Archive for the 'Carbon Trading' Category

Doha Climate Talks: First Farce, then Tragedy

The lead-up to COP18 which started in Doha, Qatar this week, would have been farcical, if not for the tragic reminder from Hurricane Sandy that climate change is deadly, and is already upon us.

But for a moment, let’s appreciate the ironies:

Rio+20, “The Future We Want,” summit in June of this year was declared a failure on almost all counts. The tepid commitments, all voluntary, sound exactly like the future fossil fuel industries want. But in Doha, under the mandate of the UNFCCC, parties will agree on issues like finance, carbon markets, and REDD+.

Protester in Rio, June 2012.

Sounds reasonable? Think twice- COP18 is in Qatar, an OPEC nation with some of the highest emissions per capita that has been barely involved in climate negotiations. International campaigners Avaaz posted, “having one of the OPEC leaders in charge of climate talks is like asking Dracula to look after a blood bank.”

At least we can turn to our “climate leaders,” like the EU. Turns out the debt crisis has our European friends a little distracted from their climate commitments. Spain, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and France have all cut aid to renewables.

Well there are some “easy” issues to resolve in Doha, like fund transfers from wealthy countries to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation, right? But the farce continues- just in time for the conference to start, an international report finds that most wealthy countries are falling embarrassingly short of their commitments thus far for fund transfers. So much for the easy stuff.

Okay, at least they off-set their emissions! 25k metric tons of carbon was “eliminated” in the CDM carbon market to off-set 10,000 participants traveling to Doha. Yet this comes amidst mounting evidence that the carbon markets are broken, with the value of credits in the CDM plunging 93% in two years, and the EU system failing to reduce emissions. (I’ll spare the gory details of CDM’s social injustice.)

Yet, somehow in the fracas, carbon speculators are optimistic for Doha. Unlike the negotiators, they’ve figured out they can still make a handsome profit even if emissions don’t drop. In the rush to appease and appeal to business interests, negotiators have bought into a “Green Economy” narrative, where climate solutions are reduced to financial and technological fixes. REDD+, CDM, and other carbon offsets allow industrialized countries to avoid shifting their economies off fossil fuels, and speculators in new carbon markets reap the rewards.

The Doha skyline.

The choice of some climate justice groups to skip the trip to Doha is looking better and better.

So is the COP system broken? Can we expect anything out of Doha? With Sandy barely behind us, and more storms on the horizon, a meaningful U.N. process may feel like our last hope. However most major decisions are mapped out in preparatory meetings, such as those in Bonn and Bangkok this year.  While the presence of critical voices is important, so far the COPs have proven to leave out indigenous peoples, youth, and others most impacted by climate change.  We can’t count on negotiators to broker our future with fossil fuel corporations.

The recent position paper from Focus on the Global South offers a critique and an alternative: “The capitalist system is seeking to get out of this economic crisis through a process of reconfiguration that implies a new process of exploitation of humans and nature… …To confront the interests and power of corporations, our struggle must have as starting point the daily life of the people affected by climate change and not the UNFCCC negotiations.”

Around the world, more and more people are connecting the dots and challenging the root causes of climate change and false solutions. From the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas, to First Nations in British Columbia, to indigenous communities impacted by REDD+ in Mexico, people are taking a stand for their communities and ecology. As Hurricane Sandy showed, if we aren’t already, we all may soon be on the frontlines of climate change.

As Focus on the Global South writes, “A ‘one size fits all’ model like neoliberalism or centralized bureaucratic socialism is not the answer. Instead, diversity should be expected and encouraged, as it is in nature.” Real solutions come from the grassroots.

Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

If you have ever driven on most of the northern highways in northern Alberta you will be presented with a picture of a tame prairie terrain, with sprawling fields and farms holding cows and the occasional conventional oil pump jack. A few kilometers on any of the gravel access roads however and you will see a much more bleaker picture of out of control industrialization and poisoning of the land. This is unless of course you witness the tar sands machines of death on Highway 63 near Fort McMurray and Fort McKay, or the massive underground mining operations in the Peace River and Cold Lake regions disrupting and contaminating underground water. What most modern thinkers fail to understand is thousands years of history from the ancestors of Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Nakoda and Metis people. Living nations of people who simply cannot afford the luxury of packing up and moving as settlers when there is no longer work. These lands are home to these nations and are not sacrifice zones. And like a deadly contagious all-consuming disease, what has been done to Alberta by the oil industry cannot be allowed to spread to other parts of the world killing indigenous ways of life and jeopardizing the future for all.

Enbridge, and the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands Gigaproject, is attempting to retrace the steps taken by the Hudson’s Bay Company with classic colonial strategy. The Hudson’s Bay Company was the first corporation on Turtle Island, here in North America. The Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading forts also became the first settler governments for the British Empire. In Alberta, the first settlement and colonial government in Alberta was in Fort Chipewyan, which would today is seen as the international poster community for a Cree, Dene and Metis community directly impacted by 40 years of out of control open pit tar sands mining. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline is renewing a pipeline proposal and expansions originally proposed nearly 10 years ago and is supported by the Stephen Harper Conservative Canadian Government.

Just one week after the largest oil pipeline spill in Alberta in 30 years in unceded Lubicon Cree Territory, a spill that took six days for the Alberta government to respond in a half-assed, indifferent manner, starting with faxing a one-page “fact sheet” update about the disaster, a large contingent from the Yinka Dene Alliance from the northwest interior of B.C. were arriving in Calgary to confront Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project and tanker traffic.

On May 11th, 2011, on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Calgary, Alberta, a historic solidarity statement of opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal was signed by leaders of the Blood Tribe, Alexander First Nation, Lubicon Lake Nation, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, Sai’kuz First Nation, Nadleh Whuten, Takla Lake First Nation and the Nakazdli First Nation.

The day after the Enbridge AGM a rally was held in Prince Rupert, B.C. on May 12th, outside a meeting sponsored by Enbridge for the Northern BC Municipalities Convention. With a historic turn-out of over 500 Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of the island of Lach Kaien, known in the mainstream society as Prince Rupert, publicly and loudly demonstrating their opposition to the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline proposal as well as any tar sands tanker traffic that would support the industry of dirty crude oil and liquid condensate.

Lach Kaien, or Prince Rupert, is known to the Tsimshian as the “Cradle of Tsimshian Civilization,” according to a hereditary chief of the Gits’iis tribe, Sm’ooygit Nisyaganaat. The Prince Rupert Harbor contains the most dense archaelogical sites north of Mexico City and is the second deepest harbor in the world. Lach Kaien is surrounded by Tsimshian communities traditionally comprised of 11 Tsimshian villages, as well as neighboring nations from the Haida, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Gitksan, Nisga’a, Tahltan, and Tlingit. To this day the indigenous population of the town of Prince Rupert is still between 40-50%, with all industries heavily dependent upon the commerce, labor and resources of Indigenous coastal nations.

A few coastal communities however have not yet made a clear position on whether or not to support the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project and any western tar sands crude oil expansion. These include among the largest of coastal communities of Lach hlgu K’alaams (Lax Kw’Alaams) or Port Simpson, and Gitkxaahla (Kitkatla), where the still active traditional laws and feasting systems of hereditary chiefs is still strong and holds much influence over the non-surrendered tribal territories in the region of Prince Rupert, Hecate Strait, and the Skeena and Nass Rivers.

These are nations still waiting to awaken to take their place and decide for themselves what is allowed into the lands and waters of nations that have lived and thrived on this edge of the world for thousands of years. To uphold the traditional laws and protocols of respect and responsibilities known as Ayaawk and Gugwiltx Yaans and not be steered by any settler government, environmental group, or any funding body with non-Indigenous agendas. Especially is true that Indigenous grassroots leaders are still fighting the oppression of the Indian Act system and the federal Canadian employees of many Band Councils maintaining the silencing of traditional hereditary leadership systems through which the sole jurisdiction of all territories flows through.

Indigenous lands and waters are to be spoken for and by Indigenous minds and communities. Enbridge Northern Gateway, and all tar sands pipelines and expansions such as the Kinder Morgan TMX Northern Leg Extension, the Pembina Pipeline, the PNG KSL Pipeline, the Kitimat and Prince Rupert Liquid Natural Gas Terminals, and the Prince Rupert “New World” Container Ports are just a few of the many modern obstacles in the path of standing up the original structures and ways of life with which to free Indigenous nations on this edge of the world.

Links to the rally and demonstration held in Lach Kaien and declarations of war against Enbridge -

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/enbridge-pipeline-faces-prospect-civil-disobedience-500-strong-crowd-rallies-outside-1514236.htm

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/121784899.html

http://www.muskegnews.com/protest-enbridge0512

http://wcel.org/media-centre/media-releases/coastal-first-nations-tanker-ban-creates-new-legal-risks-and-uncertainty

http://savethefraser.ca/

Statement of Solidarity of Indigenous Nations opposed to Enbridge Northern Gateway -

May 10th, 2011 – Calgary, Alberta, territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy

WE THE UNDERSIGNED INDIGENOUS NATIONS STATE IN SOLIDARITY:
Our Nations are bound together by the water which is our lifeblood. We have protected our lands and waters since time immemorial, each according to our laws and traditions. The waters of Indigenous peoples throughout the lands known as western Canada are being threatened by fossil fuel exploitation and transportation.

We exercise our rights to sustain our cultural and economic well-being. The laws of each of our peoples are deeply embedded in our cultures and practices. These laws have never been extinguished and our authority continues in our lands. Our peoples continue to live by them today.

We have come together on May 10, 2011 in the city of Calgary, Alberta, in the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy, to declare to the governments of Alberta, British Columbia, as well as Enbridge Inc., all of its subsidiary bodies, and the domestic and international financial institutions supporting Enbridge, THE FOLLOWING:

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tankers project will expose Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities from the Pacific Coast across to Alberta to the risk of pipeline and supertanker oil spills, just as we have seen recently with Enbridge’s massive spill in Michigan, the recent devastating spill in Lubicon Cree territory, the recent TransCanada pipeline spill in North Dakota, as well as the effects of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster. Tar sands bitumen has been demonstrated to corrode pipelines more rapidly than conventional oil, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic spills. Given the seismic volatility of the region, the recent earthquake in Japan also underlies our grave concerns about the risk of oil spills.

The urgency of global climate change, and the fact that Indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by climate change, also compels us to act.

We have witnessed the Coastal First Nations Declaration banning crude oil tankers on the Pacific North Coast, and the Save the Fraser Declaration banning crude oil transportation through the Fraser River watershed. Each of these Declarations is based in Indigenous law and is an expression of Indigenous decision-making authority.

Enbridge states that it intends to proceed with its Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers, with or without First Nations consent. A decision by Canada to approve this project, without the free, prior and informed consent of affected Nations, will be a violation of our Treaties, our rights, and our laws, and will be in breach of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international accords.

THEREFORE we stand in solidarity with the Coastal First Nations, and the Nations who have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, and are united in stating that Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tanker project, as well as other fossil fuel development projects including Keystone XL, must not proceed without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of all affected First Nations.

AND FURTHER if such consent is not obtained, no construction of such projects shall proceed.

SIGNED in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy, at the city of Calgary, May 10 2011

Sai’kuz First Nation

Nadleh Whut’en

Takla Lake First Nation

Nakazdli First Nation

Blood Tribe

Alexander First Nation

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation

Lubicon Lake Nation

Seeking thick-headed activists…

Solidarity Illustration

By Tim DeChristopher, cross-posted from Peaceful Uprising

This post came from an email conversation with Post Carbon Institute‘s Strategist-Extraordinaire Tod Brilliant, who argued that we should recruit farmers and grandmothers since college-age protesters would get written off as “spoiled elites.” Tod has a totally reasonable view and might be right. In fact, it’s a very similar warning that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave to the Freedom Riders. They ignored his advice and went anyway, demonstrating that there is something strangely powerful about watching another person put themself in harms way.

I think college kids who protest and get a citation will definitely not get sympathy. Those who spend a night in jail probably won’t get much either. Those who get released from a night in jail to go straight back and repeat their action might start arousing some curiosity. Those who defy a judge’s strong warning that returning a third time will guarantee a year in prison will begin to actually move people. When college kids become former college kids who have been kicked out because of their activism, we’ll start making some progress. The “uppity brats” critique only sticks if anyone who wields it has ever sacrificed as much as the college kid is currently doing. I think where the direct action wing of the current movement has fallen short is that they have substituted perceived risk for actual risk, and it is not the same thing.

More than age, income, profession, or anything else, the one thing that matters about who we put out front is stubbornness.  I’ll trade all the strategy in the world for stubbornness…

Continue reading ‘Seeking thick-headed activists…’

Root Causes of the BP Oil Disaster

Recently here in the Bay Area, Mobilization for Climate Justice-West held a Teach In on the BP oil disaster, to prep for an upcoming action on the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Here’s an excerpt from Carla Perez from Movement Generation, talking about root causes:

Cartagena Dialogue Provides a Breath of Fresh Air

President Nasheed of the Maldives at the Opening of the Cartagena Group/Dialogue

“There is nothing wrong with being helped to go on living.  And that is what this[climate change] issue is all about,” stated a senior official from the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia.  I am at a ministerial gathering of 28 nations of the Cartagena Group/Dialogue for Progressive Action convening in the beautiful island of Bandos in the Republic of Maldives.  The participants are from Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Samoa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, UK and the European Commission.  The Cartagena Group/Dialogue is an informal space, open to all countries that want ambitious and comprehensive outcomes in the UNFCCC, and that are committed, domestically to becoming or remaining low carbon.  These are “forward looking” countries, willing to work positively and proactively together within and across regional and UNFCCC groups.  The aim of the Group/Dialogue is to openly discuss the reasoning behind each other’s positions and to explore areas where convergence and enhanced joint action could emerge.  That is precisely what I see happening.

A representative from an industrialized nation stated clearly, “don’t push us, [to be even more ambitious] or you are not going to like it.”  While the words may seem a little jarring, that was not the intent.  The purpose was to make clear that negotiators and country representatives sent to UNFCCC talks can only do so much as they are at the mercy of the political winds of the countries they represent and might suffer backlash from voters.  It reaffirms that if large industrialized (and rapidly emerging) economies are to take strong action, it requires the majority of the citizens of those countries to have the will.  And while we witnessed the lack of political will to pass through climate and energy legislation before the congressional mid-term elections in the United States this week, countries small and large gathered at Cartagena have provided a glimmer of hope, giving a breath of life to the stale atmosphere that lingers within the UNFCCC post Copenhagen.  The truth is that the stiff negotiating environment of the UNFCCC rarely allows for a common space for understanding country positions and barriers to creating a comprehensive agreement.   This is especially true given such forums are reduced to a debate over choice of words in what is essentially a legal contract.  This is the second meeting of the Cartagena Group/Dialogue with regular meetings planned in the future.  The arrival of this group is also important as Copenhagen revealed that even large groupings such as the G-77 are beginning to fracture due to the rise of BASIC.  The latter’s demands conflict with many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developing Countries (LDCs) who are calling for a 350 ppm or 1.5 degree Celsius warming target.  It remains unclear what future groupings could be like within the UNFCCC and there is no formal “Cartagena Group.” The current impasse in the UNFCCC requires new alliances and I suspect with time, a “G-X” will emerge to break the deadlock.   Continue reading ‘Cartagena Dialogue Provides a Breath of Fresh Air’

Join Us in Cancun (Spring Break wear optional)

COP16 ApplicationApplications are now available for SustainUS’s Agents of Change delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, November 29-December 10.

Applicants must be 18-26 years old at the start of the negotiations, and must be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or have been studying or working in the United States for at least six months at the time of application.

Selected applicants will join a diverse delegation of youth, including those both familiar with and new to the youth climate movement; from across the United States and beyond; including young scientists and engineers, policy specialists, grassroots activists, media and communications specialists; students, young professionals, and community volunteers; and more. We have limited, need-based scholarship money for youth from climate change-impacted communities (requires separate application, see link below).

Full delegation details and application materials are available at http://www.sustainus.org/COP16

Applications are due by 5 p.m. EDT on June 4th to agents@sustainus.org

Please help to ensure that all eligible youth have the opportunity to apply by forwarding this announcement

Fossil Fools Day 2010: Pull a prank that packs a punch April 1

The fossil fools ain’t no joke – but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight them with one!

The Fossil Fuel Empire is real and it’s here. The stakes couldn’t be higher: destabilization of the global climate, communities from Alaska to Appalachia being destroyed by dirty energy extraction and combustion, devastating super hurricanes, droughts, flooding, the list goes on…

Last December in Copenhagen, the politicians sold us out to the fossil fools, corporate lobbyists and big banks. Now we’re left with “green capitalism,” carbon market shenanigans and continued assaults on our communities and ecosystems. If we’re going to stop climate change, the only real solution is to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

This April, join Rising Tide North America as we pull some pranks that pack a punch. Use the simply subversive to the downright disruptive: office occupations, banner drops, road blockades, clownish parades, spoof product launches, sub-vertising, leaflets, street theater, lock-downs and laugh-ins. Whatever works for you and your group! Continue reading ‘Fossil Fools Day 2010: Pull a prank that packs a punch April 1′

Chicago Climate Activists target Carbon Trading for anniversary of Seattle WTO shut down – 12 arrested


*More details and photos coming soon!*

Chicago climate activists returned to the streets today – this time in the financial district in downtown  Chicago – in a colorful demonstration against cap and trade, carbon offsets and other “false solutions” to climate change.  Building on the long-term campaign to shut down the Crawford and Fisk coal-fired power plants in the city, community and environmental groups from across Chicago and beyond have come together to demand just, equitable, and effective solutions to the climate crisis.

The main target of today’s action is the Chicago Climate Exchange, the first and largest carbon market in North America.  Several other “climate criminals” were visited during a march, including JP Morgan Chase, one of the leading funders of mountain top removal coal mining; Midwest Generation, the owner of Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants; and the Board of Trade, which trades in palm oil, one of the leading drivers of rainforest destruction. Continue reading ‘Chicago Climate Activists target Carbon Trading for anniversary of Seattle WTO shut down – 12 arrested’

VIDEO: Climate Justice and the Copenhagen Moment

An inspiring new video from smartMeme with leaders from frontline communities and allies talking about the Copenhagen moment.

Direct action against climate change

I thought I’d share this excellent opinion piece from the UK on the value of direct action in the climate movement. With each day bringing new compromises from corporate green groups and governments in the lead up to Copenhagen, it is essential that we keep up the heat in the streets.

By Kevin Smith

As politicians meet for more climate talks in Barcelona, they continue to be fixated on measures like carbon trading that will only exacerbate the climate crisis. Fortunately the last year in the UK and worldwide has shown that direct action against carbon-intensive projects can deliver results.

I was a bit puzzled earlier this week when the new intern in our office – a conscientious sort – didn’t show up to work this week. It all made sense when I got a call from her yesterday saying that she had only been released from police custody after spending two nights camped high up on a smoke stack on a coal-fired power station in Oxford. As far as ‘not coming to work’ excuses go, it’s pretty water-tight.

Taking direct action on climate change has become a regular feature in the UK political landscape. The motivation for people to get involved in these sorts of activities has received a huge boost in October as climate activists suddenly started to see the fruits of their labour. 2009 will be remembered in the UK as the year when direct action got the goods!

Two of the most emblematic sites of climate struggle in the UK in recent years have been the proposal to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport, and to build the first coal-fired power station in the country for thirty years at Kingsnorth in Kent. Both of these bright ideas resulted from  massive pressure from the business lobby and would have locked the UK into an even greater level of carbon emissions for decades to come. In both cases the government was assuring us that we needn’t be concerned about their devastating climate impacts because it would be taken care of by carbon trading and offsetting. Continue reading ‘Direct action against climate change’


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