Norway’s failed REDD experiment in Tanzania

Norway launched REDD in Tanzania in 2008, with a promise to fund US$83 million over a five year period. But in a recent article in Development Today, Jens Friis Lund, Mathew Bukhi Mabele and Susanne Koch argue that Norway’s involvement in REDD in Tanzania “failed to produce models that work”.

Lund, Mabele and Koch write that,

Norway’s effort has therefore not only wasted time and resources. It also represents a lost opportunity for forests and people in Tanzania. The reason, we believe, is that Norway fell into a common donor trap, disregarding on-going processes and setting up parallel structures that had to start from scratch.

In October 2016, REDD-Monitor wrote about a paper titled “Promising Change, Delivering Continuity: REDD+ as Conservation Fad”, published in World Development. Lund and Mabele were two of the authors of the paper, which argues that,

REDD+ represents a promise of change that is carefully managed to ensure a balance between discursive change and continuity in practice that allow certain actors within the development and conservation industry to tap into financial resources.

Susanne Koch, the third author of the Development Today piece, is the Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy of the Technical University of Munich. She has a forthcoming paper in Forest Policy and Economics titled, “International influence on forest governance in Tanzania: Analysing the role of aid experts in the REDD+ process”.

“Forest governance in many African countries is characterised by a blatant gap between policy and implementation,” Koch writes. But rather than explaining away this gap with arguments about not enough aid money or capacity weaknesses, Koch focusses aid as a cause of implementation failure.

Undermining democracy

The paper illustrates how donor experts use their position of power to push the latest “conservation fads” on governments of the Global South. Meanwhile, governments on the receiving end, as well as civil society and academia, use their international “partners” to pursue their own ends.

Although aid agencies have formally abandoned aid conditionality and don’t set priorities there is still “a persistent element of coercion conveyed by ‘advice’ which permits experts to enforce policy decisions without explicitly demanding them”, Koch writes.

This form of neo-colonial external influence undermines the legitimacy of democratic governments.

The research included interviews between 2012 and 2013 with government decision-makers and bureaucrats, representatives and technical staff of international agencies and an academic working in the field. Some of the most interesting parts of the paper are quotations from these interviews.

A Norwegian embassy official explained why Norway was interested in REDD in Tanzania:

Tanzania was already chosen as one of the countries that we wanted to try this out. And why Tanzania was chosen was because we wanted to have African countries and also wanted to have countries with dry forests (…). So very early the embassy here, the ambassador started dialogue with the government in this country to see if there was an interest. And it was.

REDD and carbon trading

While at first glance, the REDD process in Tanzania appeared to be participatory, Koch quotes from a 2014 evaluation, which found that,

the consultations have been of quite a general nature seeking to promote REDD+ rather than having more focused thematic consultations with different affected target groups, where actual critical inputs to the REDD+ Strategy process could have been collected. Moreover, much of the country-wide processes for the Strategy have been heavily focused on local government staff with few NGO participants and with no real representation of forest dependent communities and indigenous peoples organisations.

The main parties involved in REDD discussions were donors, the government, and NGOs.

A discussion about financial flows highlights some of the problems. The government preferred a central government-controlled trust fund. NGOs preferred a nested approach, arguing that linking local foresters with international carbon markets, would “provide a stronger incentive” and “ensure communities are rewarded for their individual efforts to reduce deforestation on lands under their control”.

As Koch points out, it would also allow NGOs to play a greater role in the REDD regime, particularly as brokers of carbon credits.

Norway did not officially take sides in this discussion. But Norway’s experts criticised the emphasis on a Trust Fund in the draft REDD+ Strategy for Tanzania, along with calls for more stakeholder engagement of civil society and the private sector, and social, environmental and governance safeguards.

As a Tanzanian government official pointed out,

Donors are part and parcel of the REDD development process, globally and nationally. And their comments at one particular point of time have to be considered (…). Because finally you don’t need to produce something which will be one-sided. REDD is not a one-sided business. We are talking of selling carbon and where are the markets for carbon? They are not in Tanzania.

REDD is a dangerous distraction

In their article for Development Today, Lund, Mabele and Koch conclude that,

[W]hile the intensive and widely shared enthusiasm about the REDD+ experiment in Tanzania has evaporated, the thorny problem of climate mitigation which REDD+ was supposed to address remains. Norway’s many millions have not done much to address that problem. Rather, as Chris Lang put it more than two years ago in these pages, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative looks increasingly like a distraction from the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Exactly. And the fact that Norway’s greenhouse gases increased by 1.1% in 2015, and have increased 4.2% since 1990, only reinforces this argument. Norway’s emissions from oil and gas have increased by 83% since 1990.


PHOTO Credit: “Article about corruption in Norwegian funded REDD project in Tanzania”, focali.se.

A Snapshot of No REDD! at COP21 Paris

While REDD is edging its way into the Paris Outcome, a series of protests and statements against REDD have taken place at the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris. Here’s a round-up, with photographs, of some of the No REDD! activities in Paris over the past two weeks.

A crime against humanity

On 30 November 2015, the Indigenous Environmental Network put out a press release under the headline: “UN Paris Accord could end up being a Crime against Humanity and Mother Earth”. REDD is one of the false solutions targetted in the press release.

Nnimmo Bassey, co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network, says,

“REDD may result in the largest land grab in history. It steals your future, lets polluters off the hook and is new form of colonialism. We demand that states and corporations stop privatizing nature!”

It’s a (No REDD) rap

Jendog Lonewolf produced a No REDD video:

Here’s what she says on her website about the video:

Jendog Lonewolf’s “No REDD” video, in conjunction with Indigenous Rising and the Indigenous Environmental Network critiques the UN’s REDD program that works as a poison pretending to be cure– destroying the biodiversity, forests, and local economies it feigns to protect. Through carbon credits, the program allows corporations to pollute even more while land grabbing and violently keeping Indigenous Peoples from their lands.

Against the REDD-ification of Africa

At a side-event in Paris, the No-REDD in Africa released a book titled, “Stopping the Continent Grab and the REDD-ification of Africa”. You can download the book here.

This publication by the No REDD in Africa Network aims to demystify REDD and REDD-type projects, and all their variants, and show them for what they are: unjust mechanisms designed to usher in a new phase of colonization of the African continent. From examples presented, it is clear that the REDD mechanism is a scam and the polluters know that they are buying the “right” to pollute.

California’s governor heckled

California’s governor Jerry Brown was heckled at the end of a speech in Paris. Protesters chanted “No REDD!”. As he left, Brown told the protesters, “I agree with you.”

No REDD protest at Solutions 21 Concert

The Indigenous Environmental Network staged an action in coordination with Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuhat the corporate funded Solutions 21 Concert. For his last song, Xiuhtezcatl invited representatives of the Global Grassroots Justice Alliance and the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Indigenous Rising to the stage, where they made a statement against fracking and REDD.

Xiuhtezcatl says,

“I am standing in solidarity with the front lines communities affected by fossil fuel extraction, as an indigenous youth representing the generation most affected by climate change. I strongly stand against false solutions such as fracking, carbon trading and REDD.”

REDD is a disaster for the environment

Friends of the Earth International, Global Alliance against REDD, Indigenous Environmental Network, Grassroots Global Justice, No REDD+ in Africa Network held a protest outside the conference centre.

Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International Forest and Biodiversity Program Coordinator, describes REDD as a disaster for the environment:

“Forests are not simply groups of trees and inert materials that can be reduced to ‘carbon stocks,’ commodities that can be traded on stock exchanges and markets. REDD could also create adverse incentives for deforestation. As REDD offset credits are only supposed to be generated when deforestation or forest degradation has been avoided, governments and corporations are supposed to demonstrate that, at a given time, they were planning to log or clear certain areas of forest. It is thus in their interest to be able to maintain high levels of planned deforestation.”

 

REDD is a contradiction and violation of the sacred

And finally, the Indigenous Environmental Network held a press conference, which you can read about on REDD-Monitor here.

Indigenous Peoples: UN Paris Accord could end up being a Crime against Humanity and Mother Earth

Indigenous Peoples:
UN Paris Accord could end up being a Crime against Humanity and Mother Earth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts:
Dallas Goldtooth +33 75 1413 823 USA: 708 515 6158 dallas@ienearth.org
Kandi Mossett +33 75 1414 195 mhawea@gmail.comNovember 30, 2015 (Paris) – Indigenous Peoples from the Americas attending the United Nations World Climate Summit in Paris warn that the Paris climate accord will harm their rights, lands and environment and do nothing to address climate change.“We are here in Paris to tell the world that not only will the anticipated Paris Accord not address climate change, it will make it worst because it will promote false solutions and not keep fossil fuels from being extracted and burned. The Paris COP21 is not about reaching a legally binding agreement on cutting greenhouse gases. In fact, the Paris Accord may turn out to be a crime against humanity and Mother Earth,” according to Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network based in Minnesota on Turtle Island also known as the United States. Goldtooth recently won the Gandhi Peace Award.

According to Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Alberta, Canada “After 21 years of these climate conferences, our First Nation wants to be hopeful this agreement truly stops a history of CO2lonialism and business-as-usual with expansion of fossil fuel exploitation on and near indigenous territories. We are here to protect, defend and renew our Mother Earth, not to rubber stamp an agreement that allows polluters to continue to burn the planet. False solutions such as carbon trading, carbon offsets, agrofuels and nuclear energy will probably be the basis of the Paris Accord and the so-called decarbonization of the global economy. False solutions to climate change instead of solving the climate crisis, are resulting in land grabs, human rights violations and will allow global warming to spiral out of control.” Lameman is featured in the film, “This Changes Everything” directed by Avi Lewis and based on the book by Naomi Klein.

Indigenous leaders throughout the world are particularly concerned about REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), a United Nations carbon offset mechanism that uses forests, agriculture and many other ecosystems as sponges for northern industrialized countries pollution instead of reducing emissions at source.

“Our world is melting. Climate change and global warming is a reality in my home,” says Allison Akootchook Warden from Kaktovik, a village in the Alaska arctic. “The failure of the United States, Canada and world leaders to take real action to address the climate crisis violates our rights. The draft Paris Accord is full of carbon market mechanisms that are already causing harm to the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic Circle.”

Kandi Mossett, Tribal Citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nations in North Dakota and campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network, whose home is surrounded by coal-fired power plants and inundated with fracking and flaring of natural gas states, “The current US Clean Power Plan allows the US to continue with carbon trading schemes such as REDD+ designed to allow more extraction and combustion of fossil fuels for a profit.  The whole concept is a false solution to the climate crisis because it allows the US to buy up “carbon credits” often on Indigenous lands in other countries while simultaneously destroying Indigenous homelands in the US essentially making us sacrifice zones for the good of the economy; Indigenous peoples are not expendable and will not sit idly by and allow this desecration to continue without a fight.”

According to the Global Alliance against REDD, “Instead of cutting CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, the UN, the US, the EU, China, Norway and climate criminals like BP, Total, Shell, Chevron, Air France and BHP Billiton are pushing a false solution to climate change called REDD.”

According to Nnimmo Bassey, co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network, “REDD may result in the largest land grab in history. It steals your future, lets polluters off the hook and is new form of colonialism. We demand that states and corporations stop privatizing nature!”

###

Here are some photos of the It Takes Roots Delegation in the Human Chain Action on November 29th in Paris.

REDD and carbon trading will not resolve the climate crisis

 By Chris Lang 14 November 2015

Attac Gabon and Grain recently put out a statementopposing REDD and carbon trading as a way of addressing climate change. The statement is posted here in full in English and French.

GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems

Attac Gabon is the Gabonese branch of Attac, an international movement working towards social, environmental and democratic alternatives in the globalization process.

REDD and carbon trading will not resolve the climate crisis

Attac Gabon and GRAIN

As with other mechanisms supported by “world climate governance”, we doubted from the beginning that the Reduction of Emissions caused by Deforestation and the Degradation of Forests (REDD) mechanism would be likely to resolve the global climate crisis, ever since it was introduced in discussions on climate change. Now more than ever, the hidden face of this mechanism is revealed with the new market mechanism that is being devised and that may be adopted at the COP 21 in Paris in December 2015. The ground is a good place to sequester carbon, and speculators, businesses and multinationals see a great opportunity to make money and increase their profits. This time, real damage can be done. Very serious damage, because this time, the stakes are high; agriculture has become another target of the carbon trade.

Agriculture, which has been relegated to a minor role in these negotiations on climate change for some years, has reappeared, obviously not to the advantage of the people but to benefit the carbon trade and the world financial system. A few welcome the renewed focus, but it poses a problem for the rest of us.

The great majority of the preparatory proposal documents for REDD (commonly called R-PP) being worked out in Africa single out agriculture as the principal driver of deforestation, being careful not to point out that it is industrial agriculture with its focus on productivity and intensive use of chemical products which is the cause, to the detriment of small farms which have for decades always known how to respect the climate and protect the environment.

These accusations, which are intended to once again place the responsibility on one sector in order to better apply measures of “sanctification” through carbon trade competition, are simply criminal, all the more so considering the historic role and responsibilities of native peoples in the conservation of ecosystems through their traditional practices that respect the environment.

So the food system that generates between 44% and 57% of greenhouse gases (GHG), and which could be the sector through which we reduce a good part of emissions and cool the planet, becomes the sector through which most business can be done.[1] As we know, farmland has the capacity to store carbon and to contribute to cooling the planet. As a result, it becomes worthy of interest and every effort is now made so that agriculture, long neglected, can be brought back into the negotiations and take its place as a “major contributor” in decreasing emissions.

In Paris, this hostage-taking that results in agriculture finding itself unable to fulfil its role of feeding the planet but instead relegated to a purely commercial role through the carbon trade, will become clearer and the world will legitimize a system that, as we know very well, will not solve the problem of climate change.

REDD will be firmly integrated into the carbon trade, endorsed by all to the detriment of agriculture.

Thanks to the carbon trade and to the new measures which may be implemented, REDD+ will commercialize forest carbon and, henceforth, carbon tenure. This new carbon tenure market, a new market-based mechanism, will accentuate land-grabbing and put communities at risk and drive them into extreme poverty. Just as the carbon trade has never been for the benefit of communities and peoples, this new carbon tenure trade will not be a market to support communities but one to enrich multinationals and elites, including African ones, through speculation, carbon sale, promoting flawed technologies for reducing greenhouse gas, and intellectual property rights.

Speculation has never been in the interest of the people, and we can soon expect to see the damage resulting from the battle that the multinationals will engage in on the African continent. As the African saying goes, “When elephants fight, it’s the grass that pays the price”, and the farmers, herdsmen and other African producers must not be allowed to become the grass trod upon by neoliberal interests.

Another very real fact, and one which clearly shows that REDD+ will not be the solution for communities and the people, is the participation of international financial institutions, led by the World Bank, in virtually all REDD+ pilot projects in Africa at the current time.. These institutions, which are far from being philanthropic, are permanently in attendance and “facilitate” processes. Thus we find the World Bank very much in evidence as project partner for COMIFAC (Commission of Forests of Central Africa) in the Congo Basin, or the French Development Agency (AFD), which, through the Debt Relief and Development Agreement (C2D), a debt refinancing mechanism, provides financial aid to the Ivory Coast, subject to conditions, of course, such as the presence and use of French “expertise”.

REDD+ will therefore not contribute to reducing GHG, because it wavers not only when it comes to institutional decisions, but also where strategy and operational methods are concerned, thus aggravating the basic socio-economic problems of grass-roots communities.

Mainly held at the mercy of ministerial structures lacking real power over crucial issues such as land rights and common law, REDD+ is headed for the wall, for protest from marginalized communities which, instead and in place of being consulted, are invited to informational meetings and confronted with done deals.

It is therefore still an illusion to think that REDD+ can defend the rights of communities and farmers and furnish a real framework for dialog with members of local civil society. Instead, it will reinforce its “marriage” to the private sector and the banks. So it is important to protest against this flawed solution and to establish a balance of power in order to achieve real social justice and put an end to inequality.

Translated by Caty Green, Coorditrad


[1] See La Via Campesina and GRAIN, “Food sovereignty: Five steps to cool the planet and feed its people”, December 2014.

La REDD+ et sa finance carbone ne résoudront pas la crise climatique

ATTAC Gabon et GRAIN

A l’instar d’autres mécanismes plébiscités par la « gouvernance climatique mondiale », nous doutions depuis le début de la possibilité du mécanisme Réduction des Emissions provenant de la Déforestation et de la Dégradation des forets (REDD) à résoudre la crise climatique mondiale depuis son intrusion dans les débats sur les changements climatiques. Aujourd’hui plus que jamais la face cachée de ce mécanisme apparait avec le nouveau mécanisme de marché qui est en train de se concocter et qui risque d’être adopté à la COP 21 de Paris en Décembre 2015. Le sol est un bon puits carbone et les spéculateurs, les businessmen et les multinationales y voient une belle occasion de se faire de l’argent, d’augmenter leurs chiffres d’affaires. Et cette fois ci cela risque de faire mal comme on le dit. Très mal même car cette fois l’enjeu est de taille et l’agriculture est aussi la cible de ce commerce carbone.

L’agriculture qui pourtant avait bien été reléguée depuis plusieurs années à un rôle minimal dans ces négociations sur les changements climatiques est donc de retour mais visiblement contre les populations et pour le bonheur de la finance carbone et du système financier mondial. Un retour applaudi par certains mais qui pour nous pose problème.

La grande majorité des documents de proposition de préparation à la REDD (communément appelé R-PP) en élaboration en Afrique pointe l’agriculture comme le moteur principal de la déforestation, se gardant bien de préciser que c’est l’agriculture industrielle avec son modèle productiviste et son utilisation intensif de produits chimiques qui l’est, au détriment de l’agriculture paysanne qui a toujours su au fil des décennies prendre soin du climat et protéger l’environnement.

Ces accusations, dont l’objectif est encore une fois de rendre responsable un secteur afin de mieux lui appliquer des mesures de « sanctification » avec le concours de la finance carbone sont simplement criminelles d’autant plus si l’on considère le rôle historique et les responsabilités des peuples autochtones dans la conservation des écosystèmes à travers leurs pratiques traditionnelles respectueuses de l’environnement.

Alors que le système alimentaire qui génère entre 44 et 57% des émissions de Gaz à Effet de Serre (GES) et pourrait être le secteur par lequel l’on réduit une bonne part des émissions et refroidisse la planète, il devient le secteur par lequel le plus de business se fera.[1] Les terres agricoles comme on le sait, possèdent cette capacité de stocker le carbone et de contribuer au refroidissement de la planète. Du coup, elles deviennent dignes d’intérêt et tout est maintenant mis en œuvre afin que l’agriculture qui avait été longtemps négligé puisse revenir dans les négociations et prendre la place de ‘’grande contributrice ‘’ à l’atténuation.

A Paris cette prise en otage qui fait que l’agriculture se retrouve aujourd’hui empêcher de jouer le rôle de nourrir la planète mais se retrouve aujourd’hui dans une perspective purement commerciale à travers la finance carbone va se faire plus claire et le monde va légitimer un système que nous savons bien ne résoudra pas les changements climatiques.

La REDD sera bien installée dans le marché carbone et elle aura la caution de tous pour « braquer » l’agriculture.

La REDD+ grâce au marché carbone et aux nouvelles dispositions qui risquent d’être mises en place va commercialiser le carbone forestier et dorénavant le carbone foncier. Ce nouveau marché carbone foncier qui est un nouveau mécanisme de marché viendra accentuer les accaparements de terres et conduire les communautés à la précarité et à l’extrême pauvreté. Comme le marché carbone n’a jamais été pour le bien-être des communautés et des populations, ce nouveau marché carbone foncier ne sera pas un marché pour aider les communautés mais un marché pour enrichir les multinationales et élites, y compris africaines, à travers des outils comme la spéculation, la vente du carbone, la promotion des fausses technologies de réduction de Gaz à effet de serre, les Droits de Propriété Intellectuel.

La spéculation n’ayant jamais été du côté des peuples, il faut s’attendre à des dégâts bientôt dans les combats que les multinationales vont se livrer sur le continent Africain. Comme le dit ce dicton Africain : « quand des éléphants se battent, ce sont les herbes qui paient le prix » et les paysans, éleveurs et autres producteurs africains ne devrait pas être cette herbe devant les intérêts du néolibéralisme.

Une autre réalité bien présente et qui montre clairement que la REDD ne sera pas la solution des communautés, la solution du peuple est qu’en ce moment en Afrique la quasi-totalité des projets pilotes REDD+ voient la présence des Institutions Financières Internationales avec la Banque mondiale en tête. Ces institutions qui sont loin d’être des philanthropes sont permanemment présentes et « facilitent » les processus. Ainsi on retrouve très clairement la Banque Mondiale comme agence d’exécution d’un projet de la COMIFAC (Commission des Forets d’Afrique Centrale) au niveau du Bassin du Congo, ou même l’AFD qui a travers le Contrat de Désendettement et de Développement (C2D), un mécanisme de refinancement de la dette soutien financièrement à la Cote d’Ivoire, mais bien évidement avec des conditionnalités comme la présence et l’utilisation « d’expertise » française.

La REDD ne sera donc pas cette contributrice à la réduction des GES car non seulement elle balbutie sur ses choix institutionnels, mais aussi sur sa stratégie et sur son mode opératoire tout en aggravant les problèmes socio-économiques des communautés à la base.

Etant confié pour une grande partie à la merci de structures ministérielles n’ayant pas de réels pouvoirs sur les questions essentielles comme le foncier, le droit coutumier, la REDD+ se dirige bien vers le mur, vers la contestation par les communautés marginalisées qui en lieu et place des séances de consultations reçoivent des séances de partages d’informations et sont mises devant le fait accompli.

Il demeure donc illusoire de continuer à penser que la REDD+ puisse défende les droits des communautés et les droits des paysans et fournir un vrai cadre de dialogue avec les acteurs des sociétés civiles locales. Elle va plutôt renforcer son « mariage » avec le secteur privé et les banques. Il importe donc de faire barrage à cette fausse solution et construire un rapport de force pour mettre en œuvre une véritable justice sociale et mettre fin aux inégalités.


[1] Voir La Via Campesina et GRAIN, “Souveraineté alimentaire: 5 étapes pour refroidir la planète et nourrir sa population”, décembre 2014.

The coming tragedy of Paris: A disastrous climate deal that will see the planet burn

Monday October 5th, 2015 | Originally Posted in Global Forest Coalition

DSC_9908

By: Mary Louise Malig*

Like reading the ancient Greek tragedy of Homer, we are at the pages of the Iliad where we can see what hell ahead shall befall Troy. We are now in that exact moment, seeing in the horizon the fires that will burn for ten years. However, we are not looking in the horizon of the ill-fated Trojans, but rather, we are looking at the future of humanity, nature and the planet.

There are only 5 negotiating days left before the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). From October 19-23, 2015, the UNFCCC is supposed to hammer out the modalities of the Paris deal. At this point, we should have a good sense of what the Paris deal will be. After all, since the COP17 in Durban, South Africa, where the mandate to draft a new climate agreement until 2030 was adopted, there have already been a total of 85 negotiating days, a carbon filled amount of flights for 193 parties to the convention, and at the wayside thousands of dead and displaced from destructively intense typhoons, hurricanes, floods or droughts. In the Philippines alone, the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall, Typhoon Haiyan, killed 6,000 and left thousands more homeless and without livelihood.

However, at this point, there is no agreed text yet for a Paris deal. Instead, there are a number of documents. First you have a “Co-Chairs Tool”(1) that lays out the possible scenario. At the last intersessional in Bonn in September, the co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) presented a tool for the negotiations that has three parts: The first part includes the issues that can be included in a potential Paris agreement, the second part those issues that will be listed in a decision and the third part includes those issues that need further negotiation and will neither be in the COP21 agreement nor decision. In the Co-Chairs tool, the elements of a Paris deal are clear: emission cuts will be voluntary, flexibility mechanisms will be continued, more market mechanisms will be proposed and accounting loopholes and techno-fixes will abound. Already, the term “net zero” emissions indicates an accounting trick because “net zero” is a term to mean you’ve balanced your accounting columns out. “Net zero” emissions therefore does not translate to zero emissions, which is what the climate urgently needs.

This week, the co-chairs of the ADP, Ahmed Djoghlaf of Algeria and Daniel Reifsnyder of the US, as mandated have produced, in addition to the Co-Chair’s Tool, a non-paper note by the Co-Chairs (2) in time for the coming intersessional in Bonn. There is certainly an element of Greek tragedy in the fact that one of the co-chairs is from one of the biggest emitters and the one who, as a matter of irony, never ratified the last climate protocol. The October 5, 2015 non-paper details a draft agreement and a draft decision for Paris. The Chairs have also issued a draft decision on workstream 2 or the pre-2020 ambition. (3) All these documents are still under negotiation.

Another critical reason as to why we know that Paris is going to be a deal that burns the planet, is that, as of writing, following the October 1 deadline of the UNFCCC, 119 submissions of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) have been made. This includes the 28 member states of the EU as 1. All major emitters are in these 119 submissions. These INDCs are the voluntary pledges of the countries on how much emissions they are targeting to reduce by 2030. (4) An issue of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development reporting on these submissions states, “although some estimates contend that the actions outlined thus far would result in a planetary warming of three degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, overshooting an international commitment by one degree.”(5) A recent study however by Stern etal, details that the reduction pledges from US, EU and China – who together account for 45 percent of global emissions will miss by almost double the 2030 target of 35 gigatons of CO2e emissions.(6) Emissions should be cut by 2030 to 35 gigatons of CO2e and with the current INDCs of the most important countries annual global emissions will be around 60 gigatons of CO2e in 2030.

AS IN THE ILIAD, TROY WILL BURN

This 2 degree target was internationally agreed on in 2007, after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fourth Assessment Report (7) which detailed that to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, that emissions had to be kept to below 2 degrees by 2020. It is now 2015, and the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report has come out to reiterate that danger and has even highlighted that “Many aspects of climate change and associated impacts will continue for centuries, even if anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are stopped. The risks of abrupt or irreversible changes increase as the magnitude of the warming increases.” (8) This means that the longer the delay in reducing emissions, the higher the danger that the feedback mechanism of the climate system will go beyond the 2 degree “safe” limit.

This is the heart of the problem of the Paris deal. The emission targets of the countries are not under negotiation. They are voluntary promises that they may or may not implement and may even use market mechanisms to cheat their way out of. Emissions need to be cut deeply, at source, without loopholes or market mechanisms, today, not 10 years from now. The decade lost waiting to reduce by 2030, will be a decade lost forever. The climate system does not work like the movies – where warming stops the moment the protagonist saves the day – the emissions put into the system now will burn well beyond 2030. There may not be a planet to “save” by 2030.

The whole process being captured by corporations especially by the fossil fuel and extractive industry – the main source of emissions – is most evident in the support of business as usual. In the entire 88 pages of the Co-Chair’s Tool, “fossil fuel” is only mentioned once and only to encourage governments to reduce or eliminate incentives for fossil fuel subsidies: “52 a. [Parties [are encouraged] to [take steps to] [reduce][eliminate] [international support][public incentives] [for][phase down] high-carbon investments[, [including][and] international fossil fuel subsidies];] {paras 102, 103 and 113 bis d. SCT}” (9)

In the statement of the Climate Space, it reiterates the demand of social movements for 80 percent of the fossil fuel reserves to be left underground in order to stay below the 2 degree limit. (10) And how will this demand be met if the sponsors of the COP21 are from fossil fuel and large carbon emitting corporations such as EDF, Engie, Air France, Renault-Nissan and BNP Paribas? (11)

THE TROJAN HORSE OF CARBON ACCOUNTING & CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE

In addition to not addressing the main sources of emissions, the climate agreement, since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, has allowed the use of market mechanisms. The creation of this carbon market has led to the massive cheating by Annex 1 countries (37 industrialized countries), escaping their legal commitment to cut emissions by at least 5 percent below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012. The Kyoto Protocol flexibility mechanism allowed Annex 1 countries to “offset” their emissions by doing “clean development” projects in developing countries or by buying and selling their carbon credits.

The Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD+) scheme, the final rules of which are supposed to be formally adopted in Paris, adds significantly to this cheating by allowing countries to present any kind of tree planting or protection as a contribution to mitigation, even when such activities are not additional or permanent, or when they trigger deforestation in other areas or countries or are otherwise environmentally or socially damaging. It allows countries to commodify or even sell their forests as carbon sinks, ignores the real drivers of forest loss, but blames indigenous peoples and small farmers for deforestation instead. As the NO-REDD in Africa Network has stated, “Reports show that deforestation and the related emissions continue, and that REDD+, instead of reducing them, is harming and vilifying forest-dependent communities and those who produce the majority of the world’s food – small scale farmers.” (12)

The belief in carbon markets as panacea extends to the proposed Paris agreement, with proposals on the inclusion of land use related emissions and emission reductions. Already a loophole by itself in the flawed accounting approaches it proposes, combined with market mechanisms, will create an entire new grab for land as it creates a REDD+ for agriculture and soils.

The impermanence of land in the first place, makes it a far more theoretical carbon sink for emissions compared to the very real continued burning of fossil fuels. More importantly, the logic of carbon accounting determining agricultural policy means that agriculture will prioritize the needs of the carbon market rather than feeding people and that of food sovereignty.

The World Bank and other transnational corporations (TNCs) in the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture are pushing for this Climate Smart Agriculture – a system that produces more food on less land, while being weather resistant and absorbing carbon. The production of more food on less land is clearly supported by corporations pushing the use of GM seeds. But it is the creation of a new market for soils and agriculture that poses the greatest attraction to TNCs. Just how the monetary incentive of REDD+ displaced Indigenous Peoples, the potential financial gains will displace small farmers and add further to the already existing land grab. As La Via Campesina, the world’s largest movement of small farmers states, “Climate smart agriculture will lead to further consolidation of land, pushing peasant and family farmers towards World Bank Projects, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other institutions, creating dependency on so-called new technologies through their complete packages that include prescriptions of “climate smart varieties”, inputs, and credit, while ignoring traditional tried and true adaptive farming techniques and stewardship of seed varieties in practice by farmers.” (13) It continues, “The possibility of big profits with investments in carbon credits generated from farmlands involved in climate smart agriculture projects will increase speculation in the carbon market, leading to further “carbon land grabs” by large-scale investors and producers, and the further displacement of peasant and smallholder farmers, just as REDD displaces indigenous people. Under this climate smart agriculture framework, there is little hope of reducing and removing greenhouse gases, trying to solve food insecurity or any significant rural economic and social development.” (14)

CHANGE THE STORY, CHANGE THE SYSTEM

This story does not need to end in tragedy. In fact, it is being challenged valiantly, everyday, with all the daily struggles being carried out by frontline communities, Indigenous Peoples, small farmers, women, workers, students, activists and heroes and heroines of Mother Nature. The future needs to be reclaimed, the system changed and peoples alternatives be pushed forward.

The draft Chairman proposals for the Paris deal: the agreement and the decision – need to be squarely rejected. The real danger of a bad deal is the fact that it will lock us into a permanent agreement of business as usual of burning the planet. The extreme hype around the Paris deal being desperately needed to “save the world” is scaremongering people into accepting a disastrously bad deal. Reminiscent of the days campaigning against the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Agenda, the call for no deal is better than a bad deal, rings true. No Paris deal is better than a bad and false Paris deal – exactly because just like the WTO Doha Development Agenda has locked the world into unfair trade rules on food and agriculture; will a false Paris Climate Agreement lock the world into a laissez faire regime of polluting as always, countries making cuts when they feel like it, manipulating accounting loopholes to cheat their way out of emissions cuts, and using and creating even more market mechanisms to commodify, financialize and profit from the remaining resources of the planet. If we are to make Paris about saving the planet, then it should be about rejecting the false deal that is on the table.

The original Climate Convention that was adopted in 1992 and ratified by practically every country in the world, including the US and other big polluters, is a rather generic but important agreement. It obliges countries to prevent dangerous climate change and is firmly based on the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. Ever since the Kyoto Protocol was established and introduced a cap and trade regime based on quantified accounting and flexibility mechanisms, the climate negotiations have moved nowhere but backwards. Legally binding commitments have turned into voluntary pledges, and then into intended nationally determined contributions. Common but differentiated responsibility has turned into a vague regime applicable to all parties, disregarding both historical accountability and responsibility of Annex 1 countries and the fact that those who have done the least are least responsible. The long-standing demand of real compensation for loss and damage has just been paid lip service with the acknowledgement of the impacts of climate change.

A no Paris deal scenario in December is not a disaster – it is an opportunity. It will create the space for a recuperation to the original goals of the climate convention to halt dangerous climate change by holding polluters to account. It would also create the space for community-driven solutions some of which are already in practice and are cooling the planet – from peasant agroecology and community-based sustainable energy solutions to community forest conservation. It would allow for alternative proposals such as holistic policies and measures that are not centered on carbon accounting and markets. It will give space for transformative measures to be implemented to accomplish the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals including the historical zero deforestation by 2020 target. There are many more alternatives and proposals that can be given space for – rights of nature, climate jobs, “buen vivir”, food sovereignty, degrowth, deglobalization, and many more.

A world without a Paris deal is not only possible, it is necessary if we are to avoid tragedy. There are no limits to the alternatives.

*Mary Louise Malig, a researcher and trade analyst, is Campaigns Coordinator of the Global Forest Coalition.

 

ENDNOTES

(1) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/adp2/eng/4infnot.pdf
(2) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/adp2/eng/8infnot.pdf
(3) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/adp2/eng/9infnot.pdf
(4) http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/indc/Submission%20Pages/submissions.aspx
(5) http://www.ictsd.org/bridges-news/biores/news/un-members-adopt-post-2015-development-agenda-prepare-climate-talks
(6)http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Boyd_et_al_policy_paper_May_2015.pdf
(7) https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_synthesis_report.htm
(8) https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/
(9) http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/adp2/eng/4infnot.pdf
(10) https://climatespace2013.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/fight-for-system-change-now-why-we-need-to-build-alternatives-and-dismantle-a-process-that-will-lock-us-into-another-decade-of-burning-the-planet/
(11) http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/29/paris-climate-summit-sponsors-include-fossil-fuel-firms-and-big-carbon-emitters
(12) http://www.no-redd-africa.org/index.php/declarations/147-durban-declaration-on-redd
(13) http://viacampesina.org/en/index.php/main-issues-mainmenu-27/sustainable-peasants-agriculture-mainmenu-42/1670-un-masking-climate-smart-agriculture
(14) ibid

 

 

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Durban Declaration on REDD: “Stop the disastrous REDD+ experiment”

Stop the disastrous REDD+ experiment!

 

We are united to oppose and reject the commodification, privatization and plunder of Nature, which include REDD+ and other market-based mechanisms including biodiversity and conservation offsets that put profit above the well being of humanity and the planet.

 

Sign the declaration and join us today!

Durban Declaration on REDD

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Durban Declaration on REDD 2015

Durban Declaration on REDDYesterday, activists in Durban, South Africa launched the Durban Declaration on REDD. The Declaration opposes REDD, and rejects the “commodification, privatisation and plunder of Nature”.

The Declaration was launched at an event organised under the Civil Society Alternative Programme, which runs parallel to the World Forestry Congress, also taking place this week in Durban.

Renowned environmental and social activist Nnimmo Bassey, co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network, explained why he opposes REDD:

“All forms of REDD amount to two things: licensing polluters to keep polluting and grabbing lands and other resources from forest and peasant communities. REDD+ started as land grab, in Africa it is becoming a continent grab and if not checked it will turn into a planet grab.”

On the panel with Bassey was Anabela Lemos of Justiça Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique. She said that,

“Both the World Forestry Congress and the United Nations want to use REDD to grab Africa as a sponge for Northern industrialized countries’ pollution, instead of cutting emissions at source. Mozambique is already struggling with land-grabbing and human rights violations, REDD is going to exacerbate those problems and create more poverty. Already a third of Mozambique has been targeted for REDD.”

Durban Declaration on REDD

The Durban Declaration on REDD

September 2015

We, local communities, peasants movements, Indigenous Peoples and civil society organizations from Africa and all over the world, call upon the United Nations, the World Forestry Congress, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank and states to reject top-down forms of development, including false solutions to climate change and forest and biodiversity conservation that only serve the dominant market economy.

We are united to oppose and reject the commodification, privatisation and plunder of Nature, which include REDD+[1] and other market-based mechanisms including biodiversity and conservation offsets that put profit above the wellbeing of humanity and the planet.

These mechanisms include the “financialization of nature,” which commodifies, separates and quantifies the Earth’s cycles and functions of carbon, water, forest, fauna and biodiversity – turning them into “units” to be sold in financial and speculative markets. However, Mother Earth is the source of Life, which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a ‘natural capital.’

REDD+ is also the pillar of the Green Economy. REDD+ is being misleadingly billed as saving the world’s forests and climate and is the anticipated main outcome of the UN’s Paris Accord on climate change in December 2015. In addition, REDD+ is a false solution to climate change that is already including forests, plantations and agriculture in the carbon Reports show that deforestation and the related emissions continue, and that REDD+, instead of reducing them, is harming and vilifying forest-dependent communities and those who produce the majority of the world’s food – small scale farmers. Furthermore,

    • REDD+ promotes monoculture tree plantations and genetically modified trees

 

    • REDD+ increases land grabs and human rights violations

 

    • REDD+ restricts access to forests, threatening livelihoods and cultural practices

 

    • REDD+ causes violence against peasants, Indigenous Peoples, women and forest-dwelling communities

 

    • REDD+ is combined with other offsets including payment for environmental services (PES)

 

    • REDD+ imposes market driven neo-liberalism on forests, which undermines and monetizes community conservation and social/cultural processes and creates inequalities

 

  • REDD+ projects tend to force subsistence communities into the cash economy and exploitative wage-labor

REDD+ hinders and prevents much needed policies that support endogenous, bio-cultural approaches to biodiversity conservation and restoration.

Therefore, we join with the No REDD in Africa Network and the Global Alliance against REDD to demand that governments, the United Nations and financial institutions stop the disastrous REDD+ experiment and finally start addressing the underlying causes of forest loss and climate change!

Put forward by the No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN) and the Global Alliance Against REDD, with endorsement and support by the following. To be presented to the World Forestry Congress 2015, the UNFCCC COP21 and beyond:

No REDD in Africa Network
Global Alliance Against REDD
Indigenous Environmental Network
JA!/Justica Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique
All India Forum of Forest Movements/India
CENSAT Agua Viva – Friends of the Earth Colombia
Womin (Womens on Mining)
Foundation Help/Tanzania
Centre from Civil Society/University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
Democratic Left Front


[1] REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a global initiative to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests and all other ecosystems to compensate governments and companies or owners of forests and agriculture in developing countries not to cut their forests or to reduce their rate of deforestation and forest degradation as a market mechanism to avoid GHG emissions. REDD+ expands REDD to develop methods for carbon sequestration through conservation of forest (and wetlands, agricultural systems) carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

 


PHOTO Credit: Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project.

Africans to UN and loggers: Hands off our forests!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Durban, Sept.8, 2015 – Loggers and the United Nations want to grab African forests for REDD+, which promotes monoculture plantations and genetically modified trees and violates human rights, denounced the No REDD in Africa Network at the World Forestry Congress held in Durban, South Africa.

“Hands off Africa! Loggers go home! No REDD!” activists from the Civil Society Alternative Space chanted outside the World Forestry Congress. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a carbon offset mechanism that is a false solution to climate change and the pillar of the Green Economy, the privatization of Nature and the upcoming Paris Accord of the UN climate convention.

“All forms of REDD amount to two things: licensing polluters to keep polluting and grabbing lands and other resources from forest and peasant communities. REDD+ started as land grab, in Africa it is becoming a continent grab and if not checked it will turn into a planet grab,” Nnimmo Bassey, renown Nigerian environmentalist and co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network.

“Stop the disastrous REDD+ experiment!” demand the No REDD in Africa Network, the Global Alliance against REDD and over 65 organizations from all over the world, who signed the Durban Declaration on REDD.

REDD-type projects in Africa have resulted in violent evictions, threats to cultural survival, multi-generational carbon slavery and constitutes neocolonialism, according to the Worse REDD-type Projects in Africa, a compilation of the Network.

Anabela Lemos of Justiça Ambiental –Friends of the Earth Mozambique explains that “both the World Forestry Congress and the United Nations want to use REDD to grab Africa as a sponge for Northern industrialized countries pollution, instead of cutting emissions at source. Mozambique is already struggling with land-grabbing and human rights violations, REDD is going to exacerbate those problems and create more poverty. Already a third of Mozambique has been targeted for REDD.”

Ruth Nyambura, a political ecologist and eco-feminist from Kenya, has analyzed the official narrative to promote REDD. “REDD  de-centers critiques of the extractivist economic policies, and weaves a narrative that not only allows the scape-goating of communities at the frontlines of the impacts of the climate crises, but also requires that they adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change using the same framework of markets, which caused the crises in the first place.”

Contacts

Nnimmo Bassey  +234 803 727 4395 nnimmo@homef.org  (English)

Ruth Nyambura +27 78 575 2106 africanecofeminist@gmail.com (English, Swahili)

Anabela Lemos + 258 82 332 5803 anabela.ja.moz@gmail.com  (English, Portuguese)

Call to Action to reject REDD and extractive industries

Originally posted on Aug 10, 2015 in World Rainforest Movement

NO-REDD_OOnce again, the world’s governments will meet at the end of this year within the United Nations convention framework to supposedly deal with the real and tangible problem of climate change. However, the agenda of the climate negotiations – mainly driven by governments of industrialized countries and corporate lobbying groups – follows the mantra of capital accumulation, which in terms of climate change it is translated in the carbon market. This mantra has led to a further increase of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and environmental destruction in general. This growing destruction is “accepted” and even promoted, as long as it is “offset” by a project elsewhere. It is primarily traditional, forest-dependent peoples who suffer the consequences; not only with the impacts of severe droughts, floods and many other changes in the climate, but also through the plundering and looting of their territories, due to the expanded extraction legitimated by the carbon market. The last (public) draft of the climate agreement to be implemented post-2020, and which is expected to come out of the negotiations this year in Paris, France, opens the door wide to market mechanisms such as REDD at a global scale (1).

What does this mean?

Carbon market mechanisms such as REDD have allowed the continuation, legitimization and intensification of destructive activities such as mining, oil, gas and coal, monoculture plantations, agribusiness, among others. This extractive model has resulted in dispossession, violence, criminalization, destruction and loss for hundreds of communities worldwide, and with them, their cultures, spirituality, knowledge, autonomy and control over their lives and territories (2). How can we speak of a mechanism that seeks to “stop deforestation” or “benefit forest peoples” when the underlying logic is to expand industrial scale extraction? Despite all the propaganda and speeches created to make us believe that REDD is a “viable solution”, experience teaches us that what it is really seeking is to maintain an economy of capital accumulation which controls more territories and fills the pockets of just a few (3).

In this context, in December 2014, in the run-up to the climate negotiations that were held in Lima, Peru, over 150 organizations and movements from around the world launched a Call to Action to reject REDD and extractive industries, to curb capitalism and defend lives and territories (4). The Call stated that “One of the fundamental pillars of the new global capitalism is ‘environmental services’. This involves the further financialization and commodification of nature, and signifies subjugating it to capital. The carbon market, biodiversity offsets and water markets are part of this kind of capitalism.” And adds that “With REDD+, forests’ and soils’ capacity to absorb carbon and retain it, and plants’ capacity to grow, photosynthesize, conserve water, grow and generate biodiversity are being quantified, monetized, appropriated, privatized and financialized, just as with any other commodity. The ‘environmental services’ trade also fuels the impunity of polluters and destroyers: instead of complying with laws that prohibit polluting and deforestation, they can ‘compensate’ for these ills. This trade also diverts attention from combatting climate change, as it does not address the cause.”

An important step in this Call was to clearly articulate the criticism of REDD with its implications in the expansion of the extractive model, as its proponents constantly use a discourse of “local participation,” “improving forest management,” “improving living conditions and development of local populations” and even “implementing territorial rights”. Nevertheless, as stated in the Call,“Corporations like Shell Oil or Rio Tinto mining corporation; tree plantations and pulp and paper producers like Green Resources and Suzano; agribusiness firms like Wilmar, Monsanto and Bunge; multilateral agencies like the UNDP and FAO; conservation transnationals like Wildlife Works, WWF, The Nature Conservancy or Conservation International; consulting firms, public and private banks and many governments elaborate, support and fund REDD+ (…) These mechanisms undermine the real solutions to climate change, as they serve as a distraction from changes to the modes of production and consumption and towards economies and societies that are free from fossil fuels”

However, the pro-carbon market and REDD campaign intensifies as we approach the negotiations this year, where an agreement on REDD is expected to be reached, disregarding the evidence gathered about the harmful impacts of this mechanism. “Climate negotiations, which are increasingly controlled by corporate power, do not try to save the climate, nor protect forests and soils, eradicate poverty or respect indigenous peoples’ rights. On the contrary, they cravenly protect predatory corporations and reinforce a destructive and patriarchal model.”

Therefore, we once again denounce that the decisions to move forward with carbon markets and related mechanisms, taken in conference rooms by white-collar representatives, do not reflect the reality of peoples and forests, and much less reflect the urgent need to initiate a real transition away from an economic model thirsty for fossil fuels. To continue with the carbon market mantra would mean to continue with the imposition of destructive projects on those people who have defended their forests and territories for generations. We reiterate the request to organizations, social movements, groups and networks to join the Call to Action to strengthen the voices coming from the forests which teach us the true consequences of these mechanisms. To fight against REDD+ is also to fight capitalism!

You can join the Call here: http://wrm.org.uy/all-campaigns/to-reject-redd-and-extractive-industries-to-confront-capitalism-and-defend-life-and-territories/

  1. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/adp2/eng/4infnot.pdf
  2. See more information in: http://wrm.org.uy/browse-by-subject/mercantilization-of-nature/redd/
  3. See for example: http://wrm.org.uy/books-and-briefings/redd-a-collection-of-conflicts-contradictions-and-lies/
  4. http://wrm.org.uy/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Call-COP-Lima_NoREDD.pdf

Pope rejects carbon trading

In his recent encyclical “Laudato Si,” the Pope urges action on climate change and specifically criticizes the sale of “carbon credits.”
The Earth “is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her. We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorised to loot her.”
Buying and selling carbon credits, the Pope  wrote, “may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.”
Here’s the official translation of paragraph 171 of the encyclical:
The strategy of buying and selling “carbon credits” can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.
Since REDD is intrinsically linked to carbon trading, the Pope is also implicitly rejecting REDD.
The Vatican recently hosted governors and mayors from around the world to talk about climate change, including Governor Jerry Brown of California, a champion of cap-and-trade and REDD. We hope that the Pope challenged the Governor and made him see the light.
Both the Global Alliance against REDD and the No REDD in Africa have rejected California REDD.
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NO REDD in Africa Network opposes inclusion of REDD o…

On 22 April 2013, the No REDD in Africa Network sent a letter to Jerry Brown, Governor of California, opposing the inclusion of REDD offsets in California’s Global …
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Press Statement: Tom Goldtooth – Behind the backs of the…

San Francisco, Oct. 17 – Governor Jerry Brown of California was slated to receive the Blue Green Alliance’s Right Stuff award for environmentalism in San
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Will Paris save the climate? Of course it won’t

2015-07-09-124824_1037x1026_scrot“U.N. climate deal in Paris may be graveyard for 2C goal,” is the headline of a recent Reuters article, which points out that the chances of keeping global warming below 2°C are rapidly disappearing.

The article includes a quotation from Oliver Geden, of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs:

“It’s just not feasible. Two degrees is a focal point for the climate debate but it doesn’t seem to be a focal point for political action.”

Christine Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, disagrees. Reuters reports her as saying that new mechanisms for future rounds of pledges, perhaps in 2025 and 2030, can hit the 2°C mark. “You don’t run a marathon with one step,” Figueres comments.

It’s an interesting metaphor. Paris will be the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. That’s 21 years of negotiations. And, to paraphrase Figueres, you don’t run a marathon for 21 years.

It’s not surprising that Figueres argues that COP21 is just another step on the way towards addressing climate change. She knows that there will be no decision that comes out of Paris that will come anywhere near keeping emissions below 2°C. And it’s understandable that the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC doesn’t want to admit that the UNFCCC is failing abysmally.

But it is perhaps surprising to read that Joe Romm supports Figueres’ position. Romm is the Founding Editor of Climate Progress. He believes that action is urgently needed to address climate change. Yet in February 2015, he wrote,

“I don’t think one can call Paris a failure merely because it doesn’t create an agreement that would limit warming to 2°C, much as we ultimately need to keep to that limit.”

Romm recycled his article yesterday in response to the Reuters article.

Romm argues that it is impossible to get onto what Figueres calls “the 2°C pathway” in Paris, “without every major player agreeing to specific and serious post 2030 cuts, an outcome that was never on the table”.

This is crazy. Romm is a climate hawk who has worked tirelessly for action on climate change for many years. Yet his vision of success involves emissions reductions targets 15 years in the future. The fact that even targets way off in the future were never on the Paris table is a sure guarantee that the meeting will fail.

Romm compares the climate negotiations to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. His point is that the negotiations were difficult, the initial targets too weak, and it took a long time. But in the end, the Montreal Protocol.

The first problem with the comparison is that, as Romm acknowledges, reducing CFCs is a lot simpler than reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But the differences between the climate negotiations and the ozone negotiations are more interesting than the similarities. When the Montreal Protocol was negotiated, there wasn’t a massive, well-funded misinformation campaign attempting to sabotage any chance of a successful outcome.

The Montreal Protocol reduced CFC concentrations in the atmosphere by banning CFCs. There was no CFC trading programme in the Montreal Protocol.

And the meetings leading up to the Montreal Protocol were not sponsored by companies that manufacture CFCs. About 20% of the €170 million that COP21 will cost is to come from companies, including some serious polluters:

  • Électricité de France (EDF) runs coal-fired power stations. In 2013, EDF sued 21 climate activists who occupied its power station in Nottinghamshire in the UK for a week. EDF later dropped the £5 million lawsuit.
  • Engie (formerly GDF Suez) is a large energy company. It is planning a 1200 MW coal plant in South Africa. In May 2015, hundreds of people protested against Engie’s plans. Also in May, the company’s chairman and CEO, Gérard Mestrallet, visited the World Bank telling the Bank about Engie’s support for carbon pricing and the EU Emissions Trading System.
  • Suez Environnement is one-third owned by Engie. Both companies are members of the Centre for Non-Conventional Hydrocarbons – a fracking lobby group. Suez is the world’s second largest environmental services provider, with a focus on water. In 2006, Buenos Aires took back control of its water services from Suez. The company sued, and recently won a court case for US$405 million compensation.
  • Renault-Nissan is a car manufacturer. The company will provide 200 electric cars to COP21. In total, Renault-Nissan has sold 250,000 electric cars. Last year, Renault-Nissan sold 8.5 million cars.
  • BNP Paribas was the leading French bank in terms of support for coal between 2005 and 2014. BankTrack lists a series of problematic projects that BNP Paribas has financed, including the biggest coal mine in Indonesia, Kaltim Prima Coal Mine, the Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos, an LNG project in Papua New Guinea, and the Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Plant in India.
  • Air France is an airline company. On its website, the company points out that, “around 80% of Air France’s emissions come from long-haul aircraft”. The company’s position on reducing these emissions could safely be described as stubborn:

    There is no substitute method of transport for passengers or for cargo aircarfts [sic] carrying express goods such as valuables or perishable foodstuffs.

    In 2012, Air France was one of nine airline companies that opposed a European carbon tax on aviation.

    Here’s a petition you can sign to kick the polluters out of the climate talks:

    kickbigpollutersout.com

REDD Safeguard Information Systems: It’s about the money, not upholding rights

By Chris Lang

2015-03-12-151500_1048x1014_scrotThe issue of further guidance on Safeguard Information Systems was one of the key issues relating to REDD on the agenda at the UN climate negotiations in Lima last year. But no progress was made in Lima on this issue.

The text that came out of the UN climate negotiations in Warsaw (COP19) in 2013 is weak, even by UN standards. All it says is that every two years governments “should” provide a summary of information on how REDD safeguards are being “addressed and respected”. Least developed countries don’t even have to do that if they don’t feel like it.

At COP20 in Lima, a year later, governments were supposed to agree on further guidance for safeguard information systems.

No progress in Lima: An expert’s view

Peter Graham is currently the leader of WWF’s Forest and Climate Programme. Before that he was co-chair of the UNFCCC negotiations on REDD. He was lead negotiator and policy advisor on REDD+ for the Canadian government. I think it’s safe to say that he’s a “forest and climate expert” (as he describes himself on his LinkedIn profile).

Here’s how he describes the failure to progress on REDD safeguards in Lima:

“[T]he negotiators were looking at whether there was a need for additional guidance on the implementation or reporting on the Cancun safeguards. Many REDD countries said, ‘We’re implementing them, figuring out our system, making sure everything is connected,’ and they interpreted the calls for more guidance as additional demands being imposed even before they’ve been able to see if they have any problems or not. They’re basically saying, ‘You’re asking us to see how we’re doing before we do it,’ and they don’t see it as fair.

Then there’s our community – we see us as trying to help them reduce risk, because we’re worried that if they get the safeguards wrong, they won’t get any funding through the Green Climate Fund when they link to REDD. Both arguments are well-meaning and based on genuine concern.

Graham says that if “they” get the safeguards wrong, “we” won’t give them any money. This “us” and “them” analysis reveals rather more than Graham probably intended about the nature of the REDD debate, with its overtones of what Larry Lohmann calls “Green Orientalism“.

Results-based or safeguard-based payments?

To summarise this sorry tale so far: The UN REDD negotiators have agreed that governments are encouraged to promote and support a set of weak safeguards. Every two years (or longer for least developed countries), governments are encouraged to report on how these safeguards are being addressed and respected.

And if the rich North doesn’t like a REDD country’s report about safeguards, then the REDD country won’t get paid.

The issue of further guidance for safeguard information systems is on the agenda at the UN climate negotiations taking place in Bonn in the first two weeks of June 2015.

REDD-Monitor has written two posts giving line by line explanations of what’s wrong with the text on safeguards agreed in Cancun, and what’s wrong with the text on safeguard information systems agreed in Warsaw:

Despite (or perhaps because of) the obvious weaknesses, there is a small army of experts promoting REDD safeguards as the best thing since the Bali Road Map.

Learning from REDD Safeguard Information Systems?

Peter Graham moderated a discussion forum on “Learning from REDD Safeguards Information Systems: Voices from research, policy & practice” during the Global Landscapes Forum 2014 in Lima, during COP20. You can watch the discussion here:

In his introduction, Graham lists three questions for the panelists:

  • What are the key advances and challenges in the implementation of safeguard information systems by REDD+ countries?
  • How can existing monitoring systems and datasets be leveraged to support safeguard implementation?
  • Who will pay for safeguard information systems? How could these systems allow countries to access emerging financing opportunities associated with REDD+?

Good questions, but of course Graham didn’t ask anything about the weakness of the safeguards themselves, or about the fact that Cancun text states only that safeguards “should” be “promoted and supported” and what implications this might have when it comes to reporting on the safeguards.

Joanna Durbin, director of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, talks about the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards Inititiative. Set up five years ago, this voluntary initiative is working with 18 countries.

Towards the end of her talk Durbin asks,

Is there going to be a process of reviewing the information, to check that it’s accurate and is that going to involve stakeholders? Which could lead to a more credible set of information. Who is the information going to be shared with? And how?

More good questions.

Michael Bucki, Policy Officer at the European Commission starts his presentation by pointing out that he is giving personal view, “not stating any official position of anyone or anything”.

He talks about the cost of producing Safeguards Information, but adds that one of his contacts in the private sector told him that the cost is irrelevant:

“Because if you don’t do the safeguards you don’t do REDD. And it’s as easy as that. It’s [a] significant [cost] it’s true, but it’s not one on which you can spare, otherwise it will have no value on the market.

This almost sounds like No rights, No REDD. But it’s not. It’s more like No Safeguards Information, No REDD payments.

Bucki explains how the World Bank’s Climate Fund will pay for REDD emission reductions, according to the Methodological Framework:

A country will produce a certain amount of emission reductions but the Carbon Fund will not pay for all of these. There will be discounts because we anticipate that there will be some risk and some precautions need to be taken in relation with those risks.

And I do believe that the information provided by the Safeguard Information Systems will inform us on how sustainable the country approach is.

It has a very strong influence on how much carbon could be sold in the end. Actually, between 45 and 90% of the carbon that is generated and transferred to the Carbon Fund will be sold. So it’s a factor of two. Basically if you do the very, very basic MRV and very little on the sustainability aspect, you will get twice less than if you did the perfect risk proof version of REDD+.

So I think it’s a very, very strong incentive.

Bucki’s argument then, is that the quality of the information in the Safeguards Information System will help increase the value of the REDD credits, and therefore the amount of money that REDD countries will receive.

But increasing the quality of REDD credits (by improving the story told about those credits) will only help REDD countries to compete against other countries trying to sell their REDD credits. It’s likely to create a bonanza for consulting firms offering their services to write Safeguards Information Systems. But it is not going to do anything to increase the overall demand for REDD credits.

And of course Bucki doesn’t mention the fact that last year the Carbon Fund Participants said they would not pay more than US$5 per REDD credit.

REDD safeguards are not about upholding human rights. They are not about upholding indigenous peoples’ rights. They are not about land rights. The UN negotiations about Safeguard Information Systems are about setting the boundaries for the story telling that REDD countries can get away with and still hope to get paid.

Carbon Crooks: A new documentary about carbon trading

By Chris Lang, 4th September 2013

A new documentary, “Carbon Crooks”, will be broadcast on 9 September 2013 in Denmark. The film is directed by Tom Heinemann and documents the failure of carbon trading to address climate change and investigates some of the fraud in the carbon markets.

A trailer of the film has been released [watch below], and it looks great. The first interview in the trailer is with Daniel Butler, who was a carbon trader between 2004 and 2011. He broke the story about the stealing of €10 million worth of European Union emissions allowances (EUAs) from the Czech Republic’s carbon registry in January 2011. “In the early days it was a good business. I could make roughly €50,000 in five minutes,” Butler says.

The documentary team also interviews Ritt Bjerregaard, an EU Commissioner who was in Kyoto in 1997 as part of the EU team negotiating the Kyoto Protocol. The interview is available here (in Danish). Bjerregaard explains that the EU would have preferred a tax on carbon, coupled with guidance on reducing emissions and removing some coal-fired power plants. “It was an attempt to change our way to use our energy,” she says in the interview.

 

But it wasn’t to be. Al Gore led the US negotiating team and pushed carbon trading into the Kyoto Protocol. More than 15 years after Kyoto, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are higher than ever. Bjerregaard comments,

“Although I only have my knowledge from the media, it is clear that our scepticism about the market system has proved to be correct. The trouble is that the world is so dependent on energy, there is no desire to change anything. Apparently there must be truly great disasters in order to get the necessary changes.”

The documentary looks into crime in the carbon markets. Marius-Christian Frunza is a lecturer at Sorbonne and Dorphine University. He’s written a book titled, “Fraud and Carbon Markets” (which REDD-Monitor will be reviewing in the coming weeks). He points out that,

“If you want to do crime and you want to be fast and untraceable, carbon is one of the perfect candidates.”

I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of the next part of the trailer. Two men are walking down a street on a brick-built housing estate, presumably in Denmark. One of them is talking:

“Who is Mirza Ghalib? He’s India’s national poet. India’s H.C. Andersen and also his contemporary. He died in 1869. But is registered as a carbon trader at this address.”

The documentary also looks projects that generate carbon credits in the global South. At “smokeless” factories in Bangladesh, where the air is so bad the film crew can hardly breathe. And water purification filters that were handed out in Kenya supposedly to reduce the amount of firewood used to boil water, but which few people actually use.

There’s also an interview with EU Environment Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard. The interview is available here (in Danish). Hedegaard is still in favour of carbon trading and argues that Kyoto is a success, “because the alternative would have been worse”.

“I actually think that Europe went home and implemented what was agreed at Kyoto, and it has been shown to have an effect. We are more advanced than we otherwise would have come – even if there are many problems in the system.”

But as Kevin Anderson, Professor at Manchester University points out,

Many billions, possibly even hundreds of billions of pounds of carbon is getting traded. That has nothing to do directly with climate change.

Here’s the trailer. If you’re in Denmark, you can watch it on 9 September 2013. If not, you can buy it via the documentary website.

Guna General Congress in Panama takes historic decision: Guna Yala territory free from REDD+, June 2013

12 June, 2013

During its meeting on 9th June, the Guna General Congress in Panama took the historic decision to reject all REDD+ projects in the Gunayala territory. Alongside this rejection of all RED+ projects, the Congress took the specific decision to reject a proposed REDD+ pilot project in the region, after 2 years of public consultations.

For more information, click here to read the Congress’ resolution (only available in Spanish).

UN-REDD seeks to calm row with Panama indigenous body

http://www.trust.org/item/20130613101635-20e7k

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The United Nations’ scheme for preserving forests has said it will learn lessons from disagreements with indigenous forest communities in Panama, which have left the Central American nation’s programme in disarray.

The U.N.-backed initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) launched an independent investigation and evaluation after the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) announced it would pull out of the programme in March.

The group accused the government and U.N. agencies of not including indigenous groups in decision making, nor offering enough funding to support their participation and gain legal security for their territories.

Two investigators – an anthropologist and a lawyer – carried out a fact-finding mission in Panama for two weeks starting in late May and will return for a second visit in July. They said in a preliminary report, seen by Thomson Reuters Foundation, that clear procedures had not been put in place to involve COONAPIP in consultation, dialogue and decision making, and funds of only around $300,000 were offered to help the group, compared with the $1.78 million requested for its activities.

“All this has resulted in a situation where the dialogue has failed both institutionally and personally, and apparently there is no confidence in the good faith of the parties involved,” the report said.

Relations between COONAPIP, UN-REDD and the Panama government were harmonious when the three-year, $5.3 million programme was launched at the beginning of 2011, but they subsequently deteriorated to the point where the indigenous body withdrew this year, causing new activities to be suspended, according to the report.

The Panama REDD programme is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme, together with the Panama National Environment Authority. In 2000, Panama had almost 45 percent forest cover, down from about 70 percent in 1947, according to UN-REDD. Losses to logging, ranching and infrastructure development highlighted the need to conserve forests, it said.

Betanio Chiquidama, COONAPIP president and chief of a reserve that is home to more than 33,000 people in the east of the country, said the report demonstrated that “UN-REDD is a programme with problems, and that it has been rejected with reason by indigenous peoples”.

“(The report) makes clear that in the future there must be a system in place that allows for the comprehensive, effective and meaningful participation of indigenous peoples, in accordance with the rules and laws that protect our rights,” he said in a statement released at the weekend.

“More than half the country’s forests are on the lands of indigenous people in Panama. How can an effective plan to save these forests be negotiated if the indigenous leaders are not at the table?” he added.

On a more positive note, the report indicates that COONAPIP would be willing to restart dialogue with UN-REDD if certain conditions are met, and calls on the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Panama to convene a high-level meeting between the two sides to explore how they can better collaborate in the future.

‘THINGS MAY HAVE GONE WRONG’

Mario Boccucci, head of the Geneva-based secretariat for the UN-REDD Programme, said he could not comment on the report’s specific findings as he had not yet seen it, and the investigation was ongoing. The report is due to be presented to the UN-REDD policy board in late June.

But Boccucci said his office had taken “very seriously” the issues raised by COONAPIP, and wanted to ensure “a proper and thorough investigation of what has happened”, as well as a mid-term evaluation of the programme.

“We want to really understand what worked and what did not work, then find a way to ensure that the programme fully delivers on its commitments,” Boccucci told Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We will build on (the investigation’s) recommendations and the lessons that have been learned, and apply them in Panama and everything else we do in every other country.”

UN-REDD was not “discounting the fact that things may have gone wrong, may go wrong, will go wrong in the future, but it’s important that we have really totally committed to learn and see what went wrong so that we can find a way to better deliver,” he added.

Chiquidama said COONAPIP respected “UN-REDD’s speedy response to our call for help”.

“We have great hope that the agency will act on the results of the investigation,” he added.

Boccucci described the REDD+ programme and its activities in forest-rich countries as an experiment in sustainable development, where economic growth must be accompanied by social and environmental benefits. And he emphasised the initiative’s commitment to bringing such benefits to the indigenous communities who manage many forests on a day-to-day basis.

“The UN-REDD programme is based on and adheres to a human rights-based approach and is committed to promoting the rights of indigenous peoples,” Boccucci said.

TEST OF U.N. RIGHTS DECLARATION?

COONAPIP believes its complaint against Panama’s REDD programme marks the first major test of a key provision in the 2007 U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, under which they have the right to refuse projects and investments affecting their natural resources.

COONAPIP said the programme had so far excluded them from full participation in planning activities in Panama, and failed to guarantee their rights would be respected.

The investigation team’s report noted, however, that the programme had not had a “significant negative impact” on indigenous people’s collective or individual rights, as no legislative or administrative measures had yet been adopted. But it had added to the pressures on indigenous peoples and their resources in an already difficult environment, the document said.

Susan Kandel of the Salvadoran Programme for Research on Development and Environment (PRISMA), which has recently completed a study on the impact of REDD+ in Panama, said its findings echoed those of the U.N.-appointed investigators.

“Our research suggests that despite the development of laudable principles for safeguarding the rights of indigenous people and forest communities in the UN-REDD Programme, there are very few concrete measures that have been put into place that would ensure that these safeguards would actually be respected,” she said. “The absence of such measures turned out to be critical in Panama, and we hope that this experience can help REDD processes correct this critical flaw.”

UN-REDD violates right to free, prior and informed consent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2013

UN violates Indigenous Peoples’ rights:

UN-REDD violates right to free, prior and informed consent

ONU-REDD viola el derecho al consentimiento libre, previo e informado

Contact: Tom Goldtooth (218) 760-0442 ien@igc.org

New York City, New York – “The United Nations is violating Indigenous Peoples rights” denounced Indigenous Peoples attending the 12th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York, which concluded yesterday. In particular, indigenous leaders condemned UN-REDD for violating their right to free, prior, informed consent, a fundamental principle enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation) is a carbon market offset mechanism whereby industrialized countries and corporations use forests, plantations and land as sponges for their pollution instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at source.

“UN-REDD is violating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” stated Chief Betanio Chiquidama, President of the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples of Panama (COONAPIP). The traditional authorities of the COONAPIP collectively withdrew from UN-REDD on February 25, 2013. A delegation of COONAPIP meet with the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya at UN headquarters during the Permanent Forum to denounce abuses committed by UN-REDD.

“We call upon all the Indigenous Peoples of the world to proceed with caution and to take the necessary measures to avoid being tricked by United Nations bodies and officials, who have the legal obligation to comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” states the COONAPIP resolution on UN-REDD, which COONAPIP delivered to the Special Rapporteur.

According to Hector Huertas, legal counsel of COONAPIP, “UN officials and the Panamanian government are dividing indigenous communities with money from the Programme to force supposed consultations. This unethical and reprehensible procedure prompted COONAPIP to stop participating in a process whose objective is to privatize the forests of Panama in violation of the Panamanian constitution and laws, and allows the State to cash in on carbon credits in utter contempt for the rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

But the Indigenous Peoples of Panama are not the only ones whose rights are being violated by UN-REDD. According to a preliminary survey by Carbon Trade Watch, of the sixteen countries with UN-REDD National Programmes, at least ten countries have violated the right to free, prior and informed consent and the right to participation of civil society and Indigenous Peoples in processes related to REDD.  Other countries where these rights have been violated include Indonesia, Ecuador, Paraguay and the Democratic Republic of Congo where civil society groups have suspended engagement with the National REDD Coordination Process.

In addition to the rights to participation and consent, a host of other rights enshrined by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and other international and national human rights instruments are being violated as well. Of the 46 articles of the UN Declaration, more than 15 including the right to self-determination may be violated by carbon credit projects. Human rights organizations like Survival International are concerned about the growing number of abuses from carbon offset projects and REDD-type initiatives.

For this reason, in 2012, indigenous organizations requested that the UNPFII study the adverse impacts on Indigenous People’s rights of REDD-type projects and policies. However, during the 12th  session, the Indigenous leaders were dismayed that the UNPFII’s report on  “Indigenous People’s Rights and Safeguards in Projects related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)” characterizes carbon market REDD as an “opportunity” for Indigenous Peoples.

The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, the Indigenous Peoples’ caucus, has consistently and categorically rejected carbon market REDD, as all its statements to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change demonstrate.

“The report is misleadingly optimistic about the so-called “opportunities” of REDD-plus projects for enhancing indigenous rights and interests and demonstrates a pro-REDD bias. There is no real evidence that there will ever be legally binding REDD safeguards that guarantee the prevention of human right abuses,” says Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network who also attended the UNPFII.  “There is no safe REDD. There is no human rights REDD. The UN itself recognizes that REDD can “lock-up” forests. REDD-type projects are already taking over indigenous customary and traditional lands. For emerging REDD-readiness initiatives, our analysis says there can be no pro-indigenous REDD.”

Dr. Blessing Karumbidza of the Ngorima Chieftaincy, from the Shangani branch of the Nguni communities of Southern Africa is also skeptical about the efficacy of REDD both as a climate change solution as well as its professed contribution to development. “Evidence from exchange visits and research through the Timberwatch NGO Coalition based in South Africa, with Indigenous Peoples such as the Masaai in Kenya and Tanzania have shown beyond a doubt that these projects have negative social, economic and environmental impacts, ” says Dr. Karumbidza.

Meanwhile, “In the United States, the State of California is on the verge of implementing a global REDD program that lets climate criminals like Chevron and Shell off the hook by using the forests of Mexico and Brazil as sponges for their greenhouse gases and toxic pollution.  This is an international human rights issue,” according to Alberto Saldamando, a veteran human rights lawyer.

“REDD allows polluters to continue to dump toxics on people-of-color and low income communities in California causing sicknesses such as asthma and cancer, and has fueled social conflict in Chiapas, Mexico. The provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principle of free, prior and informed consent are already being violated in these emerging REDD initiatives as well. The UN should be protecting the health, human rights and the well-being of all our brothers and sisters of the forested regions of the South and local communities in the North, but they aren’t and this is wrong,” Saldamando said.

Violation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent by UN-REDD and REDD

Of the sixteen countries with UN-REDD National Programmes, at least ten countries have violated the right to free, prior and informed consent and the right to participation of civil society and Indigenous Peoples in processes related to REDD.

BOLETIN DE PRENSA: 1 de junio 2013

ONU viola los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas:

ONU-REDD viola el derecho al consentimiento libre, previo e informado

Contacto: Tom Goldtooth (218) 760-0442 ien@igc.org

“Las Naciones Unidas está violando los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas”, denunció los pueblos indígenas que asistieron a la 12ª sesión del Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas para las Cuestiones Indígenas (UNPFII) en Nueva York, que concluyó ayer. En particular, los líderes indígenas condenaron ONU-REDD que viola su derecho al consentimiento libre, previo e informado, un principio fundamental consagrado en la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas.

REDD (Reducción de Emisiones por Deforestación y Degradación Forestal) es un mecanismo de compensaciones del mercado de carbono mediante el cual los países industrializados y las empresas utilizan los bosques, las plantaciones y la tierra como esponjas por su contaminación en lugar de reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero en el lugar donde se origen.

“ONU-REDD está violando la Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas”, declaró el Jefe Betanio Chiquidama, Presidente de la Coordinadora Nacional de Pueblos Indígenas de Panamá (COONAPIP). Las autoridades tradicionales de la COONAPIP retiraron colectivamente de ONU-REDD, el 25 de febrero de 2013. Una delegación de COONAPIP se reunió con el Relator Especial de la ONU sobre Pueblos Indígenas, James Anaya en la sede de la ONU durante el Foro Permanente para denunciar los abusos cometidos por ONU-REDD.

“Hacemos un llamado a todos los pueblos indígenas del mundo para proceder con precaución y tomar las medidas necesarias para evitar ser engañados por los órganos y funcionarios de las Naciones Unidas, que tienen la obligación legal de cumplir con la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas “, afirma la resolución sobre ONU-REDD, que COONAPIP entregó al Relator Especial.

Según Héctor Huertas, abogado de COONAPIP, “funcionarios de la ONU y el gobierno panameño dividen comunidades indígenas con dinero del Programa para forzar supuestas consultas. Este procedimiento inmoral y reprobable llevó a la COONAPIP a dejar de participar en un proceso que tiene como objetivo la privatización de los bosques de Panamá, en violación de la constitución y las leyes de Panamá, y que permite que el Estado saque ganancias con los créditos de carbono en un total desprecio por los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas. ”

Sin embargo, los pueblos indígenas de Panamá no son los únicos cuyos derechos están siendo violados por el ONU-REDD. De acuerdo con una encuesta preliminar de Carbon Trade Watch, de los dieciséis países con programas nacionales de ONU-REDD, por lo menos diez países han violado el derecho de consentimiento libre, previo e informado y el derecho a la participación de la sociedad civil y los pueblos indígenas en procesos relacionados con REDD. Otros países donde se han violado estos derechos incluyen Indonesia, Ecuador, Paraguay y la República Democrática del Congo donde grupos de la sociedad civil han suspendido su participación con el Proceso de Coordinación Nacional REDD.

Además de los derechos a la participación y el consentimiento, una serie de otros derechos consagrados en la Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas y otros instrumentos internacionales y nacionales de derechos humanos están siendo violados también. De los 46 artículos de la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas, más de 15, incluido el derecho a la autodeterminación puede resultar violado por los proyectos de créditos de carbono. Organizaciones de derechos humanos como Survival International están preocupadas por el creciente número de abusos por parte de los proyectos de compensación de carbono e iniciativas tipo REDD.

Por esta razón, en 2012, las organizaciones indígenas solicitaron que el UNPFII estudiara los impactos negativos sobre los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de proyectos y políticas tipo REDD. Sin embargo, durante la 12ª sesión, los dirigentes indígenas se consternaron a comprobar que el informe del Foro Permanente sobre “Derechos y salvaguardas de los pueblos indígenas en los proyectos relacionados con la Reducción de Emisiones por Deforestación y Degradación Forestal (REDD +)” caracteriza el mercado de carbono REDD como una “oportunidad” para los pueblos indígenas.

El Foro Internacional de Pueblos Indígenas sobre el Cambio Climático, el conclave de  los Pueblos Indígenas, ha rechazado sistemáticamente y categóricamente REDD del mercado de carbono, como todas sus declaraciones a la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático demuestran.

“El informe es engañosamente optimista acerca de las llamadas” oportunidades” para que los proyectos de REDD-plus mejoren los derechos e intereses indígenas y demuestra un sesgo pro-REDD. No hay evidencia real de que habrán salvaguardias jurídicamente vinculantes para REDD que garanticen la prevención de los abusos de los derechos humanos “, dice Tom Goldtooth de la Red Ambiental Indígena, que también asistió al Foro Permanente. “No hay REDD seguro. No hay REDD con un enfoque de derechos humanos. La propia ONU reconoce que REDD pueda resultar en la “clausura” de los bosques. Proyectos tipo REDD ya se están despojando tierras ancestrales y tradicionales indígenas. En el caso de las nuevas iniciativas de REDD, nuestro análisis indica que no puede haber REDD pro-indígena”.

Dr. Blessing Karumbidza de la Jefatura Ngorima, de los Shangani de las comunidades Nguni de Sudáfrica también se muestra escéptico sobre la eficacia de REDD, tanto como una solución al cambio climático, así como una supuesta contribución al desarrollo. “La evidencia de intercambios e investigación de la Coalición de ONGs Timberwatch con sede en Sudáfrica, con los Pueblos Indígenas, como el Pueblo Masai de Kenia y Tanzania han demostrado más allá de toda duda de que estos proyectos tienen impactos sociales, económicos y ambientales negativos”, dice el Dr. Karumbidza.

Mientras tanto, “En Estados Unidos, el Estado de California está a punto de implementar un programa mundial REDD que permite a los criminales climáticos como Chevron-Texaco y Shell esquivar su responsabilidad [de reducir emisiones] mediante el uso de los bosques de México y Brasil como esponjas de sus gases de efecto invernadero y la contaminación tóxica . Este es un problema internacional de derechos humanos “, según Alberto Saldamando, un veterano abogado de derechos humanos.                                      .

“REDD permite que los contaminadores siguán vertiendo sustancias tóxicas en las comunidades de afros y latinos, y ha agudizado conflictos sociales en Chiapas, México. Las disposiciones de la Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas y el principio del consentimiento libre, previo e informado ya están siendo violados en estas iniciativas emergentes de REDD. La ONU debería  proteger la salud, los derechos humanos y el bienestar de todos nuestros hermanos y hermanas de las regiones boscosas del Sur, así como de las comunidades locales en el Norte, pero la ONU no lo está haciendo, y esto es malo “, dijo Saldamando.

# # #

Violación de Consentimiento Libre, Previo e Informado por ONU-REDD y REDD

De los dieciséis países con programas nacionales de ONU-REDD, por lo menos diez países han violado el derecho de consentimiento libre, previo e informado y el derecho a la participación de la sociedad civil y los pueblos indígenas en procesos relacionados con REDD.

Exposing REDD :: The False Climate Solution

Watch and Share this informative video!

During the week of October 22, 2012, The Mending News released a 7:25 minute video on the basics of an international carbon offset mechanism called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its link to California’s cap and trade regulations that currently include a “placeholder” to allow sub-national REDD carbon credits to enter into its cap and trade system.

A Governor’s Forests and Climate Task Force is working with several states/provinces – most notably Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil – to potentially supply California with REDD credits. Some NGOs are saying this California REDD project will become a model for implementing REDD internationally. IEN and other groups in California support California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, but REDD credits should not be accepted into California’s carbon trading system.

The film makes note that: REDD credits lack environmental integrity; REDD projects pose high risks to Indigenous Peoples and forest dependent communities; and REDD offsets are risky in terms of fraud, land grabs, evictions and human rights abuses.

Watch the video to get the real story of REDD, the deceptive climate ‘solution’ being proposed in California and being implemented within the UN climate negotiations and the World Bank. It sounds good on paper, but the reality is that REDD enforces the global colonization of Mother Earth; allows the polluting industry to expand its toxic emissions creating local toxic hotspots in faraway places; and creates a stolen future for Indigenous peoples, local forest dependent communities, communities living next door to a fossil fuel polluting industry, and a stolen future for the environment and all life.