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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

REDD carbon trading belies its claims

An eco-cidally false solution to climate change, says Indigenous Environmental Network
From an IEN report edited with end comment by Carolyn Bennett

Corporations and their governmental and organization allies in the “carbon trading” enterprise decode REDD as “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.” But Indigenous environmentalists define it differently because its centerpiece devastates huge numbers of people and every aspect of the environment, but especially indigenous peoples.

A bloody and mendacious record

REDD champions carbon markets engaged in buying and selling “allowances” or “carbon credits” to permit polluters to continue polluting. Carbon markets have two parts: emissions trading (also called “cap and trade”) and offsets (e.g., promise not to cut down forests and plantations or build a dam or plant a tree plantation under the “Clean Development Mechanism”). This scheme allows polluters buy their way out of reducing their emissions.

This is a multi-billion dollar trading scheme which privatizes and commodifies the earth’s ability to keep its atmosphere balanced.  Seen in one light, REDD opposes itself. It belies its claims.

REDD is, according to the Indigenous Environmental Network, “eco-cidal and a false solution to climate change that has helped push the Arctic, Amazon and Antarctic closer to the Tipping Point” and has helped “quicken the disappearance of 14 countries in the Pacific whose population is 90 percent Indigenous.” 

This is cultural genocide on an unprecedented scale. It has violated human rights through “killings, servitude, regimes of terror, forced relocation, arbitrary detention, loss of land and territory, loss of income, livelihood and food, destruction of homes and crops, and threats to cultural survival.”

Under carbon trading programs, “companies that release greenhouse gases can either agree to reduce their emissions or buy the right to keep on polluting.”

Polluters snatch, grab, plunder, destroy

Most of the world’s forests are on Indigenous Peoples’ land. Estimated in 2008, “1.6 billion people rely on forests, including 60 million Indigenous people, who are entirely dependent upon forests for their livelihoods, food, medicines and/or building materials.” And making forest carbon a commodity is inherently inequitable as it discriminates especially against women “who previously had free access to the forest resources they need to raise and care for their families, but who cannot afford to buy forest products or alternatives.”

The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) has noted that “for generations indigenous peoples have managed to utilize forests’ resources in a sustainable manner.  

“Indigenous peoples have always regarded forests not simply as resources to be exploited but as the source of life and an integral part of [their] lives and lifestyles. Forests not only provide shelter and food to indigenous peoples but also form the basis of many cultures, having various spiritual and cultural values that cannot be expressed in monetary values. Many indigenous peoples derive their distinct identities from their relationship with the forests.”

So indigenous peoples see REDD differently from governments, the United Nations and their allies and corporate partners. To indigenous peoples

REDD means
Reaping profits from
Evictions, land grabs
Deforestation and
Destruction of biodiversity

Further, it means loss of land, scams, threats to cultural survival, militarization, gangsters, corruption of sacred spaces, plantations, GMO trees, clear cutting, and more deforestation

But it does not have to be this way, the Indigenous Environmental Network says.  Reducing deforestation requires

Demarcating and issuing title to Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories where most forests and 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity are found because Indigenous Peoples have sustainably managed them for millennia!

Declaring and enforcing bans on deforestation

Addressing underlying causes of deforestation

Stopping large-scale monoculture tree plantations and agro-fuels production

Reducing demand for pulp and paper and restructuring the logging industry

Declaring moratoria on new fossil fuel exploitation, mega-hydro dams and metal and mineral extraction on Indigenous Peoples’ traditional lands and territories

Supporting non-market financial mechanisms for the full phase-out of fossil fuels development within and near traditional lands and territories of Indigenous Peoples (without nuclear power and with a just transition to sustainable jobs, energy and environment)

If this is too far out for some, it is certainly a good starting place in a shared global land.

Sources and notes

From the archives of http://www.ienearth.org/REDD/index.html

Indigenous Environmental Network

Indigenous Environmental Network was formed in the United States in 1990 by grassroots Indigenous peoples and others to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ).

Its activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect Indigenous peoples’ sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of people and all living things; and to build economically sustainable communities.

The Indigenous Environmental Network maintains an informational clearinghouse, organizes campaigns, direct actions and public awareness; builds capacity in community and tribes to address economic justice (EJ) issues and develop initiatives to affect policy; and builds alliances among Indigenous communities, tribes, inter-tribal and Indigenous organizations, people-of-color/ethnic organizations, faith-based and women groups, youth, labor, environmental organizations and others.

IEN convenes local, regional and national meetings on environmental and economic justice issues, and provides support, resources and referral to Indigenous communities and youth throughout primarily North America but also worldwide. http://www.ienearth.org/about.html


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