At a glance and many edges: Follow insensitivity and denial in the face of climate chaos

At a glance and many edges: Follow insensitivity and denial in the face of climate chaos

"With this glance we reiterate our position on new developments, facing COP25 in December 2019, but above all, in the perpetual term of the peoples' struggles."

In number 62 ofBiodiversity, livelihood and cultures, in October 2009, just ten years ago, we said to present another Glimpse of many edges entitled Climate crisis and deceptive patches, that “neither the officials of the multilateral international agencies nor of the private governments, much less the private companies are facing the climate crisis that the planet is experiencing.

They do not face it in all its magnitude or in its origins. They do not touch the interests that promote it. They do not encourage the real responses that could, if not remedy it (because its complexity is very extreme), at least slow it down or slow down its possible and soon outbreak and perhaps then put the world on track in another more possible, just and respectful direction ”.

We added that the extreme planetary imbalance could not be traced by following industrial and pseudoscientific patches that privilege geoengineering or financial solutions — which in reality promote more deforestation, desertification and alteration.

These are not going to end if we do not recognize that not everyone or everyone suffers from crises immediately, and for this reason, large corporations continue to search for how to continue doing business while washing their faces and preparing to say that they listen to those who blame them. As long as the show of your earnings continues to raise the curtain. We reiterate with this glance our position on new developments, facing COP25 in December 2019, but above all, in the perpetual term of the peoples' struggles.

Everyone's house is on fire”, Repeats Greta Thunberg in his speeches, and that if something is not done against climate change, the future will be a great desolation. But the truth, say indigenous, black and migrant communities organized in the Wretched of The Earth collective, is that “desolation is not something of the future. For those of us who are indigenous, blue-collar, black, queer, trans, or disabled, structural violence is the only inheritance we receive at birth. Our house has long been on fire: when the tide of ecological violence rises, our communities, especially in the Global South, are the first to be affected. We are the first to face poor air quality, famines, public health crises, drought, floods and displacement.

The organization Rebellion Against Extinction says "LThe science is clear: it is understood that we are facing an unprecedented global emergency. We are in a life or death situation that we have caused ourselves. We must act now”. Perhaps they do not realize that when they focus on science, they have stopped seeing the fire and seeing us: they ignore our stories of struggle, dignity, victory and resilience.

They stop seeing the vast intergenerational knowledge and our unity with nature that we peoples have. The native communities remember that we are not apart from nature and that protecting the environment is protecting ourselves. To survive, communities in the Global South insist on imagining and building a future of new worlds free from the violence of capitalism.

We must put those experiences in the center and recognize that knowledge now. Our communities have long been on fire and those flames are fanned when we are excluded and silenced. If our experiences are not incorporated, no response to disaster can change the social, economic and political complexities that shape our lives.

Some will move on to a better life and others will continue to pay the cost. Imagining a future where we are freed from the root causes of the climate crisis - capitalism, extractivism, racism, sexism, classism, and many other systems of oppression - the climate movement must reflect the complex realities of life in the world. all, each and every, one, of us in his narrative. Open letter from The Wretched of the Earth to Rebellion Against Extinction, published in Red Pepper, May 3, 2019.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) filter a preview of a study on the relationship between soils, agriculture and climate change. It is a powerful wake-up call for the forces that threaten to disfigure the biosphere and destroy the human species. The analysis emphasizes land use, food production, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The IPCC warning states that agriculture, livestock and forestry generate 23% of total GHG emissions each year. On the other hand, the IPCC recalls that the soils of the planet are responsible for absorbing 30% of the carbon dioxide emitted each year by industry and the energy sector. As soils are degraded, their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) is reduced and their productive capacity is limited. This increases the concentration of GHG in the atmosphere and aggravates climate change, which again generates greater soil degradation. The risk of unleashing a vicious cumulative cycle is very high today.

The IPCC report is important, but, as always with these assessments of global environmental destruction, it suffers from a serious omission: it does not contain any substantive reference to the economic forces that are driving this environmental degradation.Alejandro Nadal, “Capitalism, agriculture and climate change, The Day, 20th of August, 2019

We understand that at the heart of the crisis that threatens the planet are behaviors, positions and power structureswhich are the root for human rights violations, discrimination and inequities. We must stop assuming ecosystems as export commodities if we want to protect human rights, conserve our planet and its climate - and understand that human dignity and rights depend on the fabric of life.

To achieve climate justice, we must recognize the climate emergency that threatens human survival, the environment and the enjoyment of all human rights, for current and future generations. We must also recognize that although the climate crisis is a global problem that affects all of us, it disproportionately affects people, groups and peoples in situations of vulnerability, those whose rights are violated and those who are subjected to multiple and intersecting forms of violence. discrimination. The climate crisis also impacts countries unevenly. It results in increased conflict and political instability, increased food insecurity, displacement, and migration. It is urgent to challenge States and anti-rights groups that use this climate collapse and environmental protection, as excuses to deny human rights.

We condemn the failure of States to take adequate measures to mitigate climate change, particularly those States that are most responsible for the crisis and that control the most resources. This failure represents a state violation of its obligations towards human rights. Likewise, not taking sufficient and effective measures to increase the possibilities of facing the damages of climate change, inside and outside, perpetuates these violations — especially for those who are the most marginalized and least likely to deal with the crisis.

[…] The States have been complicit in the corporate perpetuation of climate change and have not regulated the actions of the corporations or guaranteed accountability for the abuses of rights committed, or for environmental damage, despite the fact that they have the legal obligation to do so.

Indeed, many states support policies, including trade and investment treaties, that promote and grant corporate privileges, benefits, and impunity to climate-damaging industries.

Certain businesses - particularly the fossil fuel industry and large agribusiness consortia - together with their funders, are at the center of destroying our climate. Many businesses have disregarded their responsibility and respect for human rights, which contributes to violations of the rights of women, children, indigenous peoples, local communities, and other extremely affected groups. They also contribute to the destruction of ecosystems across the planet. In particular, the fossil fuel industry has known about the impacts of its products for decades and has done nothing to alert its investors, the public, communities, and shareholders, while engaging in sophisticated campaigns to misinform and promote the denial of climate change.Declaration of the People's Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival, September 18, 2019

In an unprecedented movement, more than 200 representatives of indigenous peoples, labor, academic, environmental and human rights groups adopted a declaration, calling on governments and corporations to step out of the emergency to guarantee the survival of humanity. This occurred within the framework of the People's Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival, organized by the United Nations Human Rights Office, Greenpeace International, Amnesty International, The Center for International Environmental Law, Wallace Global Fund, and the New York University School of Law Center of Human Rights and Global Justice.

Philip Alston, Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University, said: “Climate change has been called a 'false alarm', but it is a danger that will end up killing many of our children, and at least some of us. Every day we read of large numbers of people who die from exposure to heat, or who die in floods and fires, or who have to flee their homes. But we delude ourselves that it won't happen to us. While many of us get distracted or strive to live a normal life, future disasters, being possibilities, became certainties. Human rights as we know them will cease to make sense unless we act immediately. "Amnesty International, “Two hundred environmental and human rights leaders pledge to tackle climate emergency together”, 18 September 2019.

If we consider that at least two-thirds of tropical deforestation comes from commercial agriculture, commitments were, and are, a whole issue. If the New York Declaration (against deforestation) were fulfilled, carbon pollution would be cut by between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tons per year — something equivalent to current US emissions.

But if the forests keep falling, who do we blame? Global Canopy publishes an annual count known as the Forest 500, which tracks 350 highly influential corporations and 150 financial institutions navigating the supply chains of goods that pose risks to forests (palm oil, soybeans, livestock, timber products). The bottom line is that while companies making commitments are increasing every year, there is a serious gap in implementation. Some of the findings in this report are:

* More than 40% of the companies listed do nothing to tackle deforestation in their supply chains, whether it is palm oil, soy, cattle, wood, pulp and paper.

* Almost a third of these made commitments but did not include policies to specify them, such as publishing the list of their direct suppliers or verifying their compliance.

[…] Livestock is the main driver of tropical deforestation on a global scale, yet companies in the livestock supply chain are the least compliant. According to the report, only 16% of companies involved in hides or livestock have commitments to forests.Adria Vasil, “Why not even one company is on track to meet 2020 deforestation pledges, March 22, 2019 -deforestation-2020-pledges-15532412 /

The expansion of oil palm plantationsit generally takes place at the cost of transforming natural ecosystems, especially humid tropical forests. This has dire effects, because such forests are home to very traditional populations who have learned over millennia to understand the forest and to use it while respecting its natural dynamics. In addition, the destruction of the forest implies the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) —one of the greenhouse gases, whose accumulation in the atmosphere is responsible for global warming and the consequent climate change. If a comparative CO2 balance is made between the two systems (the forest and the plantations), we will see that tropical forests, due to their complexity, store and fix much more carbon.

Palm plantations, like any large-scale monoculture, demand a large amount of inputs based on fossil fuels that release carbon. They require pesticides, due to the large number of pests and diseases that infest these plantations, as well as herbicides, to combat any species of plant that is not palm that can compete for water and nutrients. All of this produces another carbon imbalance, in addition to the fact that agro-diesel produced from palm oil is generally destined for export. The transportation process that this requires generates more CO2 emissions.

The European consumer using palm oil or agrodiesel produced in a tropical country may have the feeling that they are using a 'green' or 'green' fuel. But it ignores that this fuel has traveled from the other side of the world, burning fossil fuels along its journey, and what is more serious, destroying the way of life of hundreds of local communities and natural ecosystems.

For all this, palm plantations not only aggravate climate change but also have an impact on the ecosystems and the communities where they are established.Elizabeth Bravo, Institute for Ecological Studies of the Third World, Ecuador,Newsletter of the Global Movement for Tropical Forests(wrm), 21 September 2009

Oil palm was supposed to be the next “new frontier”. A "mutually beneficial relationship" that would be a win-win business: for struggling nations in Africa and for multinational producers who are running out of land in Southeast Asia. The time has come for that continent [Africa], declared the palm oil executives. Others simply said that the lucrative merchandise was "coming home." For a while, everyone wanted to be in the action. But a new report, written by an assembly of local and international groups working with affected communities, say that this "homecoming" is not being as smooth and fluid as its architects assumed.

After years of fierce resistance from communities living within demarcated areas to plant oil palm plantations, at least 27 new plantations have failed or were abandoned. Of the 49 that remain in West Africa or Central Africa, they have barely managed to develop less than 20% of the 2 million 740 thousand hectares that they had available. "Many of the big companies have no experience in Africa," said Devlin Kuyek, one of the study's authors. "It's not the same environment they were used to."Ashoka Mukpo. “Industrial palm oil investors struggle to gain foothold in Africa,” Mongabay Series: Global Forests, September 20, 2019.

Shell is one of the top ten climate pollutants, and since 1980it operates with the awareness that burning oil and gas could have disastrous consequences for the planet. But the company continues to spend billions of dollars prospecting for more oil and gas fields, spending an additional $ 49 million each year to lobby for fossil-friendly policies.

Shell has been implicated (at least its executives knew) in numerous assassinations, torture or rapes perpetrated by paramilitary forces in Nigeria during the 1990s. Its current activities in Groningen, the Netherlands, are the cause of earthquakes and the destruction of homes.

Today, ENI and Shell are pushing a dangerous new tactic. ENI announced plans to plant 8.1 million hectares of trees in Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

CEO Claudio Descalzi announced in his March 2019 strategic update the goal of "achieving zero emissions in our upstream business by 2030." Shell presented its 2019 plan to reduce its net carbon footprint "by 2% -3%".

The plan will include the reforestation of false forests, offering carbon credits to its clients so that they can offset their emissions. Shell also promotes the controversial REDD + (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) schemes, which not only fail to reduce greenhouse gases but also lead to the violation of human and environmental rights and the exacerbation of corruption. and the corporate co-optation of vital funds to fight climate change. REDD + projects reduce nature to merchandise and local communities are evicted from their lands in the name of "conservation" or end up employed by private conservationists while their traditional land management practices disappear.

Meanwhile, holding communities responsible for deforestation makes the role of large corporations invisible as central actors in environmental destruction.Letter ofNGO opposing the Oil Industry's Nature-Based Solutions and demanding that Eni and Shell keep fossil fuels in the ground. in-the-ground /

In saying that the development of the auto industry is the mistress of global capital accumulation, you have to look at the space where motor vehicles are consumed. This is one of the causes of global warming. They produce only 80 million cars a year and 20 million are overproduced. What the powerful need now is not to regulate global warming, "that's not the problem." What they need is to keep the growth rate of the auto industry high. It is not serious that the north polar cap melts, but that the oil that exists on the planet, half that was produced 400 million years ago, is already over. The other half remains. In 150 years of oil use, half of it is finished.

In the idea of ​​maintaining the industrial growth rate, the urban growth rate, the current dynamics of the planet, it is calculated that the other half of oil reserves are used for 30 more years. Because the idea that companies have is to keep the demand for oil high, not to leave it there in the ground and waste it. It is about putting it into the dynamics of global accumulation but, yes, “burning it in an ecological way”. That it can be burned complying with the Kyoto Protocols or some new protocol that is invented.

The real danger continues to be the auto industry and the oil boss and nothing is done to regulate the source of global warming, which is world transportation. It is not only a problem in the cities - of course it is concentrated there. It is distributed all over the planet and has to do with madness: it is not only motor vehicles, it is the network of airplanes - one that is growing brutally and also has problems of overproduction.

It is also the brutal amount of oil that ships dump due to the use of oil fuel, when they navigate the planet; the contamination of all transport networks, runaway with this intermodal revolution that multiplies and integrates them as a global automaton.

Communication networks also generate a pollution problem that has to do with the unlimited development of all cities throughout the planet in a brutal urbanization dynamic that not only generates global warming but also the destruction of the water cycle.

All this wave of new technologies —from genetic engineering to nanotechnology, or geoengineering, these new devices that the cutting-edge companies invent — are accumulating an enormous amount of contingencies (technical, environmental) that add up in a logic of chaos very huge.Andrés Barreda, Agrofuels do not solve anything and the United States is addicted to oil, Conference at the University of Montevideo, April, 2007,Biodiversity 54, October 2007

Truths and lies about deforestation and climate change. The indigenous peoples of Guatemala, Bolivia and Brazil are between six and 22 times more effective in safeguarding their “protected areas” than their own governments. Its forests have drastically lower deforestation rates and capture more carbon dioxide per hectare. Although farmers are accused of being responsible for deforestation, in Indonesia (the country in the world with the highest rates of forest loss), about 90% of deforestation is attributable to large private companies that sell their palm crops oil mill to even larger transnational food processors. In Latin America, 71% of the loss of forests is due to the increase of industrial livestock. In Central America, the change of land use from forests to forages destroyed almost 40% of the forests in 40 years. 75% of the deforested land in the Brazilian Amazon is occupied by ranchers. More than 90% of tropical timber is traded illegally. The agro-industrial chain and governments always underreport exploitation and damage to forests.

• According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), between 50% and 90% of commercial logging of tropical timber is illegal or underreported.

• In 2014, the satellites calculated the existing biomass in the Amazon with an error of 25%.

• Between 1990 and 2010, the rate of loss of forests and rainforests accelerated by 62% instead of decreasing by 25% as claimed.

• It is accepted as a scientific fact that the life expectancy of tropical trees has decreased 33% since the 1980s: trees grow faster but die earlier.

These miscalculations mean that the volume of carbon captured by the Amazon annually since the 1990s was not 2 billion tons, but only half.

Peasants are accused of being responsible for deforestation, but the primary wood products industry focuses on 0.5% of known trees (450), while peasants and indigenous forest communities care for 80 thousand forest species for food , shelter, clothing and medicine. Forests and savannas provide between 10 and 15% of the world's food and as mentioned before, they are cared for by their inhabitants, not the governments of the countries where they are located.GroupETC, Who will feed us? The peasant network or the agro-industrial chain?2017: 11, "Who protects our forests and the food that comes from them?"

The famous biochar that involves developing extensive tree plantationsto later burn its biomass to turn it into charcoal, and then bury it —which supposedly “sequesters carbon into the soil and increases the fertility of the soil,” is a rather risky extrapolation of the ancestral practices of certain Amazonian peoples that for millennia have promoted increased fertility of their soils with coal (the so-calledterra preta or "dark land"). But the process took millennia. What is now proposed, with great ignorance and irresponsibility, is to maximize the intensity of the process (and its scale) to make it "viable" in a few months, or weeks, or instantly. In other words, biochar ends up being one more of the industrial experiments, in this case very violent and extremely harmful, which promotes monoculture, fertilizers, the homogenization of biodiversity and the expulsion of peasants from their lands to supposedly mitigate climate change with more heat. How to put gasoline on the fire.Biochar; like putting gasoline on the fire,Biodiversity 61, p. 52

A coalition of startups, consultants and some soil specialists promote a new "solution"for climate change: converting large amounts of wood and other types of biomass to a fine charcoal dust (euphemistically calledbiochar, “Biological charcoal”, charcoal in English) that would be applied to agricultural soils. […]

Charcoal is not itself a fertilizer. Indigenous farmers managed to combine it with organic residues to add more fertility to soils, but what biochar advocates propose would require stripping large tracts of land of plant residues from crops and forests to make charcoal, in a very different process. Widespread waste disposal depletes the soil and increases the likelihood of erosion, leaving forests more vulnerable and less biodiverse. It would also cause dependence on fossil fuel-based fertilizers, because the residues will no longer return to the soil.

The potential for soil and air pollution, which could be serious, has not been taken into account.

There is no such amount of waste that can produce the amounts of charcoal advertised. Wood is the type of biomass from which more charcoal is obtained, and it would require large quantities and at low cost. Industrial tree plantations are the most likely source of large-scale biochar. The advertised “potential” of billions of tons of biochar is based on the false idea that there are vast areas of “abandoned” farmland that could be appropriated, as if people, biodiversity and climate were not dependent on land. that are not yet under a monoculture regime. The same arguments have been used to justify the appropriation of large areas of grassland, community lands and forests, with disastrous consequences for people and also for the climate, since when trees and other vegetation are cut down, and plowed land, large amounts of carbon are released, and along with people other agricultural activities are pushed into the remaining forests.

Proposals to include biochar in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Convention on Climate Change are not limited to “waste”. The first mdl methodology to dedicate tree plantations to charcoal as fuel has already been approved for the Plantar company in Minas Gerais, Brazil. It applies to charcoal as fuel but if biochar advocates have their way, we may have many more eucalyptus and other monocultures for charcoal, which means more land grabs and more catastrophes for indigenous peoples and peasants. of the southern countries.Almuth Ernsting, BiofuelWatch, UK, Newsletter of the Global Movement for Tropical Forests(wrm), 21 September 2009

After the Warsaw conference, a look at the proposals on the tableit shows that they just mean getting on with business as usual: new genetically modified seeds developed by biotech corporations, more chemical fertilizers and pesticides produced by agrochemical giants, and more "biointensive" industrial crops. “Climate-savvy agriculture has become the new motto of the agricultural research establishment and the corporate sector, in order to position itself as the solution to the food and climate crises,” says Pat Mooney of the ETC Group. For the peasants of the world, there is nothing smart about this agriculture. It's just another way of promoting the technologies that corporations control so that they invade their plots and strip them of their land.

At the same time, those corporations are developing other high-risk technologies, ranging from biotechnology to nanotechnology and synthetic biology. Their impacts are not clearly understood and are technologies that could further throw our already fragile planet out of control rather than remedy climate and environmental crises.

The central role of agriculture, which is to feed people and provide livelihoods to farmers around the world, must be defended, insists Elizabeth Mpofu of Via Campesina. “The rights over our parcels, territories, seeds and natural resources must remain in our hands so that we are able to produce food and take care of our Mother Earth as we peasants have done for centuries. We will not allow carbon markets to turn our hard work into carbon sinks so that the world's polluters can just go about their business. "Via Campesina,GRAIN and GroupETC, “Climate Summit: Don't Turn Peasants Into Carbon Traffickers 'With Climate Cunning'”, November 7, 2013.

Hay cinco pasos inescapables en busca de una agricultura que ayude a remediar la crisis climática.

1. Un viraje hacia métodos sustentables e integrados de producción. Las separaciones artificiales y las simplificaciones que trajo consigo la agricultura industrial deben deshacerse, y hay que reunir de nuevo los diferentes elementos que conforman los sistemas agrícolas sustentables. Los cultivos y los animales deben reintegrarse de nuevo en la finca. La biodiversidad agrícola tiene que tornarse, de nuevo, el fundamento de la producción alimentaria y debe reactivarse el sistema de cuidado e intercambio de semillas. Los fertilizantes y los plaguicidas químicos deben sustituirse por formas naturales de mantener el suelo saludable y de controlar plagas y enfermedades. Reestructurar así el sistema alimentario ayudará a crear las condiciones que permitan emisiones cercanas a cero en las fincas.

2. Reconstituir el suelo y retener el agua. Tenemos que tomar el suelo en serio. Necesitamos un esfuerzo global masivo para volver a juntar materia orgánica en los suelos, y así devolverle fertilidad. Décadas de maltrato de suelos con químicos en algunos lugares, y la erosión de los suelos en otras partes, dejaron los suelos exhaustos. Los suelos saludables, ricos en materia orgánica, pueden retener enormes cantidades de agua, que serán necesarios para crearle al sistema agrícola la flexibilidad y el aguante necesarios como para resistir las crisis climática y de agua que ya se ciernen sobre nosotros. Aumentar la materia orgánica en los suelos de todo el mundo ayudará a capturar cantidades sustanciales del actual exceso de CO2 que hay en la atmósfera.

3. Desindustrializar la agricultura, ahorrar energía y mantener a la gente en su tierra. La agricultura familiar en pequeña escala debe volver a ser el fundamento de la producción de alimentos. Haber permitido la enorme acumulación de empresas de agricultura mega-industrial que producen mercancías para el mercado internacional en lugar de comida para la gente, provoca ámbitos rurales vacíos, ciudades sobrepobladas y la destrucción de muchos modos de sustento y cultura. Desindustrializar la agricultura ayudaría también a terminar con el tremendo desperdicio de energía que ahora produce el sistema de agricultura industrial.

4. Cultivar en las inmediaciones y cortar el comercio internacional. Uno de los principios de la soberanía alimentaria es priorizar los mercados locales sobre el comercio internacional. El comercio internacional de alimentos en consorcio con las industrias de procesamiento y los supermercados en cadena son quienes más contribuyen a la crisis climática. Todo esto puede detenerse en gran medida si se reorienta la producción de alimentos a los mercados locales y a la subsistencia familiar, comunitaria. Lograr esto es probablemente la lucha más dura de todas, ya que el poder corporativo se ha concentrado en mantener el sistema de comercio creciendo y en expansión. Y muchos gobiernos están felices con esto. Algo que debe cambiar si somos serios en nuestra respuesta a la crisis climática.

5. Cortar la economía de la carne y buscar una dieta más sana. Tal vez la transformación más profunda y destructiva que conlleva el sistema alimentario industrial es la industrialización del sector ganadero. Lo que solía ser una parte integral y sustentable de los modos de vida rurales, es ahora un sistema de fábricas mega-industriales de carne diseminadas por todo el mundo, controladas por unos cuantos. La economía de la carne a nivel internacional, que creció cinco veces en las últimas décadas, contribuye a la crisis climática de un modo enorme. Es parte del problema de obesidad en los países ricos, y ha destruido —mediante subsidios y comercio desleal— la producción local de carne en los países pobres. Esto debe detenerse, y las tendencias de consumo, especialmente en los países ricos, deben alejarse de la carne. El mundo necesita regresar a un sistema descentralizado de producción y distribución de carne, organizado de acuerdo a las necesidades de la gente. Deben restaurarse y recuperarse los mercados que surten carne de pequeñas fincas a los mercados locales, a precios justos. Debe frenarse el comercio desleal a nivel internacional. GRAIN, Cinco pasos urgentes, recuadro de “El fracaso del sistema alimentario transnacional”,

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