. The search for compromise has become cumbersome due to heterogeneous interests and the greater number of members. Especially large NGOs, which invest a lot of money in their presence at the climate negotiations, organize their own publications and events relating to the summits, and above all want to feature in the (global) media, are increasingly working “for their own account” again. No time is left to engage in strategy debates or to search for compromise. Moreover, irreconcilable differences in positions appear to make coordination irrelevant – the NGOs each simply go their separate ways.

The more NGOs become professional, the greater the risk that they will lose their grip on reality and their direct democratic aspiration. And the more heavily they influence real political processes, the more likely they are to lose their ability to speak for the public good. They often lose themselves in the minor aspects of their selective concerns. They concentrate on matters that their donors might like. Those who want not merely to protest and organize campaigns but rather to work together with government institutions so as to obtain access to power soon run the risk of sacrificing a piece of their autonomy and being instrumentalized by the system. Not all the NGOs are able to manage this balancing act between the rightness of their concerns and the significance of their influence.

Common Denominator: Two Degrees

But, first, let us look at what may be regarded as the consensus among all the civil society climate actors:

All those relying on the UN process want an ambitious, fair, and binding post-Kyoto agreement that is guided by the findings in climate science. The medium- and long-term emission reduction targets must aim to keep global warming as far below two (or even 1.5) degrees Celsius as possible – by means of a binding UN agreement. It is agreed that emissions have to be reduced by up to 90% by the year 2050 and that, to this end the economy has to be decarbonized as soon as possible. It is also undisputed that the global South has to receive financial and technology transfers from the OECD countries when phasing out fossil fuels and adapting to climate change.

First Line of Conflict: Burden Sharing between North and South

However, the differences in positions among civil society climate actors begin with the question of burden sharing – as is also the case among governments. Once it became clear that the two degree guideline could only be maintained if, in addition to the industrial countries that bear the main responsibility, the large emerging countries would also have to agree to large-scale emission reductions in a global agreement, the related controversies have intensified.

VI

While some regard as outdated the old division of countries into Annex B countries, that is, those countries that have made concrete commitments to reduce emissions pursuant to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol, and non-Annex B countries,19 which are not obliged to ensure reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, others remain absolutely committed to this categorization. Many NGOs, including the Third World Network, the Indian Center for Science and Environment (CSE)20, and the CAN regional groups, maintain the same stance as that of the emerging economy governments of the South: They do not want to agree to any binding reduction commitments as long as the North does not reduce its CO2 emissions in a binding and drastic manner (preferably up to minus 40 percent by 2020).

It is here that the role of the United States becomes central, because it constantly demands the inclusion of the emerging countries of China and India, while being unable itself to add anything to the
negotiations that would be consistent with its historical and current responsibility. Still, NGOs from the
OECD countries are also urging the governments of the South to accept their responsibility for the two
degree target, beyond all commitments by the North. In line with the positions of their governments, civil society organizations of the small island nations are also demanding ambitious reduction targets from industrial and emerging countries.

It is therefore not uncommon for NGOs to frame their demands similarly to the interests of their respective countries and governments. In the haggling over national reduction commitments, which preferably should not cause any economic disadvantages to the respective national economies, the NGOs unfortunately do not always perform the role ascribed to them “to act as organizations of the ‘third sector’ between the spheres of government authority and economic power.” (Janett
1997)

Instead, they often become allies of governments. This situation becomes even more problematic when authoritarian regimes are involved that violate human rights and suddenly present themselves as champions of climate justice on the global stage. The justification of certain U.S. government positions by some U.S. NGOs also has to be classified as a similar problem.

Second Line of Conflict: Market Mechanisms vs. System Change

This also applies to the second area of conflict. What instruments should be used to meet the challenge of climate change? Here, there are larger conflicts regarding what are known as “flexible market-oriented instruments,” such as the Clean Development Mechanism, the instruments of Joint Implementation (JI), Emissions Trading, and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). While a large group of NGOs endorses these instruments in principle but also sees an enormous need for reform, more radical NGOs generally reject them as unsuitable for climate protection, reducing inequality, and overcoming poverty. “We also condemn their [the northern governments’; remark by the author] aggressive promotion of false solutions such as carbon trading (including the Clean Development Mechanism and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries/and Forest Degradation); technofixes such as agrofuels, megadams and nuclear power, and science fictions like carbon sequestration and storage. These so-called solutions will merely exacerbate the climate crisis and deepen global inequality.

VII

Some NGOs that 10 years ago criticized the Kyoto Protocol with regard to some of its basic elements
• for example, trade in emission allowances or the spurious offsetting of greenhouse gas reductions against energy-induced emissions – today defend it vehemently against new NGOs and social movements that condemn the current climate process, including the involved NGO representatives, as nothing more than the legitimization and stabilization of the status quo economic system.

Do we need “green growth” à la capitalism reloaded or rather a radical system change to avert collapse?

At the same time, indigenous organizations in particular hope to receive financing from the new mechanism REDD to protect their forests. They want to profit from this mechanism, while others regard it as another loophole through which the industrial countries are shirking their responsibility. Large nature conservation organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy (TNC), that operate globally in nature conservation with hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars also see themselves profiting from REDD and have been intensifying their lobbying in this sphere for many years.

These are just some of the lines of conflict that quickly dispel the myth that NGOs or social movements are acting in concert or speaking with one voice.

Local vs. International

There are also larger differences in the forms and levels of action. Indeed, a broad alliance for the large climate demonstration was achieved during the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009. Yet it cannot be overlooked that some still regard their lobbying activities at the negotiations as promising, while other organizations and alliances merely treat this approach with contempt. Instead of exchanging complementary strategies and agreeing on a smart division of labor, the various NGOs and social groups and movements are drawing sharp demarcations and dealing with each other less and less.

At the climate summit in Cancun in 2010, this chasm was became literal, with various NGO forums taking place 30 to 50 kilometers from the official conference center and parallel marches occurring in different places organized by various groups. Although the large majority of climate policy activists still refer to the UN as the suitable process for a global agreement, it is also increasingly criticized.

It is alleged that too many resources are focused on the global process instead of being used for
more climate protection specifically, on site, locally. Jürgen Maier takes this line when he asks, “[…] is the limited power of the NGOs invested best if we mobilize everything [….] towards obtaining an agreement by means of consensual resolution of the United Nations?” And “[…] we must ask ourselves whether the snail pace of the UN process can provide the answers we need.” Finally, he pleads, as many others on 26/08/2010 under (03.08.2010).

It may be regarded as undisputed that the reduction of deforestation is an important component in climate policy. What is, however, disputed, is the question of how to organize the funding of REDD: via a market mechanism or a fund.

In Amazonia, a broad pro-REDD alliance of NGOs and social groups has been formed – including the Indian organization COIAB as well as private companies – to advocate for the inclusion of REDD in international emissions trading, from which it expects to earn large sums of money.

Voices critical of REDD have also been organized: In the letter of Belém, which was signed by the trade union federations, the movement of the landless (MST), Via Campesina, and numerous other groups of Amazonia, the fear is expressed that REDD will open loopholes for the reforestation by means of tree plantations.

VIII

did after the failure of Copenhagen, for a stronger and even exclusive concentration on national and local climate policy activities and actions. “The changes must then come about in another way. If it is true that climate change is happening so rapidly that we cannot lose any time, then the NGOs have an obligation to concentrate on those activities that promise the fastest results.” (Maier 2010)

Ultimately, Maier is pleading for nothing more than a strategically-based division of labor, where the largest part of civil society concentrates on processes of change and leaves the process of negotiating a global climate agreement to a small remaining group of diplomats and NGO representatives. If climate policy is multi-level policy par excellence, then it makes little sense to play these various levels off against each other. What is much more necessary is to communicate the right use of resources and political positions.

Only those who ultimately do not expect anything from the UN climate process, who regard it as completely irrelevant, can delegate the international negotiations to a couple of self-appointed NGO lobbyists without concern for their role in it or their connection to politics and society (legitimization, accountability, etc.).

But where in the international arena is a balance to be struck between the interests of North and South, where are the remaining emissions budgets of the future supposed to be distributed in a just manner, if not at the UN?

Conclusion

There is no doubt that developing ideas and making demands on how to improve the world are part of the core business of NGOs and social movements.

They can confront the world of political, bureaucratic, and factual constraints and troublesome compromises with ideals and utopic ideas, which are otherwise lost in the day-to-day business of politics. And they enjoy the privilege of being able to look beyond a short time horizon of election cycles and to make suggestions which are all too often taboo in politics for tactical reasons.

But NGOs have been more than workshops for ideas already for a long time now. As they increasingly organize globally, they and their networks form the core of an international public and civil society. They can thus also act as a counterweight to the financial capital that has been organized internationally for quite some time, the transnational groups and trade associations with their squadron of influential lobbyists. And they can mobilize masses of people – against large dams and coal and nuclear power plants.

They even manage to bring tens of thousands of people onto the streets in many capitals all over the world during rounds of world trade talks and climate summits. They are thus able to stymie power politics and enforce some publicity and transparency.
But even if they are justly described as a democratic counterweight to economic and political powers, the NGOs are still constantly exposed to the question of their legitimacy.

Surveys may confirm that they are highly appreciated by the population, but this demographically determined acceptance does not lend them any democratic legitimization yet. In whose name do their officials speak if, for example, simple donors do not have any influence on the election of those officials? They represent a virtual community at best. The myth of the direct democratic organization that is only concerned with noble goals has been shattered by fundraising posters at bus stops and bitter donation scandals, even if these have only been isolated cases so far.

IX

Notwithstanding their common goal, namely, that they want to save the world, NGOs thus remain a mixed bunch which can only agree on collective messages with difficulty and sporadically. Their advantage clearly is their watchdog function over politics, because many eyes can see many things, and their abundance of ideas and alternatives, because many minds can produce many thoughts. Yet NGOs, at best, succeed only briefly in committing to a collective, substantive, and strategic direction. After all, who is supposed to make such central decisions in a movement without a center?
The engagement of civil society in climate policy is more fragmented and varied than ever. Upon closer analysis, this fact helps us to dispense with the harmonious picture of a civil society that is given more credit for its skill in solving problems than “the” politicians. NGOs and social movements must strive to openly discuss their diverse conflicts of interest and differences in positions among themselves.

Even networks established over the past years (CAN, Forum for Environment & Development, Climate Alliance) seem unable to organize such strategic and self-reflective debates. But sectoral, fragmented, and inconsistent approaches are not the answer to the global crises of the world. Without wanting to ignore the conflicts of interest, we need to identify new forms of communication and conflict resolution for a global and diverse civil society.

UN Climate Science Panel Moves to Secretly Fund, Research and Implement Geoengineering as Climate “Solution”

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

by Climate Ark – TAKE ACTION HERE NOW

Geoengineering is the proposed large scale manipulation of Earth’s oceans, soils, sunlight and atmosphere with the intent of combating climate change. With no mandate, the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change has begun talks on funding geoengineering research. Past adoption of virtually all major new technologies regardless of risk shows us if developed, geoengineering will surely be implemented. Modifying Earth at a planetary scale is so complex, and ecological and other side effects potentially so severe, that dire unintended consequences are certain. Simply, a biosphere cannot be engineered. The only way to address climate and ecology change is to end ecosystem loss and fossil fuel use; while equitably reducing emissions, consumption and population. Tell the United Nations to get out of the business of geoengineering, and lead by example in embracing social change and personal transformation adequate to achieve global climate and ecological sustainability.

Los mitos del mercado de carbono (Carbon Trade Watch)

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Los mitos del mercado de carbono

Resulta evidente el fracaso que en cada reunión oficial de la convención marco para el cambio climático de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para llegar a acuerdos vinculantes en materia de medidas de mitigación y adaptación al cambio climático, es un fortalecimiento de las corporaciones transnacionales y las Instituciones Financieras Internacionales en los acuerdos sobre los mecanismos del mercado de carbono y el precio de estos ante el negocio que representa la crisis climática, tanto para dichas corporaciones como para los gobiernos en el norte y sur global.

Carbon Trade Watch: REDD+: Factsheets and Statements

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Carbon Trade Watch: Newsletter 2011, No.2
In this issue:

1. REDD+: Factsheets and Statements
2. NEW PUBLICATIONS: Books, booklets and articles
3. MULTIMEDIA: Website and Presentations
4. SUPPORT CTW

1. REDD+: Factsheets and Statements

Factsheet: Key arguments against REDD+.

This factsheet outlines some key arguments that explain why the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) scheme should not be considered as a solution to climate change, while stressing how REDD is bad news for the forests, for the climate and for the people.

Factsheet:Some Key REDD+ Players

REDD rewards polluters with carbon credits, allowing them to elude their responsibility to reduce emissions at source. There are billions of dollars at stake and REDD-type projects have already resulted in land grabs, jailings and threats to cultural survival. This factsheet is an overview of some of the key players who are behind designing, implementing and profiting from REDD.

An invitation to sign the position on Women and REDD

REDD+ as currently designed will contribute to a global land grab of communities’ and Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories, which will particularly affect women, states a position signed by women and organizations that denounces REDD as another false solution for climate change.

2. NEW PUBLICATIONS: Books, booklets and articles

Caught in the cross-hairs: how industry lobbyists are gunning for EU climate targets
In June 2011, the European Council will discuss a new low-carbon Roadmap, while the Parlaiment will discuss raising the EU’s emissions reduction target to 30 per cent by 2020. These measures are not enough and, in the case of the Roadmap, set out a path that is riddled with “false solutions” to climate change. But the lobbyists’ efforts have made matters worse. This report, produced jointly with Corporate Europe Observatory, shows how BusinessEurope, the European employers’ confederation; the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (Eurofer) have launched a bullying campaign to prevent a rise in climate targets and other steps.

More is less:a case against sectoral carbon markets

This report critically examines the reasons behind and potential consequences of creating new carbon market mechanisms. In particular, it focuses on “sectoral” carbon markets, which would move beyond the project-by-project basis of the CDM and issue carbon allowances in relation whole sectors of the economy.

Africa’s pollution and land grab threat from UN carbon market

The United Nation’s carbon offset mechanism is incentivising pollution and could lead to a land grab for industrial biofuels, tree plantations, genetically modified crops and biochar projects in Africa. This briefing by the Gaia Foundation in collaboration with the African Biodiversity Network, Carbon Trade Watch, Timberwatch Coalition and Biofuelwatch, examines the experience and prospects for the United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) across the continent.
www.gaiafoundation.org
www.timberwatch.org
biofuelwatch.org.uk

EU Emissions Trading System: failing at the third attempt

Emissions trading is the European Union’s flagship measure for tackling climate change, and it is failing badly. The third phase of the scheme, beginning in 2013, is supposed to rectify many the system’s the failures to date. This joint briefing from Carbon Trade Watch and Corporate Europe Observatory shows that it will continue to rewarded major polluters with windfall profits, while undermining efforts to reduce pollution and achieve a more equitable and sustainable economy.

“Forests in Exhaustion”: a new CDM proposal to subsidise industrial plantations

The proposal to include “forests in exhaustion” in the Clean Development Mechanism would offer a new means to subsidise industrial tree plantations. In joint submission to the UNFCC, the World Rainforest Movement and Carbon Trade Watch presents key four arguments against this proposal, as well as a bibliography of related publications.
www.wrm.org.uy

World Bank Partnership for Market Readinesswww.carbontradewatch.org/articles/world-bank-partnership-for-market-readiness-a-critical-introdu.html”> begins push for new carbon markets

The World Bank is busily encouraging “middle income” countries to create new carbon trading schemes. Its new Partnership for Market Readiness is now up and running, with initial grants made to Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.

Fraud and scams in the EU Emissions Trading System

In addition to over-allocation, windfall profits and the more fundamental problems with the EU ETS, other scandals have taken centre stage recently. In 2010, reports of more sophisticated forms of corruption have demonstrated that when ‘buying’ and ‘selling’ a sham commodity, the possibilities for fraud are endless.

Afforestation will hardly dent warming problem: study

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Paris (AFP) June 19, 2011


Schemes to convert croplands or marginal lands to forests will make almost no inroads against global warming this century, a scientific study published on Sunday said.

Afforestation is being encouraged under the UN’s Kyoto Protocol climate-change treaty under the theory that forests are “sinks” that soak up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air through photosynthesis.

But environmental researchers, in a new probe, said that even massive conversion of land to forestry would have only a slender benefit against the greenhouse-gas problem.

This is partly because forests take decades to mature and CO2 is a long-lasting molecule, able to lurk for centuries in the atmosphere.

But another reason is that forests, even as they absorb greenhouse gas, are darker than croplands and thus absorb more solar heat — and in high latitudes, this may even result in net warming.

Vivek Arora of the University of Victoria in British Columbia and Alvaro Montenegro of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia modelled five scenarios in which afforestation was carried out over 50 years, from 2011 to 2060.

They used a Canadian programme called CanESM1 that simulated the impacts on land, sea and air if Earth’s surface temperature rose by some 3.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared to 1850.

Even if all the cropland in the world were afforested, this would reduce the warming by only 0.45 C (0.81 F) by a timescale of 2081-2100, according to the study, which appears in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Fifty-percent afforestation would brake it by an even tinier 0.25 C (0.45 F).

Both scenarios are, of course, wildly unrealistic because of the need to grow food.

Fifty-percent afforestation would require at least a doubling in crop yield to feed the human population because half of the crop area would be taken out of use.

The other three scenarios found that afforestation in the tropics was three times more efficient at “avoided warming” than in northerly latitudes and temperate regions.

The study said that afforestation does have other benefits, for the economy and the ecoystem.

“There’s nothing wrong with afforestation, it is positive, but our findings say that it’s not a response to temperature control if we are going to be emitting (greenhouse gases) this way,” Montenegro told AFP.

The study said bluntly, “Afforestation is not a substitute for reduced greenhouse-gas emissions.”

In forest programmes, policymakers would be advised to focus afforestation efforts in the tropics but also push hard against deforestation, which accounts for 10 to 20 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions globally.

Avoiding deforestation is under discussion for post-2012 climate action under the UN flag.

read study click here: study

Peru Revokes Permit for Giant Dam on Amazon Tributary

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

LIMA, Peru, June 16, 2011 (ENS) – After years of community opposition, a 2,000 megawatt dam planned for construction on a major Amazonian tributary, has been cancelled, the government of Peru announced Tuesday. The dam was to have been built across the Inambari River in Madre de Dios province.

For the past 36 days, some 2,000 people in the Puno area blocked access roads to the region and held mass protests to convince the government to cancel mining concessions and the dam project.

To appease the strikers, the government established a high-level commission to review the Inambari dam.

After a tense meeting with local communities on June 13, Commission Chair and Vice-Minister of Energy Luis Gonzales Talledo cancelled the project, stating that the Brazilian EGASUR consortium’s rights to develop the project had been revoked.

“Although this resolution does not prevent the construction of all dams in the Inambari Basin, it is very important because it clearly cancels EGASUR’s participation,” said Aldo Santos, from the local nongovernmental organization Rural Educational Services, or SER.

“The resolution states that all future proposed projects must be subjected to prior consultation with local communities according to ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, which is an important precedent,” said Santos.

Affected communities have long opposed the Inambari Dam, which would have flooded 410 square kilometers of forest, including part of the Bahujan Sonene National Park buffer zone.

The project would have left more than 15,000 people without the agricultural lands that provide their livelihood. Flooding of 120 kilometers of the recently built Inter-Oceanic Highway would have severed access to markets and affected the economic development of the district of San Gaban and the province of Carabaya in Puno State.

“This is a great triumph for the communities and the Peasant Patrols, and we will continue to defend our lands and our culture,” said Olga Cutipa, president of the Front to Defend the Inambari-San Gaban.

“Even though the project is cancelled we know that we have won the battle but not the war. We know there are too many interests behind construction of Inambari, especially the interests of the Brazilians and their energy thirst,” she said.

The cancellation of the project is a blow to the Brazilian government, which signed an Energy Agreement with Peru last year committing to purchase electricity from six dams in the Peruvian Amazon.


The US$4.9 billion Inambari Dam was expected to be financed by the Brazilian National Development Bank and to be built by Brazilian construction companies. The Brazil Energy Expansion Plan for 2011-2020 includes a total of 7,000 megawatts of imported hydropower from the Peruvian Amazon.

The Inambari Dam, which until now was at the most advanced stage of planning, was expected to produce 2,000 megawatts, equal to about a quarter of the country’s current installed capacity.

The second proposed dam under the Brazil-Peru Agreement, the Pakitzapango Dam, was stopped in 2010 by an administrative legal action by the Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene, an indigenous organization.

Earlier this month, Peruvian NGOs demanded a public debate to review the Peru-Brazil Energy Agreement when the new Congress meets in July.

In their statement, the NGOs said “With the Agreement, we would be choosing to give away our energy to external markets at the expense of serious environmental and social impacts for the country. The approval of the agreement adversely compromises any serious effort to planning for long-term sustainable development of the country.”

Monti Aguirre, Latin America Program coordinator for International Rivers, an NGO based in California, said, “This is a great day for the Peruvian Amazon and the communities who have fought for so long to protect their rights and their environment.”

“Both Brazil and Peru are rich in alternative energy sources,” said Aguirre. “If Brazil invested in energy efficiency, it could avoid the need for any dams to be built in the Amazon Basin and save billions of dollars in the process. The Amazon is simply too precious a resource to squander.”

Although it has become clear that EGASUR will not build Inambari, Puno’s population is still protesting the issuance of mining and oil concessions in the province.

Video: THE MONEY TREE

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

To watch Video: THE MONEY TREE

Norway Stands to Profit from Investments in Moratorium-breakers

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Norway stands to profit from investments in moratorium-breakers


LONDON: On the day Indonesia’s landmark moratorium on forest conversion was signed and celebrated in Jakarta, it was being actively broken in a crime-riddled Pilot Province, a new report reveals.

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and its Indonesian partner Telapak documented peat forest in Central Kalimantan’s moratorium zone being illegally razed by palm oil firm PT Menteng Jaya Sawit Perdana (PT Menteng) on May 19.

The moratorium and Pilot Province are both cornerstones of Indonesia’s US$1bn agreement with Norway on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

Yet Norway perversely stands to profit from the moratorium breach via its US$41.5m shareholding in PT Menteng’s parent company, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK).

In the new briefing Caught REDD Handed, EIA and Telapak warn that regulatory chaos and a culture of impunity in Indonesia’s plantation sector pose a serious threat to the moratorium and any meaningful attempt to protect the nation’s forests and reduce carbon emissions.

While PT Menteng is already violating the moratorium, information from the Indonesian authorities shows hundreds of plantations are operating beyond the law in Central Kalimantan alone, where illegal plantations substantially outnumber legal ventures.

“Crime and corruption in Indonesia’s forestry sector has resulted in President Yudhoyono’s moratorium being undermined the very day it was signed,” said EIA forest campaigner Tomasz Johnson. “Without significant law enforcement improvements, REDD+ looks set to fail in Indonesia.”

EIA research shows that Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) has investments in scores of plantation and logging companies in Indonesia, including four major groups operating 24 plantation subsidiaries without relevant permits in the Central Kalimantan Pilot Province.

EIA estimates Norway has made roughly five times more money from plantations and logging in Indonesia and neighbouring countries during the past year – including illegal operations – than it has granted to Indonesia thus far under the US$1bn REDD+ Letter of Intent.

“Relying only on the moratorium and REDD money will not solve the problem of deforestation in Indonesia, and with such poor forest governance in this country we should all be aware of countries such as Norway which are able to take a profit from deforestation,” said Telapak Campaigns Director Hapsoro.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION in EIA/TELAPAK BRIEFING CAUGHT REDD HANDED

● The Government of President Yudhoyono should:
1. immediately halt and investigate the activities of PT Menteng Jaya Sawit Perdana;
2. significantly improve law enforcement in the plantation sector;
3. employ the Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK) to audit for forest clearance without relevant permits;
4. ensure the moratorium map is strengthened rather than weakened in future revisions.

● The Government of Norway should:
1. immediately investigate the plantations operations of the KLK group, and three other groups with operations in Central Kalimantan, in which the country holds significant shares;
2. institute formal policy and investment coordination between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environment to ensure Pension Fund investments adhere to the goals of REDD+ in Indonesia and worldwide;
3. use its privileged financial position and positive climate change reputation to engender frank and open debate at the international level on how to make investment and commodity markets crime- and deforestation-free.

Interviews are available on request: please contact senior campaigner Jago Wadley on jagowadley@eia-international.org or forest campaigner Tomasz Johnson on tomaszjohnson@eia-international.org ; telephone 020 7354 7960.

A copy of the full briefing is available from paulnewman@eia-international.org , or telephone 020 7354 7960.

EDITORS’ NOTES

1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK-based Non Governmental
Organisation and charitable trust (registered charity number 1040615) that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.

2. Telapak is an independent environmental organisation based in Bogor, Indonesia. Visit www.telapak.org for more information.

Peru cancela hidrelétrica da OAS e da Eletrobrás

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

América do Sul : Governo diz que projeto de US$ 4,9 bi vai a consulta popular

Marcos de Moura e Souza e Daniel Rittner | De São Paulo e Buenos Aires – O governo do Peru cancelou a licença de concessão temporária que a Eletrobrás e a construtora OAS tinham para trabalhar no projeto de construção da maior hidrelétrica do país, uma obra orçada em US$ 4,9 bilhões. Criticado por comunidades indígenas, que dizem que serão afetadas pela obra, o projeto só será retomado se for aprovado num processo de consulta a essas populações, disse o Ministério de Energia e Minas.

A hidrelétrica de Inambari, na região central do Peru, é peça-chave no plano de internacionalização do grupo Eletrobrás. Parte da energia a ser gerada será destinada ao mercado brasileiro. De acordo com fontes do ministério peruano que acompanham de perto o assunto e ouvidas ontem pelo Valor, o processo agora “recomeça do zero” e “qualquer empresa interessada” poderá participar, mas só depois da consulta popular.

O presidente do projeto Inambari, o engenheiro Evandro Miguel, da OAS, disse que o consórcio – chamado de Egasur – já investiu US$ 22 milhões nos estudos de viabilidade técnica e econômica. O consórcio é formado pela OAS (51%), pela Eletrobrás (29,4%) e sua subsidiária Furnas (19,6%).

Houve discussões no governo peruano sobre a possibilidade de realizar a consulta mantendo a concessão à Egasur. Mas a decisão acabou favorecendo os movimentos indígenas e foi comemorada pelo governo de Puno, uma das regiões onde se concentra a oposição ao projeto.

A alegação oficial do governo do presidente Alan García é que o país atenderá a um tratado da Organização Internacional do Trabalho (OIT) que estabelece que as comunidades locais sejam consultadas antes do início de obras que impliquem em grandes intervenções em suas regiões.

Mas cálculos políticos do presidente é que podem ter sido determinantes na decisão de cancelar a licença preliminar. García encerra seus cinco anos de governo em 28 de julho. Deixa o cargo para seu opositor, o esquerdista Ollanta Humala. Alguns analistas dizem que García pretende deixar um rastro de “dinamite” para o sucessor. Inambari seria uma delas.

Eleito com forte apoio da maioria indígena do país, Humala disse durante a campanha que aceitaria manter o projeto se este fosse aprovado em uma consulta popular das comunidades atingidas. Se a oposição ao projeto ganhar corpo, o novo presidente terá de fazer exercício para equilibrar seu compromisso com a base eleitoral a necessidade do país de ampliar sua capacidade de geração de energia. Ao cancelar a concessão, Garcia ainda se livra do risco de ver a região mergulhar em protestos violentos – o que mancharia mais ainda sua imagem já desgastada.

Miguel, da OAS, avalia que parte da população das três regiões onde ficaria a represa – Cuzco, Madre de Dios e Puno – apoia o projeto. “Mas há líderes sociais que têm interesses políticos na região e por isso se opõe às obra”, disse. “Nós vamos agora esperar o novo governo. É preciso saber se as comunidades e se o país querem o projeto.”

Comunidades locais e críticos dizem que a usina afetará a biodiversidade de uma reserva nacional, forçará o reassentamento não de 3.500 pessoas, como dizem as empresas, mas de até 14 mil e reclamam que trechos da rodovia interoceânica ficarão debaixo d’água. Dizem ainda que o empreendimento beneficiará mais o Brasil do que o Peru. A hidrelétrica deverá ter potência de 2,2 mil megawatts (MW) e 80% de sua produção viria para o Brasil. A área a ser inundada, segundo a OAS, é de 378 km quadrados. Inambari faz parte de um conjunto de seis usinas no Peru que integram o convênio de integração energética firmado pelo ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva e García, em 2009.