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Climate Justice Now!
| DOES POLLUTION TRADING ENCOURAGE INNOVATION? (first in a series) |

“Precisely because necessity is the mother of invention, emissions trading probably produces weaker incentives for innovation than a comparable traditional regulation. And emissions trading certainly provides inadequate incentives for initially expensive innovations, even when such innovations offer long-term cost savings and broad environemntal advantages”.

-- David Driesen, Angela R. Cooney Professor of Law, Syracuse University, 2003

by: ProfMKD @ 7:41 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| IS THE CARBON MARKET WORKING? Why not ask business? (sixth in a series) |

"Industrial gas projects* are the bad boy of the Clean Development Mechanism. But that's what the market delivers -- surprises. It's like the US sulfur dioxide market, which worked only because of railroad deregulation [which happened to make low-sulfur coal delivery cheaper]. A market will always discover unexpected things."

-- Jack Cogen, President, Natsource, speaking in Montreal, 5 December 2005.


*Industrial gas projects generate huge amounts of CO2 emissions rights allowing carbon-intensive industry to continue business as usual. Yet they do nothing to ensure a transition to a lower-carbon future, because they just get rid of non-CO2 greenhouse gases such as HFCs using bolt-on end-of-pipe technological fixes.

by: ProfMKD @ 7:27 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| Nuclear power and climate justice |

Last night at the Climate Justice Convergence Centre, indigenous activist John Lewis Jobe described the impacts of the uranium mining industry upon his people. Lewis described the infamous Uranium City located in northwest Saskatchewan that was the centre of the nuclear boom in the 50s. Now an abandoned town, the surrounding area is a wasteland where nothing grows and where wildlife is contaminated. His people suffer from cancers and other illnesses as a result of drinking the water and eating the local animals. Uranium mining and nuclear waste dumping disproportionately affects indigenous communities all over the globe, making this a serious environmental justice issue. At the same time the nuclear industry is busy reinventing itself as a solution to climate change in the official UN talks, giving out free beer and replica uranium pellets in toy-like packets. The industry are also armed with glossy leaflets that quote environmentalists who are beginning to support nuclear as an option, such as James Lovelock and co-founder of Greenpeace Patrick Moore. Lewis is outraged by this development and his final words are “We have to put a face to the problems of the nuclear industry. They are killing my people.”

For more on climate justice and indigenous peoples see www.ienearth.org

by: ProfMKD @ 6:13 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| DOES POLLUTION TRADING WORK? |
“[I]n practice . . . there has been far more innovation in shell games and sharp accounting practices than in pollution control technology.”
--David D. Doniger, writing of early US experience with pollution trading, 1986


by: ProfMKD @ 6:04 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| IS THE CARBON MARKET WORKING? Why not ask the experts? |
"The Kyoto Protocol is completely unverifiable."
-- Sten Nilsson, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 2000.

by: ProfMKD @ 5:59 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| CARBON PROJECT Q & A: Brazil -- Handouts for Repression as Usual |

Brazil: Handouts for Repression as Usual

In a carbon project in Minas Gerais, eastern Brazil, carbon trading institutions have also used and exacerbated coercive power relations in still another attempt to produce an imaginary carbon commodity. As in Ecuador (see previous posting), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has played a big role and, as in South Africa (see previous posting), the World Bank as well.


-- Q. I take it this is another tree plantation project like those established in Ecuador and Uganda?

Partly, but it’s a good deal more complicated. The company claiming to be saving carbon and helping the climate is a pig iron-producing and plantation management company called Plantar S.A..


-- Q. How is Plantar helping the climate? Is the pig iron it makes produced by solar energy? Or is it perhaps used to make solar cells?

Alas, no. The iron is produced by burning charcoal and releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and is actually is used to make things like cars, which of course release yet more carbon dioxide.


-- Q. In that case, how can Plantar claim that it deserves carbon credits? It sounds like it’s an active part of the industrial system that is accelerating climate change.

Good question. Plantar and its World Bank associates have tried many lines of argument. At first, they said that without carbon finance, there would be an “accelerated reduction in the plantation forestry base in the state of Minas Gerais, within the next decade, caused by harvesting of existing forests (now in the last cycle of their rotations) and lack of investment into replanting”. In the absence of carbon finance, Plantar and the Bank insisted, “the company would not invest in the replanting of its forests for the [sic] pig iron production, abandoning them after the final harvest of the existing plantations”. When reminded that CDM rules do not allow credit to be provided for “avoided deforestation”, the Bank rewrote its design documents to emphasize other justifications.


-- Q. Which were – ?

First, that Plantar was not avoiding deforestation but rather preventing an otherwise necessary switch in the fuels for its pig iron operations from eucalyptus charcoal to more carbon-intensive coal or coke.


-- Q. Let me get this straight. This company said it deserved carbon credits for not doing something?

That’s correct. Plantar claims that without carbon money, the company would switch over from using charcoal to using fossil fuel. It’s called an “avoided fuel switch”. Because the carbon dioxide released by the charcoal is supposedly mostly absorbed by the new trees grown for new charcoal, less carbon enters the atmosphere than would enter it from the burning of coal.


-- Q. But why would Plantar switch over to using coal? Isn’t there enough charcoal to go around?

Plantar claims that without extra carbon finance for a 23,100-hectare plantation scheme, the charcoal fired pig iron industry faces a “supply bottleneck”. It says current plantations are being depleted and the lack of forest incentives will render new plantations financially unfeasible without World Bank carbon financing. Plantation land will be “converted to pasture or agricultural land”.


-- Q. Is that true?

Well, it does strain credulity. Plantar is saying that carbon credits for its 23,100 hectare project are the only thing that can ensure charcoal supplies, even though Minas Gerais alone boasts two million hectares of eucalyptus plantations. Plantar itself owns rural properties covering more than 180,000 hectares, mainly devoted to eucalyptus for charcoal and almost all located in Minas Gerais, and provides management services for more than 590,000 hectares of plantations for itself and other companies in Brazil spread across 11 large units. The firm also has large investments in the development and production of high-yielding clonal eucalyptus varieties and is reported to be producing over 40 million clonal seedlings per year,6 with yields of 35-42 cubic metres per year, contributing to its reputation as a committed, low-cost and highly competitive producer of charcoal and many other plantation timber products. Plantar has recently also gone to the trouble of getting plantations it uses to produce barbeque charcoal certified by the FSC. Why should the failure to get carbon credits for only four per cent of the total area under the firm’s management and 13 per cent of its own direct holdings result in a failure to invest in replanting? If the financial prospects for new plantation development are so poor, why did Plantar purchase the lands in question only four years ago, before it was considering carbon finance?

Some 143 local groups and individuals put it more strongly in a letter to the CDM Executive Board of June 2004:

"[T]he claim that without carbon credits Plantar . . . would have switched to coal as an energy source is absurd. . . . Yet now [Plantar] is using this threat to claim carbon credits for continuing to do what they have been doing for decades – plant unsustainable eucalyptus plantations for charcoal . . . It is comparable to loggers demanding money, otherwise they will cut down trees . . . [the CDM] should not be allowed to be used by the tree plantation industry to help finance its unsustainable practices."

Even the project’s validator, DNV (see posting on Thailand above), admitted to being sceptical of Plantar’s claim that Plantar would not invest in replanting in the absence of the CDM project, “given Plantar SA’s relatively strong investment capabilities as one of the major eucalypt seedling producers in Brazil”.


-- Q. How did DNV check Plantar’s claim?

They simply went to Plantar and asked them if it was really true or not. Unsurprisingly, Plantar executives assured them that the “internal rate of return for planting new trees is today is not attractive in absence of the sale of CDM credits”.

Meanwhile, the World Bank and its consultants admit that there are several possible “land management scenarios for the Curvelo ranch in the absence of the carbon project".


-- Q.
That means that there are several possible baselines with different carbon profiles.

Yes.


-- Q.
That means that there are several different figures for how much carbon the project might save.

Yes.


-- Q. That means that there can be no single number of carbon credits generated by the project.

No, there can’t.


-- Q.
Doesn’t that bother the project accountants?

No. They simply choose the baseline scenario they claim is “most plausible” and discard the others.


-- Q. So there’s actually no scientific basis for assigning any particular number of carbon credits to the project?

No.


-- Q. So this whole thing is a fraud.

That's correct. The accounting is essentially arbitrary, or to be more precise, unavoidably rigged against the interests of local people. What’s more, even if Plantar could prove that it was avoiding the use of a quantifiable amount of coal in Minas Gerais, it would still have to prove that the coal would not be used somewhere else for 10, 50, 100 or 300 years. Or it would have to quantify the extent to which its local avoidance of fossil fuels was helping indirectly to build an alternative, non-fossil energy economy worldwide. In the end, it’s anybody’s guess how Plantar’s carbon credits are related to climate.

Revealingly, even those technocrats who are committed to the idea of carbon-saving projects are beginning to be uneasy about companies’ demands to be given carbon money for what they are doing already. In May 2003, the CDM Methodologies Panel rejected the claim of another “avoided fuel switch” carbon project located adjacent to Plantar’s that it was an improvement on “business as usual”. In November 2003, faced with a resubmitted accounting methodology, the Panel went on to express concern that to assertions that carbon-saving projects that merely continue current practice are ‘additional’ throws up technical problems of “moral hazard”.


-- Q. “Moral hazard”? What does that mean?

It’s a term often used in the insurance business. By insuring houses, for example, an insurance company, if it’s not careful, can create an incentive for its customers not to take proper precautions against fire. Similarly, offering businesses a way of getting subsidies for what they’re doing already, without any way of verifying their claims about what would happen otherwise, creates incentives for them not to make any improvements.


-- Q. Are there other justifications Plantar cites for getting carbon credits?

Three, in fact. Plantar has also looked to get carbon credits for afforestation, improvements in charcoal production that minimize methane releases, and rehabilitating cerrado, the biome it itself has had such a hand in depleting.


-- Q. What do local people make of all this?

They find it hard to believe that Plantar could secure extra finance for anything that falls under the rubric of “environment” or “development”. “We were surprised and bewildered by the news,” a group of over 50 trade unions, churches, local deputies, academics, human and land rights organizations and others protested in a letter of 26 March 2003. They see the company as having illegally dispossessed many people of their land, destroyed jobs and livelihoods, dried up and polluted local water supplies, depleted soils and the biodiversity of the native cerrado (savannah) biome, threatened the health of local people, and exploited labour under appalling conditions (see Plantar vs. Local People: Two Versions of History, below).


-------------------------------------------------------

Plantar: Local People Speak

“Plantar has planted all over, even up to the Seu Zé do Buritim river spring. Thirty-five thousand hectares of land . . . they sprayed pesticides with a plane. There used to be deer and other animals in the area. The native fauna lived together with the cattle. But since they applied the pesticide, every one of them got killed. . . . The eucalyptus planted over here is meant for charcoal. It is a disaster for us. They say it provides jobs, but the maximum is six hundred work places in a plantation of 35,000 hectares. And, whenever everything has been planted, one has to wait for six years. So, what work does it generate? . . . We used to produce coffee – the Vera coffee – and pasta and cotton. Several different little factories in their suitable regions. Nowadays, there is only the eucalyptus. It has destroyed everything else. . . . Why do they come to plant in the land suited for agriculture instead of more suitable areas? Because there it takes ten to twenty years and over here only seven. All the best pieces of land went to the eucalyptus plantations, pushing the small producers away and destroying the municipalities. . . . These companies don’t want unions. They immediately co-opt the union leaders and they begin to make part of their inner circle of managers and directors. . . . The eucalyptus gives the water back to the earth after some years. But when it is time to give it back, they plant a new one that will absorb the water returned by the old one. This new plantation will develop really quickly, because, besides the rainwater, it will receive the water from the old eucalyptus. . . . they are using the carbon credits to plant these eucalyptus that will grow very quickly.”

--Local man who asked for anonymity out of fears for his safety


“Eucalyptus has been grown with blood.”

--Antonio, local farmer

----------------------------------------------------------------


-- Q. So they see the carbon scheme as shoring up an unjust and destructive social arrangement.

Yes. But local residents oppose not only the way Plantar is trying to get paid for using former cerrado and farmland for a carbon dump. They also oppose the way the carbon project appropriates alternative futures that they are pressing for. In a letter, many local representatives said that:

“The argument that producing pig iron from charcoal is less bad than producing it from coal is a sinister strategy. . . . What about the emissions that still happen in the pig iron industry, burning charcoal? What we really need are investments in clean energies that at the same time contribute to the cultural, social and economic well-being of local populations. . . . We can never accept the argument that one activity is less worse [sic] than another one to justify the serious negative impacts that Plantar and its activities have caused. … [W]e want to prevent these impacts and construct a society with an economic policy that includes every man and woman, preserving and recovering our environment.”


-- Q. In the face of all this opposition, how does the project go forward?

Well, an executive of Rabobank of The Netherlands remarked at a recent business conference in London that getting involved in financing for the project was like "stepping into a stream full of piranhas". The scheme probably couldn’t have got off the ground without the help and sponsorship of the Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) of the World Bank, which would feed any credits it generates to its roster of Northern corporate and government clients. Plantar was the Bank’s first carbon sink project and the Bank expects it to “prepare the ground for similar projects in the future". 2002 Project Appraisal Document. Plantar’s carbon scheme also gets legitimacy from the involvement of the FSC.


-- Q. Why is the World Bank involved in such projects?

In brief, to shore up and license the continuation of the fossil fuel economy, to please Northern governments, to build a new field of operations for itself as an institution, and to make money for itself. That’s why it helps firms like Plantar do the initial work on a project and promises to provide buyers for the credits.

-- Q. And what if Plantar can’t deliver the credits? Suppose the plantation burns down or the project verifiers find problems with the carbon accounting?

If less than 70 per cent of the CERs are delivered on time to one of the project’s buyers, The Netherlands, then it’s the Brazilian “supplier” who has to pay a penalty, not the Bank.


-- Q.
But doesn’t the involvement of the World Bank, as an internationally reputable development institution, at least guarantee certain environmental standards and provide safeguards against abuse of local people?

On the contrary. Many local people feel that the Bank’s involvement merely legitimises environmental damage and the intimidation that Plantar uses to control local people – intimidation which, as in Thailand, is nowhere acknowledged in carbon project documents. Many local residents are afraid to let interviewers cite their names. Some receive death threats. When a representative of the Rural Union of Workers of Curvelo went to the climate negotiations in Milan in December 2003 to raise awareness about the negative environmental and social effects of Plantar’s operations (which won a special ironic NGO award there for "worst CDM sinks project"), the company’s directors bullied other union members into signing a letter of support for the company, threatening massive layoffs if carbon credits were not forthcoming – although one longtime union opponent of the expansion of eucalyptus plantations in Minas Gerais managed to insert an “under pressure” beside her signature.

Unbowed, the local movement has subsequently appealed directly to European investors not to put money into the Plantar carbon project. Peasant and trade union representatives travelled to Cologne to intervene in the Carbon Expo trade fair held there in June 2004, in which the Bank participated.

Throughout the disputes over the carbon project, the World Bank has taken the side of Plantar. For example, in 2003 it posted on its website a letter from Plantar to PCF investors replying to dozens of local groups, without posting the original letter to which it was a reply.


-- Q. What about FSC? How are they involved?

FSC has certified only 32,232 hectares of Plantar’s operations – less than 18 per cent of its landholdings.18 These hectares are used to produce barbeque charcoal. However, Plantar has not hesitated to announce on its website that certification “ensures that our forest is managed in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way”, giving the impression that FSC’s certificate is valid for all of the company’s plantations. It also claims in a letter to PCF investors that “100 per cent of the Project Area is being and will be certified”. As in Ecuador (see earlier posting in this series), FSC thus has a hand, if only an indirect one, in producing a fictitious commodity claiming to be “carbon”.



PLANTAR VS. LOCAL PEOPLE: TWO VERSIONS OF HISTORY

LOCALS: Before the advent of giant eucalyptus plantations, the geraizeiros of northern Minas Gerais used the cerrado (savannah) for crops, cattle, wild foods, medicines and crafts. Small and medium-sized companies relied on cerrado products to manufacture pasta, leather, saddles, shoes, cotton oil, textiles, castor oil, textiles, sweets, and liquor and other products of the native pequi fruit. Rice, beans and maize were planted and traditional dairy farming and livestock raising was practiced. Under the dictatorship, however, lands that the geraizeiros had traditionally used and claimed ownership over, but which were not formally titled and were under the jurisdiction of the state (devolutas lands), were leased fraudulently for 20 years to eucalyptus-planting firms, who also received financial incentives. Many rural dwellers were expelled from the land, while others were persuaded to abandon it by promises of jobs and better living conditions; still others sold up after becoming isolated and seeing their water supply dry up or become contaminated with pesticides. The cerrado was cut down, fields were fenced and consolidated, and agriculture, stockraising and livelihoods and food products factories that depended on the biodiversity of the cerrado collapsed, leaving many unemployed. Through dispossession and impoverishment, residents have been forced to accept low wages and dangerous working conditions, often as illegal out-sourced labor, or flee to favelas on the outskirts of cities, where they are also trapped in a cycle of poverty. Exactly how much of today’s Minas Gerais monoculture eucalyptus plantations are on devolutas lands is disputed. We believe that most land used by corporations such as Plantar is devolutas. An investigative commission of the Minas Gerais parliament found that iron and steel companies as were granted “a large part of the devolutas lands in northern Minas Gerais”. Whatever the exact figure, however, the question must be investigated, since according to Brazilian law, corporations cannot acquire this type of land, only peasants. By right, such lands should be given back to rural dwellers and used for land reform, food production, and restoration of the cerrado. Many geraizeiros have brought a case against the state over their explusion from their lands when they were expropriated and leased to the companies. They want to convert plantations back into native cerrado.

PLANTAR: Plantar has never owned nor used any so-called devolutas lands. It has never contributed to the eviction of indigenous peoples. Plantar has never placed any constraints on the commercialization of cerrado fruits, on which a few families may rely to earn their living, or on those who collect fruits for subsistence purposes. It is very hard to imagine how a company that does not occupy more than 4.5 per cent of the Curvelo Township area could cause a crisis in the fruit-collecting economy. Besides preserving both legal reserves and permanent conservation areas, Plantar also contributes to the conservation of traditional species of the cerrado. Anyway, the areas where Plantar works are not economically dependent on cerrado products but on cattle-raising. This has heavy environmental impacts, adds little value, and creates fewer employment opportunities than are created by the forestry industry. For example, in Felixlândia, Plantar acquired a former cattle-raising farm which did not provide more than 20 jobs. In the same area, we currently have almost 300 permanent employees. In Curvelo, Plantar provides more than 1000 direct jobs, not to mention indirect figures. Plantar has not caused massive job layoffs and has significantly expanded due to forestry management services provided to third parties.

LOCALS: The 4.5 per cent figure doesn’t include other companies’ eucalyptus plantations in Curvelo, including those of V&M Florestal and Cossisa. In, any case knowing that Plantar has covered 4.5 per cent of the municipality with eucalyptus does not change the plantations’ impacts on the lives of people nearby. Plantar’s comparison between the 20 workers on a former cattle ranch and the 300 workers working there now is misleading. No local people were in fact hired, increasing unemployment in Felixlândia. In addition, while eucalyptus plantations may provide employment during the first two years in preparation of the land, planting, pesticide application, or irrigation, they provide very little work during the subsequent five years before cutting.

It’s true that local people do not use cerrado areas under Plantar’s control for fruit collection. These areas are very small and offer little. But local communities have suffered from the Plantar’s restrictions on their tradition of letting their cows graze freely. Plantar has put cattle in fenced areas or taken them away to another area without informing the owner. This has led to cases of lost cattle. Land reform and small-scale agriculture are the only ways of creating a future for the Brazilian rural population. Yet tree plantations only worsen the unequal distribution of land in the country. In Espirito Santo, eucalyptus plantations expelled thousands and thousands of people into the poor neighbourhoods of urban centres and an uncertain future. Converting the 23,100 hectares of the Plantar project to small-scale diversified and ecological agriculture would create at least 23,100 more human-friendly jobs, with salaries at least four times higher than those of the majority of Plantar workers, according to the concrete experience of the local Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (Movement of Small Peasants). The Movimento is also developing an alternative reforestation project, using not eucalyptus but tree species with multiple uses and local environmental value.


LOCALS: What with the eucalyptus industry’s transformation of local rural economies, people often have no economic options other than small scale charcoal production, and build clay ovens in the cerrado for the purpose. Collecting commercial eucalyptus is against the law, however, so independent producers often burn what’s left of native trees, and the resulting charcoal is often eventually purchased by the corporations. Companies still use around 15-20 per cent native cerrado charcoal. They deny this in spite of the existence of receipts showing their purchase of charcoal made from native wood.

PLANTAR: The use of charcoal made out of native vegetation is a reality that bothers pig iron manufacturers, environmentalists and authorities. That’s why it’s a goal of the Plantar project: to establish sustainable plantations, capable of supplying 100 per cent well-managed eucalyptus plantation charcoal for pig iron manufacturing, thus curbing negative impacts brought by the use of native vegetation.

LOCALS: Plantar also continues to destroy cerrado directly in order to use the land for plantations. For instance, Plantar bought cerrado lands in the Campo Alegre and Paiol communities and planted eucalyptus on it. As late as 2000, Plantar was felling cerrado in Lagoa do Capim.156 In December 2002, Plantar land was also cleared at the river spring of Pindaíba. Native tree trunks can still be seen there. Dozens of municipalities have declared a state of emergency over water. Near Paiol de Cima, one stream has completely dried up after having previously flowed 11 months of the year. In Felixlândia, a spring called Cabeciera do Buriti is degraded. Flows in the Buriti river are down and herbicides have been applied without consultation with local people, killing fish and birds. Plantar has planted eucalyptus at river springs, drying them up and also contaminating them with pesticides that kill animal life in the streams. Plantar’s contamination of local drinking water sources with pesticides has also caused the death of many emas, large land birds related to ostriches. The communities of Cobú, Paiol de Cima, Canabrava and Boa Morte have been forced to dig artesian wells. Cattle ranching does not cause such negative impacts on water, and produces a greater diversity of goods, including meat, milk, leather and manure.

PLANTAR: We have been accused of drying up rivers, but in fact some streams dry up naturally for a few months, due to the seasonality of rainfall normal to the cerrado. They recover later. Of course, as with any fast-growing species, eucalyptus needs underground water. Nevertheless, scientific studies have shown that, as long as proper management is carried out, as Plantar does, eucalyptus plantations do not reduce water supply to specific regions. Many traditional cultures, as well as careless grazing practices, are more harmful to hydrological systems than eucalyptus plantations.

LOCALS: A Minas Gerais Parliamentary Investigation Commission found in 2002 that Plantar was practicing illegal outsourcing of labour that negatively affected the safety and livelihoods of charcoal workers. It cited “precarious labor relations, abominable working conditions, slave and child labour and deforestation of the cerrado” as well as “infamous” wage levels. It also found problems with housing, hygiene, drinking water, food, transport and noted that Plantar was in breach of International Labour Office provisions regarding freedom of trade union organizing. The Federal Public Ministry of Labour has sued Plantar for illegal subcontracting and forced it to sign an agreement to change its behaviour, which was subsequently found to be not in compliance. During the 1990s, the Montes Claros Pastoral Land Commission, a church-related organization, also verified the existence of slave labour on Plantar property. In March 2002, the Curvelo Regional Labour Office (DRT) issued Plantar with a summons for using slave and child labour in timber extraction and charcoal production and fined the company after finding 194 workers without any registration on its plantations in Curvelo.20

PLANTAR: Plantar has never used child nor slave labor. Our working conditions are in complete accordance with labor laws. Besides complying with Forestry Stewardship Council standards, the company is frequently audited under its ISO certified quality management system and is certified by ABRINQ Foundation as a “company friend of children”. Representatives from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have visited Plantar’s facilities. Plantar may have been cited over working conditions by a Parliamentary Investigation Commission (along with every other company in the sector), but no irregularities were found. The company is a benchmark for providing benefits for its employees including occupational health care, half scholarships for all employees from basic education to graduate degrees, free meals and food supply kits to lower-income employees, etc. Instead of undertaking a legal dispute with the Curvelo Regional Labour Office (DRT) after being cited over outsourcing, Plantar has already agreed to manufacture charcoal with its own workforce.

LOCALS: Plantar’s agreement to manufacture charcoal with its own workforce needs to be evaluated to see whether it is really improving conditions for workers, who in general earn a maximum of only US$100/month. As unemployment is rife, most workers are frightened of mentioning any problem that occurs, including the creation of new contracting companies nominally part of Plantar with names like Plantar Energética. Plantar charcoal workers are continuously exposed to smoke containing toxic gases as well as pesticides and are at a high risk for accidents. In Espirito Santo, the Attorney General for Workers Conditions opened a confidential investigation in 2001 after the death of several former Plantar workers. One, Aurino dos Santos Filho, died with a pump filled with pesticides on his back while working on a eucalyptus plantation in Espirito Santo in 2001; he was only 34 years old. Aurino´s family has not received any compensation from the company. Plantar does nothing for workers who become disabled as a result of their work for the company; many have already died. Plantar makes labour organizing difficult by rotating workers among far flung sites. Worker leaders are registered as “urban labourers” to prevent them from becoming rural union members.


----------------------------------------------------

Jorge, a former Plantar worker: “When I started working at Plantar I was OK. One day I fainted after lunch. I was already applying the insecticides, fungicides. I had headaches, I felt weak. My superior told me, ‘I am firing you because you don’t know if you are sick or not.’ Six or seven people died. Plantar said it was heart failure. Now I’m unable to work. I don’t dare eat the fish from the streams here.”

----------------------------------------------------

LOCALS: When it built a new tree nursery, Plantar, without consulting local inhabitants, diverted a road that has always been used by the communities of Paiol de Cima, Meleiros, Cachoeira do Choro, Paiol de Baixo, Canabrava, Gomos and others, extending travel distances for local inhabitants, including 900 students from the Serfio Eugenio School, by more than five kilometers. Plantar also dammed up the local Boa Morte river to supply the nursery with water, as well as polluting water with fertilizers and other agrochemicals, causing complaints from downstream water users. A local leader of an environmental NGO received anonymous death threats over the telephone after criticizing Plantar.

PLANTAR: The detour has not caused any damage to local people. The original route is still there and can be used by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. Vehicle traffic has been diverted to prevent seedlings from being affected by dust, and drivers prefer to take the detour anyway because the road is of better quality. Public and school buses no longer get stuck in the mud during rainy periods.

LOCALS: In 2003, the old road was fenced off, making it impossible even for pedestrians to use. Even for anyone daring to jump the fence, the road is unusable, since it is blocked by the company’s nursery. School buses never had problems with the old road.

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Conducting research into the story of Plantar have been Marcelo Calazans and Winnie Overbeek of the Brazilian NGO FASE-ES in Espirito Santo, assisted by an international team working on carbon trading including Tamra Gilbertson, Adam Ma’anit and Heidi Bachram of Carbon Trade Watch, Jutta Kill of Sinks Watch, and Ben Pearson of Clean Development Mechanism Watch (and now with Greenpeace Australia). With the help of Carbon Trade Watch, those affected by Plantar have learned how to film their struggle to share with outsiders, including communities near a BP refinery in
Scotland. The carbon credits BP obtained from Plantar and other carbon projects would allow it to maintain high levels of fossil fuel pollution in Europe.


by: ProfMKD @ 5:44 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| Laugh along with Odin Knudsen! |
Odin Knudsen of World Bank Carbon Finance spoke to an audience of about 200 mostly businesspeople at the Bank's and the International Emissions Trading Association's side event on 5 December 2005 at the climate negotiations in Montreal.

Some snippets:


On how the World Bank is helping "catalyze" the global carbon market:

"This [construction of the carbon market] is a political process. Of course, the World Bank is not political." (Laughter.) "Or not too political, I should say, heh heh." (Complicit snickers.)


On his pleasure in the positive reaction of many NGOs to the carbon market:

“Corporations, NGOs, and governments are all working together to do something – to make the planet a better planet and to make lives better for future generations. So corporations, NGOs and governments and others should all give ourselves a big hand of applause for being here in
Montreal.”


On hopes that "technology" is going to be "transferred" to Africa through carbon schemes:

"Many African projects are going to be revolving around trees."


by: ProfMKD @ 5:02 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| CARBON PROJECT Q & A: South Africa -- Saving Carbon or Destroying Health? (eighth in a series) |

South Africa: Saving Carbon or Destroying Health?


Durban Solid Waste (DSW), part of Durban’s city council bureaucracy, manages a landfill site called the Bisasar Road dump. The dump is located in an area that was designated for people of Indian descent under apartheid’s Group Areas Act. It’s also a primary source of livelihood for the mainly African, and poorer, Kennedy Road settlement, many of whose residents recycle materials from the dump while struggling with officials and business to gain more secure rights to the land their houses occupy.

Although the site is licensed only to receive domestic waste, medical waste, sewage sludge, private corporate waste and large shipments of rotten eggs have also wound up there. Cadmium and lead emissions are over legal limits, and limits for suspended particulate matter also often exceeded. Concentrations of methane, hydrogen chloride, and other organic and inorganic compounds including benzene and toluene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde are high.


-- Q. That sounds dangerous.

Local residents report many health problems, with six out of ten of the houses in one downwind block on the nearby Clare Estate reporting cancer cases. The causes of each such individual case of disease are notoriously difficult to pin down. They could include emissions from incineration practices which stopped in 1997, other emissions from the dump either before or after, or other factors.

But with some houses only 20 meters away from the landfill site boundary, it’s hardly surprising that many in the community want the dump shut down. In fact, the city council itself pledged in 1987 to close the site and turn it into sports fields, picnic areas and play areas for children. When, in 1996, the council reneged a second time on the promise, some 6,000 local residents signed a petition of protest, with many blocking the dump site entrance and staging demonstrations and marches.


-- Q. I’m not surprised. But what does all this have to do with mitigating climate change?

In 2002, the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) began promoting a prospective CDM project to extract methane from the Bisasar landfill and burn it to generate up to 45 megawatts of electricity for supply to the national grid.


-- Q. I’m not sure I understand. How can a project that emits carbon dioxide using fuel from a smelly landfill site be climate-friendly?

The idea is that the electricity generated by the project would “replace” electricity that otherwise would have been generated by burning coal. It’s claimed that the project would generate enough power to light up 20,000 informal houses or 10,000 formal-sector houses. Because burning methane is less climatically damaging than simply releasing it, and better than burning coal (the dirtier fuel usually used) the project is better than the alternative.


-- Q. The alternative? Do you mean that there’s only one? Surely there must be many alternatives. What about using the money to close the dump down and treat some of the waste? What about just pumping the landfill gas into the nearby Petronet gas pipeline network so that it would not need to be burned on site? Or finding ways of using electricity more efficiently? Or more non-fossil community-level power sources?

No, the carbon credit market demands that there be only one alternative. That’s the only way of doing the carbon accounting for a project like this. If there is more than one alternative, then you will have more than one number corresponding to the carbon “saved”, and you won’t be able to assign a single number to the number of carbon credits your project is producing. So you won’t have anything definite to sell.


-- Q. But that’s just crazy. There are always many alternatives.

Yes, but the accounting system that carbon projects need dictates otherwise. It leaves no space for multiple alternatives or more than one political choice. The market leads, logic follows.


-- Q. But how can such a view be enforced when everybody knows that there are many alternatives to the Bisasar Road carbon project, not just one?

In the early phase of the project, authority for deciding what the local future would be without the Bisasar Road scheme was quietly given to two individuals at the PCF far away in Washington – Sandra Greiner and Robert Chronowski. Griener and Chronowski were the ones who determined what would and would not be possible in South Africa in the absence of the project. Their decision was clothed in many pages of impressive numbers and reinforced through meetings and professional review. If the project goes forward and sells carbon credits to Northern corporations, allowing them to burn fossil fuels in their countries, it will have to be on the basis of numbers like the ones Greiner and Chronowski suggested.


-- Q. But didn’t anybody protest? Didn’t anybody question whether two people in Washington had the right to decide what the alternative energy future of Durban might be? Come on, man, this is crazy!

Welcome to the carbon market. Protest was difficult. Information dissemination and public consultation on the project proposal were carried out over the internet, to which only a small minority of the local community have access. Time allocated for objections in late 2004 was a mere 10 days. And few outside the immediate area were either interested in or aware of what was going on.

Durban officials claim that without the US$15 million provided by the deal, they would not bother trying to recover the methane as fuel, since the electricity generated in the process costs so much more per kilowatt hour than the local power utility charges for its coal-fired power.


-- Q. All right, fair enough. But assuming that’s true, all it proves is that continued raw methane release and coal-fired power is a choice that would have a reasonable economic rationale, not that it is the only choice that could be made.

That’s all that’s required, under the rules, for the project to create carbon credits.


-- Q. All right. But who would buy carbon credits from the dump?

All PCF investors are to get pro rata shares of rights to ignore an increment of their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their own mining and burning of fossil fuels. These investors include British Petroleum, Mitsubishi, Deutsche Bank, Tokyo Electric Power and Gaz de France, as well as the governments of The Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden and Japan.


-- Q. And is this a good thing for local people who live around the dump?

That depends a lot on who you ask.


-- Q. Well, what does the PCF say?

The PCF says that improving the “financial position of DSW” would also benefit local people and send a “clear signal” to them that “the environment is a number-one concern in South Africa and is being dealt with in the best way possible.”


-- Q. And what does the local community say?

Again, that depends on who you ask. But let’s start with members of the Indian community on the border of the dump. One, Sajida Khan, who was diagnosed in 1996 with cancer, and whose nephew died of leukaemia, had this to say in 2002:

“To gain the emissions reductions credits they will keep this site open as long as possible. Which means the abuse will continue as long as possible so they can continue getting those emissions reductions credits. To them how much money they can get out of this is more important than what effect it has on our lives.”

Khan and other community members see PCF support for the methane project as having thrown a lifeline to the dump. They note that the PCF’s crediting period for the project is seven years, twice renewable, making a total of 21 years. According to the PCF, “because of the growing waste generation per capita in the municipality . . . there is no plan to close . . . the Bisasar Road site . . . during the PCF project life.” To Khan and colleagues, this new lease on life for the dump, together with the PCF claim that Bisasar Road is an “environmentally progressive . . . world-class site” leave a very bitter taste in the mouth.


-- Q. Understandably so. But are there other views?

One of the municipality’s top officials responsible for the project, Lindsay Strachan, Project Manager of eThekwini Engineering and Projects, has little patience with opinions like Khan’s. Because protesters “can’t think globally any more,” he complains, “the project is literally slipping through our fingers.”

--------------------------------------------------------

The Bisasar Road Project: Conflicting Views

“What are we going to do about carbon trading? Our president [Thabo Mbeki] is saying, ‘Where is this project? Where is any project? Where’s anything?’ [There is] a big rush to get South Africa on the map. [Yet now, due to appeals,] the first project in Africa is . . . stopped in its tracks and . . . literally slipping through our fingers. . . . Japan is calling me. But I say we have no project. . . . [The two per cent of people who object] are saying that this is in my backyard, I can't think globally anymore. . . . South Africa probably won’t be able to say that we spearheaded the CDM market or better still we spearheaded the emissions reductions market. . . . There is disappointment, but such projects will go on elsewhere, in Brazil or Chile or India or Iran or Kampala.”

--Lindsay Strachan, Manager of Engineering and Projects, Durban Solid Waste


“The poor countries are so poor they will accept crumbs. The World Bank know this and they are taking advantage of it.”

--Sajida Khan, Bisasar Road community resident

--------------------------------------------------------

But there are more than just two sides to this story. Most of the African residents of the nearby Kennedy Road settlement also support extending the life of the dump. For one thing, the dump provides most of their current livelihood. For another, the new World Bank carbon project has shrewdly promised to provide jobs and a few local scholarships. The Bank also pushed DSW to conduct “consultative exercises” in Kennedy Road that constituted one of the few occasions that the community had been officially recognized. Kennedy Road residents could not help but contrast that recognition with what they perceive as the Bisasar Road community’s lack of sympathy for their ongoing struggles to secure rights to the land they live on so precariously.


-- Q. But presumably the World Bank and DSW are merely trying to divide the local Indian and African communities from each other?

Kennedy Road activists are under no more illusions about the agendas of outside agencies than they are in the front lines of international debate over climate change. But, as Raj Patel of the local Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal observes, “when communities have been systematically denied dignity,” “consultations” such as those staged by DSW under World Bank pressure may be the only “substitute for marginalization” available.


-- Q. There’s also the argument, isn't there, that by extracting methane, the project not only prevents quantities of a powerful greenhouse gas from being dispersed in the atmosphere, but also benefits local air quality?

It might, to some degree – although a lot of associated pollutants would still be released, including carbon monoxide and various hydrocarbons.

Clean air, however, is a right South Africans are constitutionally guaranteed even in the absence of carbon trading schemes. In a sense, therefore, Kyoto commodity production is being staked here to the non-enforcement of environmental law. DSW, PCF and their consultants are helping to enclose not only local communities’ air, but also their future. In the process the World Bank is also undermining its own stated concern with “good governance” and the rule of law, because it’s providing an incentive not to enforce the constitution.


-- Q. What’s the future of the project?

Uncertain. Project opponents, backed by sympathizers in a range of countries, are definitely having an impact. Sajida Khan and others have filed formal complaints, citing technical environmental, health and social problems. Several newspaper articles were published on Khan and her struggles, and in November 2004, World Bank staff were forced to visit Durban to have a look for themselves. But project proponents, including Bank staff, are unlikely to give up easily.



-------------------------------------------
Some of the research for this posting was done by Trusha Reddy of the New School for Social Research in New York while she was an intern at the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


by: ProfMKD @ 4:46 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| IS THE CARBON MARKET WORKING? Why not ask business? (fifth in a series) |

"Our abatement projects will not change ppm [parts per million concentrations of greenhouse gases] in the atmosphere.

“We deal in things that don’t happen.”

-- Rob Fowler, New South Wales Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme, speaking at the side event of the International Emissions Trading Association and the World Bank Carbon Funds, 5 December 2005, Montreal.



by: ProfMKD @ 4:33 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| CARBON PROJECT Q & A: Thailand -- biomass in the service of the coal and gas economy (seventh in a series) |

Thailand: Biomass in the Service of the Coal and Gas Economy

The experience of Sri Lanka (see previous posting in this series) shows that not all projects that go under the name of “renewable energy schemes” promote local betterment, foster local autonomy, or help in the transition away from fossil fuels.

But other types of “renewable energy” projects may turn out to be of equally questionable climatic or social value when integrated into the carbon market as supports for a system dominated by fossil fuel technologies and corporate expansion. A good example is a “biomass energy” project seeking CDM support in Yala province in Thailand’s troubled far south.

There, an approximately 23-megawatt power plant fuelled by rubberwood waste and sawdust is being developed by a diverse group of companies linked by their interest in the carbon trade. They include:

  • Gulf Electric, an independent power producer 50 per cent owned by Thailand’s Electricity Generating Public Company (EGCO) and 49 per cent by Japan’s Electric Power Development Company (EPDC).
  • Asia Plywood (AP), a Yala rubberwood processor next to one of whose factories the plant would be located.
  • Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a Norwegian ‘risk management’ consultancy in the process of parlaying its experience in certifying the credibility of pioneer carbon schemes such as Yala into a major share in CDM’s consultancy market.

EPDC is a largely fossil-fuel-oriented company and the largest single user of coal in Japan. It operates 66 coal-fired and hydropower stations and burned US$652 million in fossil fuels in 2001 alone. It also has interest in six gas-fired power generating plants in operation or under construction in Thailand, totalling 2,733 megawatts. Nor, with a large new coal-fired power station under construction in Yokohama, does EPDC contemplate any change of direction in the future. “Coal offers stable supply and outstanding economical efficiency,” says a company presentation:

“hence we predict it will support world energy consumption throughout this century. Our great mission is to ensure that coal is burned cleanly thus reducing the burden on the environment.”

Accordingly, EPDC’s main response to global warming is coal gasification, which of course does nothing to halt the flow of fossil carbon to the surface, and the development of a nuclear power plant. For EPDC, the point of investment in Yala would be to gain so-called Certified Emissions Reductions to help it, and Japan generally, maintain current levels of fossil-fuel combustion in the face of Kyoto pressures.

EGCO is also largely structured around fossil-fuel technologies. One of EGCO’s gas-fired power stations, in fact, is operated in partnership with UNOCAL, a US multinational fossil-fuel firm that is a member of anti-Kyoto Protocol and climate-skeptic business groups.

Gulf Electric, meanwhile, with a mainly gas-fuelled generating capacity, has become well-known in recent years partly due to the overwhelming March 2003 defeat of its proposed 734-megawatt Bo Nok coal-fired power plant on the Gulf of Thailand. Local people in Prachuab Khiri Khan province had long been concerned about pollution and other potentially destructive effects of the project and had mounted a successful regional and national campaign against it. Following their victory against Gulf, the company moved quickly to propose a gas-fired subsititute plant further up the coast.

If any further evidence were required that the sponsoring firms are not treating the Yala project as a step away from fossil fuels, there is the fact that they had originally planned to build the power plant without any carbon finance at all. It is only since the depths of the Thai financial crisis, in 1998, that they have contemplated securing supplementary funding through carbon trading. Encouraging them to develop the idea have been subsidies from Thailand’s Energy Policy and Planning Office’s Energy Conservation Promotion Fund as well as portions of both a US$30 million OECF loan under a 1999 five-year Global Environmental Facility (GEF) project and a GEF outlay of $3 million toward commercial risk premiums.

-- Q. But if the point of the Yala project is to help keep corporations using fossil fuels, how can the credits it generates possibly be tokens of measurable climate benefits?

The project’s proponents claim that it would save a measurable amount of carbon by “replacing” some of the electricity in the Thai grid that’s now generated by burning fossil fuels.


-- Q. How do they know that the plant would do that?

The validator, DNV, realized that it had no way of determining that the new project’s power would be replacing either combined-cycle natural gas or oil-fuel electricity in the national grid. It was also told by Thailand’s electricity authority that it was ''often a mistake to see a direct link of displacement between an increase in one component of the grid and a reduction in another.'' So DNV looked at the “average” carbon intensity of electricity from the Thai grid. It then subtracted the figure corresponding to the projected carbon intensity of electricity from the project and multiplied that by the project’s output. DNV argued that the resulting figure is conservative, since expansion plans by the Thai electricity authority featured a “higher carbon intensity than the grid average used by the project", although the authority’s figures were a subject of hot dispute in Thailand and carbon intensity per year varies by about 20 per cent.


-- Q. It all sounds a bit too much like guesswork, given that the object is the calculation of a precise number of tonnes of CO2 saved. How can they possibly be sure that if the project didn’t exist, exactly that amount of electricity would have been generated through nothing better than the current “average” fuel mix?

They can’t. But it’s a procedure that’s acceptable in principle to the UN.


-- Q. I assume the consultancy also factors in how much additional use of fossil-generated EPDC electricity the project might encourage in Japan?

No.


-- Q. Why not? If the project helps reassure electricity consumers or investors in Japan that it’s OK to keep using coal-generated electricity there, doesn’t that add to the carbon debit of the project?

Yes, it does. But Kyoto carbon accounting tends to ignore such realities, not that they could be measured anyway (see previous postings). So DNV was under little obligation to present an answer to your question in any of the hundreds of pages of highly-technical documents on the Yala project. Assessing the many indirect carbon or climatic effects of the project, according to DNV, “is not necessary, in our opinion”.


--Q. Let me ask another question, then. If the project was going to be built anyway, then what exactly does it “save” that deserves a climate subsidy? It’s just business as usual.

That’s right, and the CDM rulebook demands that CDM projects prove that they are not business as usual. As a result, the Yala project proponents have had to produce some evidence that it isn’t business as usual.


-- Q.
How have they done that?

With difficulty. At first, project proponents claimed that, without carbon credit sales, the project’s return on equity would be lower than “desirable” or “normal” but that the good publicity associated with a climate-friendly project would make up for this. When NGOs pressed DNV to provide evidence for these claims, DNV said that it did not have permission to make public the “confidential” financial analysis the project proponents had given it. Project proponents also asserted that the planning needed for the project was a “barrier” that required carbon finance to overcome, and that the project was technologically novel in the Thai context. Later on, the project developer also noted that the project was sufficiently financially shaky that it had to be put on hold in 2002.


--Q.
But even if that’s true, that wouldn’t prove that the project could be undertaken only with carbon finance.

No. And there’s a lot of evidence that, in fact, the prospective carbon income of the project has no weight at all with the investors. For example, uncertainty about whether the project would ultimately be allowed to be registered with the CDM, or about whether the Thai government would overcome its initially sceptical stance toward CDM projects does not seem to have had any effect on the project’s original construction schedule. What’s more, Sarath Ratanavadi, managing director of Gulf Electric, was quoted in the Bangkok Post on 13 June 2003 as saying that Gulf Electric and EPDC "will go ahead with the 800 million baht project [Yala biomass] even without CDM".


-- Q.
What was DNV’s response to that?

It protested that the project’s “non-additionality is not as obvious as asserted" and said that it had consulted with EPDC about Sarath’s statement.


-- Q. From a scientific point of view, that’s not terrifically convincing.

No. For this project to be registered with the CDM would, in fact, probably be a net loss for climatic stability, since it would enable the Japanese government to write down its Kyoto commitment by half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide without providing anything verifiable in return. Nevertheless, the controversy over Yala is representative of the level of debate that still prevails in front of the UN committees and panels responsible for overseeing the CDM.


-- Q. That’s bound to be good news for project developers who don’t have any qualms about pushing projects that have no climate benefits.

Yes.


-- Q. Well, if the project’s benefits for the climate can’t be verified or quantified, perhaps we should forget about looking at it as a carbon project and just view it as a standard development project with an unusual prospective source of funding. Does it at least provide some benefits for local people?

Many local residents in fact quietly oppose the new development on AP’s Yala site as being likely to reinforce local imbalances of power over air and water quality. They’ve long felt animosity toward Asia Plywood for causing pulmonary health and other problems through smoke and ash pollution of local air, water and land, and profess “no trust” in the firm. Subdistrict officials have even alleged that the firm has not paid its full share of taxes.


-- Q. But why should any of that make any difference to their view of the new project?

Because for them, the important thing about the project is not the theory behind it, but who is going to carry it out. Local people might well agree with DNV that the disposal of rubber wood residues at Asia Plywood and other installations is “one of the most serious environmental problems in the Yala community.” But they view corporate reliability as a more important prerequisite for solving such problems than technical proposals. Refusing to abstract from the local political context, they see narrowly technical factors such as new equipment or CDM certification as irrelevant as long as underlying conflicts between company and community are not tackled. “If current problems are not solved,” one local health official interviewed asked, “how are new problems going to be addressed?”


-- Q.
Shouldn’t DNV have taken account of such views?

DNV was well aware of locals’ view that AP should solve its existing problems with “noise, wastewater and solid waste” before attempting anything else, and should communicate the details of construction to the community as well as involve it in monitoring. Yet it had few incentives to take villagers’ political and social analysis seriously as relevant to project assessment.

For example, DNV wrote in an anodyne, theoretical way about a “comprehensive public participation program” to “accurately inform local residents, government officials and other concerned members of the public about the Project and expected impacts” and “obtain feedback, mainly from the local communities and concerned government agencies, with regard to their opinions and concerns about the Project”, including the subdistrict administrative authority’s committee and residents in “surrounding villages”. Deadpan, it recorded a meeting of less than one hour with the Lam Mai subdistrict authority. The picture was of a project and its participant firms as “black box” or neutral machine into which formulas for environmental improvement, participation and good community relations could be fed with near-automatic results. Local environmental problems were seen as stemming from a mere technical lacuna – one that the CDM project would help fill.

Similarly, when at an August 1999 public consultation few respondents agreed with the project, DNV put it down to “previous dissatisfaction with the dust caused by AP's operation” and claimed that, following the installation of a new boiler which uses sawdust, “Lam Mai [subdistrict] residents no longer disagree with the Project”.


-- Q. Are you saying that that’s not true?

It’s certainly not the impression given by a number of local residents interviewed more recently. To them, the workings of the firms involved in the project, far from being enclosed in a “black box”, are both open to view and of powerful interest.

Several people interviewed pointed out that DNV’s “public participation program”, instead of involving dissemination of useful information, has featured expenses-paid tours for local people to biomass power plants in Thailand’s central region. Such tours, they reported, have included hotel accommodation, food and free visits for some male participants to local prostitutes, but not any close inspection of the plants in question nor chances to meet local people.

Local residents also pointed to AP’s name on a sala that the company gave to a Buddhist temple adjacent to its factory after temple monks complained about pollution – an act incurring powerful reciprocal obligations. They noted that other modes of persuasion have also been used: one elderly resident interviewed reported receiving no less than three death threats as a result of voicing criticisms of the AP project.


-- Q. So some of the locals aren’t too keen on carbon trading?

Who knows? They understand very well what biomass is, but they’ve never had a chance to discuss the carbon market. Most people are completely unaware of the AP project’s projected role in this new global trade (see previous posting: “No Need to Know? The Secret Economy of Carbon”).


----------------------------------------------
Information compiled by Larry Lohmann, larrylohmann@gn.apc.org. Thanks to staff at the Alternative Energy Project for Sustainability and other colleagues in Thailand.


by: ProfMKD @ 4:20 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| New Photo Gallery |
Check out the Durban Group's new photo gallery. It's full of shots of climate justice activism from the Palais de Congres to the Climate Justice Convergence Centre to the streets of Montreal. Thanks to photographers Heidi Bachram, Michael Dorsey, Daphne Wysham, and Nadia Martinez.

by: ProfMKD @ 4:01 PM | 0 comments links to this post

| Upcoming events at the Climate Convergence Centre |



CLIMATE JUSTICE CONVERGENCE CENTRE: MONTREAL

2070 Rue Clark (near Sherbrooke and St.Laurent)
4 Blocks Northwest of the Palais de Congres
The Centre is open from 27th November to 8th December 2005.


The Climate Justice Convergence Centre is a space where the voices of those struggling against oil and coal extraction, refineries, pollution 'offset' projects, a destabilized climate, oil wars and all the other effects of fossil fuel dependence can be heard. Photo-exhibitions, films, speakers and workshops examine issues ranging from energy use to tree plantations to the World Bank, the G8, carbon trading, nuclear power and genetic engineering.... all free to the public, of course.

Upcoming events

Daily, through Wednesday, 7th Dec., 1-7pm.


FILM - Raised Voices: filmed testimonies of those living on the fenceline of the oil industry and views from people in the global South on issues related to climate change.

PHOTO-EXHIBITION - Where the Trees are a Desert on the impacts of monoculture eucalyptus plantations in Brazil.



MONDAY & TUESDAY 5 & 6TH DEC: ALL DAY FROM 9AM
ALTERNATIVE PEOPLE’S FORUM
Workshops by environmental justice activists and indigenous peoples groups. Topics include; Climate Justice Overview > Global Warming Solutions that ensure a Just Transition > Oil, Refineries, and Communities: Impacts and strategies for clean production > Indigenous Peoples Offer Viable Solutions to Reduce Carbon Emissions: Wind not War > The Global Warming Games > Climate Justice by and for the next generation > Lessons learned from Katrina and Rita > State and regional strategies for climate justice. Times to be confirmed. Organized by the Environmental Justice Climate Change Initiative

WEDNESDAY 8TH DEC: 2-4PM
PANEL - GE Trees, Carbon offset plantations and global warming. Genetically engineered trees are being touted as part of way to solve global warming. Far from a miracle solution, however, genetically engineered trees have the potential to exacerbate global warming. The contamination of native forests with engineered traits will damaged these ecosystems, accelerating tree mortality. Additionally, plantations are rapidly replacing native forests, diminishing the carbon sequestering potential of the land. Global Justice Ecology Project and the STOP GE Trees Campaign will discuss the details of this flawed approach to addressing the climate crisis.Speakers: Anne Petermann (Global Justice Ecology Project, US) and STOP GE Trees Campaign

Des efforts seront faits de fournir la traduction française quand necessaries


by: ProfMKD @ 4:19 AM | 0 comments links to this post

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