Whoever titled the sections had a definite sense of humor...
GMOS and Peru: The Debate Continues
In Peru, the debate over the introduction of GMOs into the country has been very public, involving a plethora of participants such as scientists, chefs, farmers, restaurant owners, politicians, and far-ranging members of civil society. Several Peruvian regions, including Cusco, Lambayeque, Huánuco, Ayacucho, and San Martín, were the first to declare themselves “GMO-free zones.”[i] Lima soon joined as the newest GMO-free zone in late April.[ii] This move came just days after President Alan García and former Peruvian Minister of Agriculture Rafael Quevedo had signed Supreme Decree 003-2011-AG on April 15.[iii]
The decree, which was actually drawn up two years ago, set up an agency to regulate the research, production, and trade of GMOs.[iv] Rafael Quevedo, who has since resigned from office due to intense criticism surrounding his stance on GMOs, claimed that the order was merely “a regulation which tries to eliminate errors, control the use of genetically modified organisms, and make sure they don’t come into the country if they are found to be a risk.”[v] However, many citizens felt that the decree paved the way for a flood of transgenic products into the country, which could hurt its rich biodiversity and its growing market for high quality organic products. The immediate backlash against the signing of the decree indicated that there, indeed, existed widespread support for a GMO-free Peru. Such indications were soon confirmed, as Peru’s Congress recently repealed the decree on June 8 by a 56 to 0 vote, with two abstentions.[vi] The bill has placed a “10-year moratorium on the entrance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for cultivation and breeding or any other type of transgenic products.”[vii] However, the transgenic battle in Peru is far from decidedly won, as the moratorium simply puts the heated spar on a temporary hold.
BRUSSELS, Jun 2, 2011 (IPS) - For years, European governments and corporations have made use of a loophole in the Kyoto protocol on climate change to make exorbitant profits. According to some sources, this lucrative scheme has caused more pollution than ever before.
The Kyoto protocol allows European companies to ‘offset’ their excess emissions of greenhouse gases by buying emissions reductions in developing nations. This provision is called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The eligibility of the overseas projects and the issuance of emission credits - which in this case are called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) - are controlled by a council at the U.N., the CDM Executive Board.
In June 2010, two environmental NGOs - CDM Watch, based in Bonn, and Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), with offices in Washington, DC and London - discovered that European governments and corporations were grossly misusing the CDM. Fifty-nine percent of all CERs originated from the same 19 projects, though a total of 2,800 projects were registered. These 19 projects all produced HCFC-22, a refrigerant gas that is banned in the U.S. and Europe under the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer because of its ozone-depleting properties. In developing countries the gas must be phased out by 2030.
HCFC-22 is also a ‘super green house gas’ that is 1,810 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, HFC-23, the unwanted by-product of the manufacture of HCFC-22, is 11,700 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.
When the producers of the refrigerant choose to burn the by-product HFC-23 instead of venting it into the air, they are eligible for heaps of credits under the CDM. Burning one tonne of HFC-23 would bring in 11,700 CERs or emission credits for the plant burning the gas.
It turned out this was a very lucrative business. Burning the equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide only cost 25 U.S. cents while the credits could be sold on the European market for not less than 19 dollars.
These projects soon attracted Western investment banks that wanted to share in the profits: JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Rabobank and Fortis. Next to these banks, the Italian, Dutch and British governments appear several times on the list of investors. Large energy companies including E.ON (Germany), Nuon (Netherlands), RWE (Germany), Enel (Italy) and Electrabel (Belgium) are also involved as project participants. MORE
Business Lobby Resists Ban on ‘Perverse' Emissions - Part 2
Just weeks before the 2010 U.N. COP16 climate talks in Cancún, Europe’s climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard proposed a ban on all HFC-credits in the European system of emissions trading (ETS) to take effect Jan. 1, 2013. On that date, the second phase of the ETS is due to end, after which new rules could apply.
Industry lobby groups and business organisations resisted the ban. Brussels-based NGOCorporate Europe Observatory made use of Freedom of Information Regulations here to obtain documents and reconstructed the full story.
BusinessEurope is the most influential lobby group in Brussels, representing 40 industrial and employers’ federations from 34 European countries. In October 2010, BusinessEurope’s Director- General Philippe de Buck sent a letter to Hedegaard and Commissioner of Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani in which he spells out his opposition to limiting the use of credits from the CDM.
BusinessEurope also made use of a new employee, who had just finished three years of work at the European Commission of Enterprise and Industry. In an email to his former colleagues at the Commission, this employee refers to a recent goodbye drink and expresses his wish to keep on working together in his new lobbying function. In an attachment, he forwarded the position paper of BusinessEurope - which opposes the ban.
in the United States Renewing Manufacturing Jobs While Protecting Health and the Environment PDF Report.
Study on Benefits of a Green Chemical Industry
James Heintz: People think the EPA can regulate dangerous chemicals, but current legislation is not effective
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. In 1976, an act was passed called the Toxic Substance Control Act. It grandfathered about 62,000 chemicals and, according to most critics, was rather weak in enforcing chemical companies to really disclose to the EPA what their chemicals were made of. It put the burden of proof onto the EPA to prove that these substances would not cause harm, where the chemical companies did not have any burden, really, of proof on them. And as a result, there was a new act that's been proposed. It's called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. It was introduced by Senator Lautenberg from New Jersey, and he produced a little video on YouTube to introduce his act. And here's a little clip from it. MORE
Study: Regulating Dangerous Chemicals Does Not Cost Jobs
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. According to a new report, even low-end estimates of health costs of exposure to hazardous industrial chemicals amount to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars. In terms of children's health outcomes, 100 percent of cases of lead poisoning are a result of chemical exposure, 10 to 35 percent of asthma cases, 2 to 10 percent of certain cancers, and 5 to 20 percent of neurological problems. In California, in regard to deaths specifically linked to occupational health and safety factors, 80 to 90 percent of cancer deaths, 100 percent of occupational lung disease deaths, 40 to 50 percent of deaths associated with neurological disorders, and 40 to 50 percent of deaths associated with renal disorders [are] attributable to industrial chemical exposures. As a result of these kinds of statistics, many people are calling for a reform of the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. But chemical industry associations and defenders say any reform, any more regulation, will lead to less jobs, more outsourcing of production. Well, a new study by James Heinz and Robert Pollin of the PERI institute, sponsored by the Blue Green Alliance, has actually come to the conclusion that more regulation would lead to more jobs, not less. Now joining us from Amherst, Massachusetts, is one of the authors of that study, James Heinz. Thanks for joining us, James.MORE
http://www.ted.com Van Jones lays out a case against plastic pollution from the perspective of social justice. Because plastic trash, he shows us, hits poor people and poor countries "first and worst," with consequences we all share no matter where we live and what we earn. At TEDxGPGP, he offers a few powerful ideas to help us reclaim our throwaway planet.
Kenyans fear Dakatcha Woodlands biofuel expansion (by Will Ross)
Sitting in the shade of a tree beside his thatched mud hut in in Kenya's Dakatcha Woodlands, Joshua Kahindi Pekeshe is defiant, "We are not going to let this land go even if it means shedding blood," he told the BBC. "Land is very important to us. We farm and get our livelihood from it. On this land we bury our dead."
He is one of the many people opposed to the creation of a large biofuel plantation in the area, about an hour's drive inland from the coastal town of Malindi. It is an arid area and home to some 20,000 people as well as globally threatened animal and bird species. An Italian company has asked the authorities for permission to lease 50,000 hectares there to grow jatropha, whose seeds are rich in oil that can be turned into bio-diesel. This plant, originally from South America, has long been grown in Africa as a hedge to keep out animals - goats stay well away as it is poisonous. The area affected is community land which is being held in trust by the local council.
Kenya Jatropha Energy Ltd is 100%-owned by the Milan-based Nuove Iniziative Industriali SRL. It has leased almost a million hectares in Africa; jatropha oil from a plantation in Senegal is being supplied to the Swedish furniture retailer Ikea. Other companies have leased land for the same purpose in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Ghana, as well as in India. This expansion has been spurred by the European Union, which has set ambitious goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing its reliance on imported oil. The 27 EU nations have signed up to a directive which states that by 2020, 20% of fuel should be from sustainable sources.
Why is Africa affected? Because it is difficult to find 50,000 hectares of available land to grow a biofuel crop in, for example, the UK or Italy. But campaign groups have labelled some of the projects in Africa "land grabs" with dire consequences for the often voiceless African communities.
Some ask: "Why 'feed' a car in Europe when hunger at home is still a reality?"
( Full text of article for archiving purposes. )
BRUSSELS and DAR ES SALAAM, Mar 9, 2011 (IPS/Freereporter) - An ambitious project to produce clean energy for the Netherlands and Belgium has degenerated into a controversial abuse of natural resources in Africa.
Bioshape, a clean energy company based in Neer, the Netherlands, is going through bankruptcy proceedings after spending 9.6 million dollars on a failed biofuel project in Tanzania. In 2006, the company agreed to lease 80,000 hectares of coastal woodland in the southern district of Kilwa to grow jatropha, a shrub whose seeds contain an oil that can be processed into green fuel.
Bioshape planned to employ thousands of local farmers and export seeds from Tanzania to the Netherlands, where they would be processed to produce electricity, heat and biodiesel. Jatropha is one of the preferred feedstocks for fuel produced from plant material. Commonly called biofuel - agrofuel to its critics - such fuel is supposed to be less polluting than traditional fossil fuels.Except that they proceeded collude with local authorities to bilk the villagers out of their land
*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*