viernes, febrero 18, 2005

> Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005
> Subject: Kyoto: What's to Celebrate? ****

For release 15 February

Activists Put Kofi Annan on Notice
Kyoto: What's to Celebrate?

While many are celebrating the Kyoto Protocol's entering intoforce this week, others are finding cause for grave concern.

A coalition of NGOs, social and environmental activists, communities,scientists and economists from around the world concerned about theclimate crisis, the Durban Group, charged that the 1997 climate treatynot only fails to cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert climatecatastrophe, but also steals from the poor to give to the rich.

The Kyoto Protocol says that industrialized country signatories mustreduce their emissions 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. However,the group noted, the scientific community has called for globalreductions of over 60% below 1990 levels by the year 2000.

What's more, the carbon trading promoted by the Protocol handsNorthern governments and corporations lucrative tradable rights use the earth's natural carbon-cycling capacity, effectivelystealing a public good away from most of the planet'sinhabitants.

Just last month, Danish power utility Energi E2 sold hundreds ofthousands of dollars of the rights it had been granted free by itsgovernment to Shell after mild temperatures kept the utility's carbonemissions below expected levels. (1) No such free rights have beengranted to ordinary citizens.

The Kyoto Protocol's attempt to create "carbon dioxide-saving"projects in poorer countries is meanwhile stirring protests fromBrazil to South Africa. Such projects - which include industrialtree plantations and schemes to burn off landfill gas - are designedto license big emitters in the rich North to go on using fossil fuels.But they usurp land or water ordinary people need for other purposes.(2)

"We're creating a sort of 'climate apartheid,' wherein thepoorest and darkest-skinned pay the highest price-with their health,their land, and, in some cases, with their lives-for continuedcarbon profligacy by the rich," said Soumitra Ghosh of the NationalForum of Forest Peoples and Forest Workers in India.

Worse, such carbon projects don't work. "Even in purely economicterms, a market in credits from 'carbon-saving' projects willfail," said Jutta Kill of Sinkswatch, a British-based watchdogorganization. "You simply can't verify whether a power plant'semissions can be 'compensated for' by a tree plantation or otherproject. Ultimately investors are bound to lose confidence in thecredits they buy from such projects."

Kill noted that almost all of the methods proposed so far for provinghow much carbon is saved by Kyoto's "carbon-saving" projectshave been rejected by the UN itself. "People are beginning torealize that this is ENRON accounting," she said.

Ricardo Carrere of the World Rainforest Movement added that"so-called carbon sink plantations will result in the further spreadof monoculture tree plantations, which are already having enormousimpacts on people and the environment". The Kyoto Protocol alsoallows genetically engineered trees to be used in carbon-absorbingplantations.

"This will open up a Pandora's box of impacts we can't evenguess at," said Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project inthe US.

One of the biggest promoters of the carbon market, including "carbon-saving" projects in poor nations, is the World Bank,ironically also a major financier of fossil fuel developments.

"It's ridiculous that the Bank, which has a mission of entrenchingthe fossil fuel industry, is now advertising itself as solving theclimate crisis," said Nadia Martinez of the Sustainable Energy andEnvironment Network in Washington. (3)

"If we are to avert a climate crisis,drastic reductions in fossil fuel investment and use are inescapable,as is the protection of remaining native forests," confirmed HeidiBachram of Carbon Trade Watch. "We're joining many othermovements of Northern and Southern peoples to take the climate backinto our hands."

Members of the Durban Group are todaysending an open letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan excoriatingthe UN's failure to take constructive action and giving notice oftheir intention to build independent alliances to "pressgovernments to limit fossil fuel extraction and use while supportinggrassroots alliances struggling against fossil fuel exploration,extraction and use and against unjust 'climate mitigation'projects."

(To view the Kofi Annan open letter\

For further information/interviews:

Heidi Bachram (UK) +1 631 477

Ricardo Carrere (Uruguay) +598 2 4100985 or4132989,,

Soumitra Ghosh (India) +91 353 2661915,

Sajida Khan (South Africa) +27 31 208

Jutta Kill (Germany/UK) +1 250 799

Larry Lohmann (UK) 01258 473795 or

Nadia Martinez (US) +1 202 234 9382, x208,

Winnie Overbeek (Brazil) +55 27 33226330 or 32237436

Anne Petermann (US) +1 802 482

1. Carbon Market Daily, 7 Feburary
2. For interviews: Winnie Overbeek, Sajida Khan,
Soumitra Ghosh(above).
3. SEEN, Wrong Turn from Rio,


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