Press Release: Carbon Markets Violate Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Threaten Cultural Survival
“Indigenous Peoples are being forced to sign over their territories for REDD to the Gangsters of the Century, carbon traders, who are invading the world’s remaining forests that exist thanks to the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples,” denounced Marlon Santi, President of the CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, one of the most powerful native organizations in the world. “Our forests are spaces for life not carbon markets.”
Indigenous leader kidnapped and forced at gunpoint to surrender carbon rights for REDD in Papua New Guinea
New York, USA — As carbon traders hawk permits to pollute at the Second Annual Carbon Trading Summit, Indigenous Peoples denounced that selling the sky not only corrupts the sacred but also destroys the climate, violates human rights and threatens cultural survival.
“Carbon trading and carbon offsets are a crime against humanity and Creation,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “The sky is sacred. This carbon market insanity privatizes the air and sells it to climate criminals like Shell so they can continue to pollute and destroy the climate and our future, rather than reducing their emissions at source.”
This is a joint News Release by Biofuelwatch / ETC Group / Greenpeace.
Montreal- July 21 2009 — As hundreds of delegates gathered for the Sixth Annual Conference on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing at Palais des congrès in Old Montreal, a group of NGOs held an early morning press conference across the street. Greenpeace, ETC Group and Biofuelwatch joined forces to warn that the “green” energy of the biotech industry was mostly hype, that governments should not add to their already generous subsidies of the industry and that the feedstock on which it is all based – so called “biomass” – is neither plentiful nor easily converted into renewable chemicals, plastics and fuels.
Jim Thomas, a researcher from ETC Group, charged that behind the thin, green veneer of clean energy and renewable plastics, Big Bio is, in fact, engaged in a huge industrial power grab: “The Gene Giants’ control over the smallest components of life such as DNA has now become much more rapid and sophisticated with billions of dollars being invested in new technologies such as metagenomics and synthetic biology. Twenty-five percent of the world’s so-called biomass has already been commodified. Now industry is going after the remaining seventy-five percent. The quest for greater quantities of plant cellulose – the most abundant organic material on earth – will make nature reserves and marginal lands more commercially valuable than ever before. Three years ago, NGOs warned that the demand for corn ethanol would lead to higher food prices and hunger. We were right. And today we’re warning that this massive biomass-grab will bring about similarly devastating consequences for people – especially in the Third World, because that is where these companies will look when there’s no more feedstock closer to home.”
Rachel Smolker from UK-based Biofuelwatch challenged the companies present at the BIO Conference to ask themselves a fundamental question: “Is there enough biomass out there for the all the purposes being envisaged? The answer is a resounding no.” She cited targets and figures for biomass-use being used by governments and industry to prove the point: The U.S. has adopted a target of 36 billion gallons of biofuels per year by 2022, claiming there is 1.3 billion tons of available biomass. Yet by some analyses, this would require mowing down 80% of the available biomass from agricultural, forest and grass lands! And this is just one target. The U.S. air force has set itself a goal of replacing 25% of its fuel demand with biofuels, and commercial aviation is following suit. The chemicals industry has set a target of replacing 10% of its feedstocks with biomass as well. Meanwhile, policy measures intended to support the development of renewable energy (electricity and heat) are largely (about 70 percent of subsidies) translating into co-firing of biomass with coal and other biomass technologies. These combined targets are entirely unsustainable, especially in light of the need to feed a growing population, declining ecosystems and soil and water degradation.
Eric Darier, Director of Greenpeace Quebec, urged governments and private investors to approach the BIO lobby with great caution and to resist blindly jumping on the “innovation bandwagon:” “We need to support and apply the precautionary principle as recognized in international law and conduct vigorous and independent life cycle analyses before declaring any technology ‘green.’” Darier denounced the lack of public participation in debates over biotech and questioned our ability to ensure independent scientific expertise to properly check industry’s claims. “This will require a full strategic assessment of each technology as it is being developed. If not, we shall be left to clean up the mess decades from now, just as we are doing with toxic chemicals and pesticides today.”
The three speakers are available for media interviews.
Eric Darier, Greenpeace Quebec
+1 514 605-6497 www.greenpeace.org
Jim Thomas, ETC Group
+1 613 261-8580 www.etcgroup.org
Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch
+1 802 735-7794 www.biofuelwatch.org.uk
Assuming that there is a global crisis – financial, climate change and starvation – and assuming that something could be done about it – what would it be? The initial reaction has been to push for more of the same – more debts to be created in order to keep economic power in the same hands. Maybe a few policy changes to avoid too extreme corruption and self-aggrandisement, removal of some draconian measures, but that’s about it. Spend more, that is way to go. It sounds so simple and in a sense it is: wiping the rich people’s slates clean so that they can lend more money for the poor to spend. If it makes you think of spiralling further down into an abyss we’re on the same wave length.
In order, then, to get the American people to spend more money that they don’t have – the total outstanding credit card debt carried by Americans reached a record $951 billion in 2008, constituting a next level in the financial collapse of a system based on ever-increasing debt – president Obama is suggesting “a $410bn (£290bn) spending bill due to be voted on this week“. Part of this bill seeks to lift some of the extreme anti-Cuban legislation that was introduced during the administration of Bush the Second.
There is no doubt about it, Obama – the man in the White House – gives good speeches, but even an old World Banker takes note of the fact that Obama’s grand plan to save the world and “the hardest working people on Earth” (he says it as if it a good thing??) from their predicaments is insubstantial (These videos gives you an insight from the inside – if you really want to know about all the little sheenanigans of a failed system or just want to see the Emperor of the Free World sit before you in his shiny new clothes. Characteristic of times of crisis he looks and sounds like a rhetorical stooge with a nationalistic appeal “the greatest force of progress and prosperity [and climate change?!]”)
Anyway, the Cuban news is a tangent that invites viewing the world from a Latin American perspective.
Frederick Noronha features a very interesting interview about the (in situ) Medicinal (botanical) Garden of the Royal Military Hospital in Goa , which can be viewed here:
Visit FN’s blog entry for further info about the important and inspiring work of Timothy Walker..