Posts Tagged ‘Carbon Market / Carbon Credit / Carbon sink / Carbon Trading’


Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

By Rebecca Sommer

It created waves of headlines around the world when the Munduruku, an indigenous nation of approximately 13000 living in the state Para, Brazil, signed a carbon credit sales contract (REDD) with Celestial Green Ventures.

Munduruku protesting against the dam (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Munduruku protest against dam (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

But it wasn’t the community, that signed the contract.

I uncovered this fact during my 2 1/2 month visit in the  state Para where I was investigating the Belo Monte dam issue and the human rights situation of the indigenous peoples that would be directly impacted. (Also the Munduruka are trying to combat a dam in their area).

Upon hearing the announcement that they had signed a REDD contract, I called a human rights and climate justice colleague Marquinho Mora from the organization Faor. He informed that the Munduruku community was indeed very confused about the news that a contract was signed.

Interestingly, at the same time I was able to get my hands on 3 REDD contracts signed by three indigenous nations in the “Belo Monte” Altamira area with a criminal individual, by the name Benedito Milenio Junior.

Yet, Benedito had not signed the contract on behalf of his company, he signed as an individual, with no references to the company TopoGeo, that he claimed to the indigenous chiefs he would represent. To read more about this click article here.

Back to the Mundurukus’ REDD tale…

One of the chiefs, Osmarino Manhoari Munduruku, who lives in one of the 120 Munduruku villages, explained that it all began when the foreign cooperation Celestial Green Ventures approached them with a REDD project and contract at a meeting held in Jacareacanga City Hall in August 2011.

Chief Osmarino stated that councilors of the municipality and representatives of the FUNAI (Brazil’s governmental bureau of Indigenous Affairs) were present. Most of the Munduruku were against the concept of the project, and therefore the Munduruku agreed not to sign the contract.

Chief Osmarino recalls, that the “Munduruku warriors almost beat the company’s representatives”.

Celestial Green Ventures informed everyone present at the meeting, that two other indigenous nations had signed a similar contract with them. If this is true, I wasn’t able to find out which ones.

What happened next is the tragic reality of so many REDD contracts that have been signed by indigenous individuals who are not recognized leaders of the people they claim to represent.

Chief Osmarino explained that after the REDD meeting, twelve individuals; Munduruku that were not chiefs nor in any other representational position, non-indigenous advisors, councilors of the municipality and representatives of the cooperation, continued a closed, secretly held meeting in a hotel, where the contract was signed.

“The chiefs were against the company’s carbon credit sales contract proposal, but some indigenous and others, such as councilors of the municipality, signed the contract” explained chief Osmarino. “We did not know it, we learned that the contract was signed through the internet” he added.

“The contract was in sane, we couldn’t believe it when we finally saw it ” said Marquinho Mota, from Brazilian NGO FAOR. “The contract that was signed by a few individuals, and governmental authorities, without the free, prior, informed consent of the Munduruku community, granting the company Celestrial Green Ventures rights to the absolute unhindered, unrestricted use of their indigenous land for 30 years.” Marquinho added.

Munduruku_Photo © Rebecca Sommer

Munduruku_Photo © Rebecca Sommer

“In my opinion, this REDD project is bad because over the next 30 years we are according to the contract not allowed to hunt and gather, or to plant food, to fish, to remove fruits from the forest, or cutting wood when we need it,” said Chief Osmarino to Humanitarian Institute Unisinos in an interview.

The company Celestial Green Ventures offered the Munduruku a payment of 120 Million US Dollar for the REDD project. Yet it is not clear if payments have been made, and to whom, if at all.

Chief Osmarino Munduruku informed that the Indigenous Association Pusuru (Associação Indígena Pusuru) is assumed to receive the payment, but that no information has been provided to the Munduruku chiefs, if this transition did in fact, already take place.

On REDD-monitors website (which I highly recommend), investigative journalist Chris Lang states that ”In June 2011, Celestial Green Ventures sold one million uncertified, voluntary carbon credits to a London-based company called Industry RE. But the relationship between these two companies seems to go back to 2009, according to Industry RE’s website:

“In 2009 Industry Re partnered with Celestial Green as they entered into their first REDD project. This entailed the purchase of a majority share holding (97%) in a Brazilian company – Capital First Management Bank Ltda, who own 10,000 hectares of tropical rainforest in the state of Rondonia, Brazil. CFMB also had a mining licence for the gold mining on 4,300 hectares of this pristine area of land. By purchasing this company, Celestial Green have let the mining licence lapse and intend to preserve this ecologically delicate area through obtaining carbon credits under the REDD guidelines.”

To read the full article from Chris Lang CLICK HERE

“Recently, at our Munduruku assembly we decided that we want to cancel the contract. If money was deposited, we want that it is returned to the company.” said Chief Osmarino.

Excerpts from this contract have been published in Portuguese by the Humanitarian Institute Unisinos, I have attempted to translate it as accurate as possible:

First paragraph: This contract gives the company the right to perform all analyzes and technical studies, including unrestricted access to the entire area to its agents and representatives, for the purpose of collecting data, in order to obtain maximum validation of the forests carbon credits.

Second paragraph: This agreement aims to create conditions for the company Celestrial Green Ventures to proceed with the use of studies and available methodologies to get international validation carbon credits for a period of 30 years.

Third paragraph: The documents provided in Annex I give the company all rights to the carbon credits obtained by any methodology, including all rights to the benefits that will be obtained from the biodiversity of this area during the contract period.

Fourth paragraph: The owner (the Munduruku) agrees to provide the company with all permits and required documents (records, state and local permits, approval of licenses) for the company to carry out its activities in the project area.

Paragraph fifth: If carbon credits, for whatever reason, are unattainable from this property, then this contract will be null and void.”

Chief Osmarino informed that the contract also says that “the owner agrees not to perform any activity or changes in land-use, that may somehow negatively affect the design of carbon credits. The owner undertakes to maintain the property according to the methodology established by the company.”

“The owner agrees to comply with all local, federal and state laws in relation to the contract area.”

“Without the prior written consent of the company, the owner agrees not to carry out any works in the contract area, or to undertake any other activity that might affect the amount of captured carbon, or to contribute in some way, to negatively affect the image of the company and its project.”

“For the execution of works that the owner wishes to make in the contract area, it should present them to the company in writing. “

“Without the authorization of the company, the owner agrees not to undertake any invervention in the project area, such as the construction of buildings, cutting, logging, fires, dam construction, mining, agriculture, tourism, road construction or other activities that may have negative effects on the methodology used by the company for the validation of the project.”

“The owner is forbidden to sell, transfer or donate all or part of the land to third parties without the prior consent of the company.“

A committee of Munduruku have made the decision to deliver a report to the Brazilian Government outlining the circumstances behind this most recent manipulation and exploitation of Indigenous Peoples.

“We want the contract to be canceled.” said Chief Osmarino Manhoari Munduruku.

While in many countries these corrupt, illegal manoeuvrings of contract signing take place with Indigenous peoples, often pushed for by ruthless NGOs. (see an example VIDEO CLICK HERE), the Munduruku are actually lucky.

Brazils’ governmental branch dealing with indigenous peoples, FUNAI recently announced that over 30 contracts that have been signed or negotiated between indigenous peoples and companies are nullified and illegal.

To read more about the FUNAI announcement CLICK HERE


COP17: The Durban Package: “Laisser faire, laisser passer”

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

The Climate Change Conference ended two days later than expected, adopting a set of decisions that were known only a few hours before their adoption. Some decisions were even not complete at the moment of their consideration. Paragraphs were missing and some delegations didn’t even have copies of these drafts. The package of decisions was released by the South African presidency with the ultimatum of “Take it or leave it”. Only the European Union was allowed to make last minute amendments at the plenary.

Several delegations made harsh criticisms to the documents and expressed their opposition to sections of them. However, no delegation explicitly objected the subsequent adoption of these decisions. At the end, the whole package was adopted by consensus without the objection of any delegation. The core elements of the Durban Package can be summarized as follows:

1) A Zombie called Kyoto Protocol

· A soulless undead: The promises of reducing greenhouse gas emission for the second period of commitments of the Kyoto Protocol represent less than half of what is necessary to keep the temperature increase below 2°C.

· This Zombie (second period of the Kyoto Protocol) will only finally go into effect next year (COP 18).

· It is not known if the second period of the Kyoto Protocol will cover 5 or 8 years.

· United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, Australia and New Zealand will be out of this second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

· This will be known as the lost decade in the fight against climate change.

2) New regime of “Laisser Faire, Laisser Faisser”

· In 2020 a new legal instrument will come into effect that will replace the Kyoto Protocol and will seriously impact the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

· The core elements of this new legal instrument can be already seen due to the results of the negotiations: a) voluntary promises rather than binding commitments to reduce emissions, b) more flexibilities (carbon markets) for developed countries to meet their emission reduction promises, and c) an even weaker compliance mechanism than the Kyoto Protocol.

· The new legal instrument will cover all the States, effectively removing the difference between developing and developed countries. The principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” already established in the Climate Change Convention will disappear.

· The result will be the deepening of the “Laisser Faire, laisser passer” regime inaugurated in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban which will lead to an increase in temperature of more than 4°C.

3) A Green Fund with no funds

· The Green Fund now has an institutional structure in which the World Bank is a key player.

· The 100 billion is only a promise and will NOT be provided for by the developed countries.

· The money will come from the carbon markets (which are collapsing), from private investments, from credits (to be paid) and from the developing countries themselves.

4) A lifesaver for the Carbon Markets

· The existing carbon markets will live regardless of the fate of the Kyoto Protocol.

· Also, new carbon market mechanisms will be created to meet the emissions reduction pledges of this decade.

· It is a desperate attempt to avoid the loss of the carbon markets, which are collapsing due to the fall of the carbon credits, from 30 Euros per ton to 3 Euros per ton of CO2.

· Developed countries will reduce less than what they promise because they will buy Emission Reduction Certificates from developing countries.

5) REDD: a perverse incentive to deforest in this decade

· If you don’t cut down trees you won’t be able to issue certificates of reduction of deforestation when the REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism comes into operation.

· CONSEQUENCES: deforest now if you want to be ready for REDD.

· The safeguards for indigenous peoples will be flexible and discretionary for each country.

· The offer of funding for forests is postponed until the next decade due to the fact that demand for Carbon Credits will not increase until then because of the low emission reduction promises.

¡Amandla! ¡Jallalla!

In the actions and events of the social movements in Durban, two battle cries emerged: “Amandla” and “Jallalla”. The first one is a Xhosa and Zulu word from South Africa which means “power”. The second word is an expression in aymara which means “for life”. “¡Amandla¡ °Jallalla!” means “¡Power for life!”

This is the “power for life” that we must build, that transcends borders, from our communities, neighborhoods, workplaces and place of study in order to stop this ongoing genocide and ecocide.

(*) Pablo Solón, international analyst and social activist. United Nations Ambassador and Chief Climate Change Negotiator from the Plurinational State of Bolivia.


Monday, December 12th, 2011

TO WATCH VIDEO CLICK HERE: Hundreds of Activists Protest Inside COP17 demanding CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW!

This video filmed by Rebecca Sommer (© Sommerfilms) shows parts of the CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW! (CJN!) movement’s press conference, and our protest inside the halls at the last day of the UN Climate Change negotiations COP17. Kumi Naidoo , executive director of Greenpeace (member of CJN!) was banned from UN premises after leading this protest. Many others, such as Anne Petermann (member of CJN!) have been thrown out as well., their UN badges revoked because they participated ion the protest. Background why the people protested: A central piece of what is being negotiated here at COP17 is the Green Clmate Fund, with a goal of raising $100 billion for adaptation and mitigation projects, but most of the funding is being linked to programs like carbon markets and offsets (REDD+, CDM), which allows companies to continue polluting and ignores the need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels, and not simply try to offset them with other projects.
Protesters have said they want that their voices are heard.
They are calling for the World Bank to be taken out of climate finance, a reference to the predominance of private financing and market mechanisms in all funding solutions for climate change reduction projects being discussed at the conference. A central piece of what is being negotiated is the Green Clmate Fund, with a goal of raising $100 billion for adaptation and mitigation projects, but most of the funding is being linked to programs like carbon markets and offsets, which allows companies to continue polluting and ignores the need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels, and not simply try to offset them with other projects.
Protesters are also calling for a recognition of historic climate debt: that developed and Northern countries have predominantly been the cause of man-made green house gas emissions, and that they have the responsibility to take a frontline position in cleaning up the problem. This historic reality was included in Kyoto Protocol, but Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent recently called such demands “guilt money”