greenwash

Carbon Trading is Making a Killing and Destroying the Environment

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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.”

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In a permanent state of exception the Earth is to be a garden as a rule

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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.

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WORLD FACING HUGE NEW CHALLENGE ON FOOD FRONT: The 11th Hour in context

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We watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s “11th hour” last night (you might be able to watch it here or via quicksilversreen.com and read more about it here) and although it was by no stretch of the imagination a very good film on any terms (structure, presentation of material, cinematography or in terms of delivering a profound radical political message) it was still a positive surprise. But hey! what would you expect, come on, be honest?

In the critical (mainstream environmentalist?) words of Rikke Bruntse-Dahl, writing for smartplanet.com:

“The overall message was that we’ve forgotten that we’re part of nature and even though the Earth as such will survive, it will not be a pleasant — or indeed habitable — place to be if we don’t start looking after it and each other. While it’s undoubtedly a good message, which we’d like as many people as possible to hear, the film itself is just not up to scratch.

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Climate Change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges

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These are the conclusions of a report on the “IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION MEASURES ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND ON THEIR TERRITORIES AND LANDS”, by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues’ Seventh session, New York, 21 April -2 May 2008 on the Special Theme: “Climate Change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges” with regard to the Implementation of the recommendations on the six mandated areas of the permanent Forum and on the Millennium Development Goals (Download the full E/C.19/2008/10 report here: unpfii-report-on-climate-change.pdf):

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Current political crisis in Latin America: Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela.

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There has been many news reports – often tied to the terms “terrorism” and “weapons of mass destruction” (dirty bomb, for instance), does that ring any bells? The issue is basically that:
Colombia’s commando raid into Ecuadorean territory Saturday killed rebel leader Raul Reyes and 22 other guerrilla fighters, who had crossed the border to hide from the Colombian military.

Correa and Chavez are gesturing and posing, moving troops to the border with Colombia, and condemning the attack in which several laptops belonging to FARC were seized from rebels shot dead in their sleep, on Ecuadorian soil, that contained details of relations to Ecuador and Venezuela. That makes it possible for the war on terror coalition of the willing to lump Ecuador and Venezuela together with Iran and FARC with Al-Qaeda; and, then, all that is needed is a paragraph circulating with the words “weapons of mass destruction” before the whole world knows that we are talking about “the evil ones”.

“Ahmadinejad and Chavez have called themselves the “Axis of Unity.” Some security experts call them something else: a potential threat to American security.”

But who is who and what’s the history?

Consider first the credentials of the Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, who is accusing Ecuador and Venezuela of aiding terrorists and drug dealers:

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World Bank true to form in Amazon

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This article from The Independent deserves to be reproduced in full. Notwithstanding the lack of an analysis of the World Bank’s agenda with regard to its “green” projects, the article sheds an important (if nauseating!) light on the state of the Amazon and its tragic future.

* * * * *

World Bank pledges to save trees… then helps cut down Amazon forest. A month ago it vowed to fight deforestation. Now research reveals it funds the rainforest’s biggest threat.

By Daniel Howden
Published: 13 January 2008

The World Bank has emerged as one of the key backers behind an explosion of cattle ranching in the Amazon, which new research has identified as the greatest threat to the survival of the rainforest.

Ranching has grown by half in the last three years, driven by new industrial slaughterhouses which are being constructed in the Amazon basin with the help of the World Bank. The revelation flies in the face of claims from the bank that it is funding efforts to halt deforestation and reduce the massive greenhouse gas emissions it causes.
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What does a Christian of the Left do when the people protest?

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The answer is easy: DECLARES A STATE OF EMERGENCY, SENDS IN THE ARMY, THROWS PEOPLE IN PRISON!

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa removed the head of the state-owned oil company, saying the government needed to re-establish order at PetroEcuador after protests shut $3 million of daily production in the country. PetroEcuador President Carlos Pareja was fired today and replaced by Fernando Zurita, a Navy admiral, the government said in a statement. Oil produces about a quarter of state revenue…. Correa declared a state of emergency for the company, saying it was so badly run he was left with no option other than bringing in the Navy. An emergency order may be applied to Orellana province, Ecuador’s main oil-producing area, if the protests over jobs and environmental concerns don’t end, he said….“It is necessary to urgently intervene in the whole of the PetroEcuador system to safeguard national interests,” Correa said today in the statement. Correa named Pareja to the post when he took power in January…. Protesters demanding jobs, better roads and environmental cleanup forced the company to shut 47 oil wells at the Auca and Cononaco fields this week, trimming 20 percent of production at PetroEcuador’s biggest unit. Ecuador is South America’s fifth- largest oil producer, with average daily output of 500,000 barrels….“A lot of money is being lost daily” because of the protests, said Zurita, speaking at the presidential palace in Quito. He said his first task will be to establish order in Orellana and arrest protesters, PetroEcuador employees or anyone else who hampered oil production.”

Reuters managed to report on Correa without mentioning that he was a “leftist” – perhaps in shock and awe, after all this is a proper job that only few right-wingers can match:

“Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Thursday declared an Amazonian province under a state of emergency to quell a protest that has slashed the state’s oil output by 20 percent, said a presidential spokeswoman….He also removed Interior Minister Gustavo Larrea, a close adviser, for not stamping out the protest of villagers in the oil-rich province of Orellana, the spokeswoman said. They are demanding more funding for infrastructure projects….The state of emergency bans public gatherings and marches and sets curfews.”

It was still in the early days of Correa’s presidency – back in April – that more powers were invested in the army and the police for these purposes – he obviously knew what the increased development with the Chinese partners in the Amazon would mean: environmental protest against the exploitation and labour protest against not getting any jobs as part of new developments (the jobs mostly go to crews from the outside). It was that same week that Correa first spoke of leaving the oil in the soil……. What oil is to be left in what soil?? one thinks as part of the Ecuadorian Amazon sinks into a state of emergency and the control over the oil is left in the hands of the army..

Esperanza Martinez on Yasuni and the ITT proposal.

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This article by CarbonWeb.org deserves to be reproduced in full:

Yasuni – Our Future in Their Hands?

Ecuador proposes to claim compensation in exchange for leaving crude oil in the ground. Esperanza Martinez examines what this means for resource sovereignty.

Oil, for countries that possess it, is often centre stage when it comes to issues of sovereignty. Invasions have been launched to access it and military and political interventions pushed through to control it, leaving the door wide open for corruption.

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A summary of the Ecuadorian revolution: the rise of the Constituent Assembly

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Roger Burbach’s informative piece called “Ecuador’s Popular Revolt: Forging a New Nation“, although dated October 8 seems to be written before the landslide victory of Correa’s alliance became clear:

Final results won’t be known until late October, however preliminary results indicate that Correa’s party, Alianza Pais, won around 70% of the vote, giving it some 80 of the 130 assembly delegates. Correa can also expect support in the assembly from representatives of the Socialist Party of Ecuador — Broad Front, the Movement for Popular Democracy and indigenous party Pachakutik — Nuevo Pais.

The outcome was a huge blow to the right-wing opposition, whose traditional parties all scored pitiful votes. The Social Christian Party, the country’s largest party, scored less than 4%. The “anti-corruption” PRIAN of Alvaro Noboa — Correa’s opponent in the presidential election run-offs last year and Ecuador’s richest man — scored around 6%.

However, this does not make it any less valuable – it provides a summary of the Ecuadorian revolution that is well worth a read. Whether it quite warrants such a conclusion is another matter:

In Ecuador, as well as in much of Latin America, we are witnessing a revolution from below, a popular awakening that is challenging the traditional political parties and demanding a new system of governance that responds to the interests and needs of the popular classes. It is this rich mixture of forces at the grass roots that is opening up new vistas as the 21st century advances.

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Thank you very much for a very nice comment :)

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Colonos has received this very nice comment, which deserves promotion:

by Phillip Bannowsky | phillipbannowsky.com |

Greetings,
I lived in Ecuador in the early 90s and have visited and written about the country from time to time.

I observed a series of Indigenous and popular “levantimientos” in Ecuador from 1992, the Quincentennial of the Spanish invasion, until 2001 (See my article in NACLA Report on the Americas, March April 2001). Each one showed an increasing sophistication, militancy, and organization. While each seemed to fall short of dislodging the oligarchy or binding them to solid agreements, each succeeded in building the intellectual and political infrastructure leading to the triumphs of the current era. Meanwhile, the politics at the top—of the oligarchs, the bananeros, the Congress, the Presidency, and the oil companies—stumbled on, as if no amount of corruption or incompetence could ever undermine the whole juggernaut.

Given the complexity of Ecuadorian society and the legacy of corruption, poverty, and exploitation, it’s hard to imagine some sort of ideal revolution ascending. but it’s hard not to be hopeful that these changes will finally be in the right direction, while barely capable of stemming the colono tide.

I found your comments about economic development in the encounter of Indigenous with the rest of the world interesting. I wrestled with that issue in my novel, The Mother Earth Inn, in which I also treated the contradictions among and within various Ecuadorian sectors.

It’s an interesting blog. I’ve been to Tena. Incredible birds. I am glad I found you. Good luck.

We sincerely thank Phillip for his comment.

Free Software in Ecuador: Correa’s got that one right!

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Rafael Correa is taking quite some critical heat for his double standards or disregard -even- for the general livelihood of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and the rain forest that they live in – but here’s something that he’s got right: use Free Software, says the President (naturally speaking in Spanish):

But take a look at this video, too, and consider the natural beauty that will have to be destroyed in order to pave the way, literally, for the Latin American integration, as the neo-socialist improvement or progress based on capitalist commodity forms is called (in English):

The YouTube initiatives are part of the hip strategies of Correa’s government, appealing to a whole new demographic class in Ecuador – a middle class consuming the remittances that their migratory family members send back from, mainly, the U.S. and Spain. Both the cash and the migrant workers are in the millions – only oil and bananas in that republic are greater posts in the economy. These are the people behind Correa – and they want more cars, more roads to drive them on (Quito is already suffocating with cars, which have more then doubled in recent years!) and more plastics from China and more sausages from Spain – that is the essence of Latin American integration: global capitalism and commodity circulation.

Correa’s sunshine story: ITT

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Like the World Bank, the IOM et al. have their sunshine stories (white-, green- you name it wash), so does the neo-socialist revolution in Ecuador:

The innovative offer by the government of Ecuador to refrain from exploiting its largest oil reserve, in exchange for international compensation for nature conservation, is attracting increasing support”, according to an August 23 IPS article. The initiative relates to the untapped Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil reserve, which is located in Yasuni National Park in the Amazon. According IPS, the park is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. It was created in 1979 and covers 982,000 hectares”.

But behind this glamorous project – instigated by a radical environmental group – lures the reality of the wider project of Ecuadorian reform: more oil, more refineries, more roads, less forest and the crazy destruction of the Napo River that the construction of the Manta-Manaus corridor threatens. There is already a road straight into Yasuni – for the exclusive use of petroleras (and presumably the military). Yasuni might be “conserved” – but it will be circumscribed by concrete and asphalt, tending towards an indigenous zoo in the outskirts of town.

Understanding Ecuadorian politics in the context of Latin American integration (UNASUR).

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In the entry below elements of an interview by Clifton Ross that were related to the Manta-Manaus corridor project were extracted. Equally interesting was the other interview in that article, which is reproduced here and which includes references to UNASUR (the formation of which was covered by colonos earlier) and the indigenous struggles that have determined a significant part of the political dynamics in Ecuador over the last ten years.

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Correa is a capitalist. Nothing more, nothing less?

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Recently an ex-pat Ecuadorian commented in this blog that we had it all wrong and that our pessimism was disrespectful to the Ecuadorian people. It now seems that our opinions are very similar -in some ways- to what the mainstream analysts come up with.

Two articles, as usual compiled by Ecuador Rising, sum it all up. Go read them if you want to know who had it all wrong:

Left with Paradoxes – interview with Economist Pablo Dávalos, who “served as undersecretary to Rafael Correa when the now-President was Minister of the Economy under the previous Administration of Alfredo Palacio in 2005. He’s an advisor to the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and member of the Latin American Council of Social Scientists (CLACSO). Although he supported Correa’s successful presidential bid, he is skeptical of the direction the government is taking.”

IRC Americas Program Report: Ecuador’s Prolonged Instability – in which the claim is repeated that Correa’s movement is a consumerist middle class movement living off remittances from their estranged, emigrated families and boosting the supermarkets and car industries.

So, yea, nothing new really, –politics is business as usual–, except that what colonos have been suggesting all along, and which passed our dear commenter by, is now the general talk of the town.