Visit MCJ West for Action, Updates, and More!
CONNECT

enter your email for updates

MCJ on Facebook!
MCJ West on Facebook!
Follow the MCJ on Twitter!




COP15 Gears What happened at the Copenhagen Climate Talks?
Visit Rising Tide North America's
WhatIsCOP15.net



View N30 Actions (U.S.) in a larger map

Browse by Topic

Archive for November, 2011

by Jeff Conant – November 28, 2011

First published in Earth Island Journal

Like the parable of the three blind men coming upon an elephant and determining, each on his own, that this thing before them is a tree trunk, or an enormous boulder, or a thick scaly snake, one’s perspective on the events here at COP17, the UN Climate Summit kicking off today in Durban, South Africa, reflects one’s position and willingness to grope with searching hands in the dark.

But no matter where you come from, if you are actually concerned about the climate crisis, it’s going to be an ugly two weeks.

The science tells us that maintaining global temperature rise to 2 degrees centigrade – the current best case scenario – will lead to the inundation of coastal areas, loss of glaciers, and a tremendous toll in human lives and species lost, but may – just may – prevent what climatologist James Hansen calls, forebodingly, the “Venus Syndrome.” But given the gridlock in the UN negotiations and the absolute unwillingness of the most polluting nations to reduce their carbon emissions, a mere 2-degree rise is increasingly unlikely.

The politics, by and large, revolves around a tug of war between the wealthiest and most polluting nations ( whose goal is to maintain steady economic growth, though this dooms us to the Venutian future), the so-called emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, and South Africa (whose goal is to grow large enough, fast enough, to gain a hearty middle class, while doing their fair share to contribute to Venus-on-Earth), and the poorer nations (whose struggle, as always, is just to survive). And, finally there is the great, multitudinous, heterogeneous beast we call civil society – those of us who represent neither national interests, nor ‘scientific’ concerns (though climate science forms a strong basis for our positions). Civil society in its bulk is the vast representation of women, Indigenous Peoples, youth, peasant farmers, labor, and ordinary folk who come to be gathered under such technocratic nomenclatures as “the poor,” “the vulnerable,” “the marginalized populations,” and now, in the powerful parlance of the Occupy movement, “the 99 percent.”

For the 99 percent, the climate crisis is neither about settling a scientific debate (the scientists have that pretty well sealed up), nor about safeguarding an already dubious multilateral agenda (if the 16 previous Conferences of Parties haven’t forged a solution, why should we expect one now?) Rather, it is about ethics, about human rights, and specifically the rights that UN parlance calls economic, social and cultural rights (food, water, shelter, health, political participation). For many, in short, the concern in Durban – as in Cancun and Copenhagen previously – is for justice.

The previous climate summits have made it painfully clear that, at the top levels, government ministers, heads of state, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) itself, is more about form than content. Last year, in Cancun, after the spectacular debacle of the failed talks in 2009 at Copenhagen, the concern among global leaders was less about saving the climate than about saving face.  Those clamoring for justice in Cancun – a delegation of thousands from civil society – were fenced out, and kept literally miles away from the talks. They were the 99 percent.

The Cancun Agreements, as the latest global climate accord is called, sealed in a process that abandoned mandatory global greenhouse gas reduction goals – the essential purpose of the Kyoto Protocol – for a voluntary system with no global goals at all.

Since the first Conference of the Parties, in 1994, annual CO2 emissions have risen by around 40 percent globally. Part of the blame can be laid on the market-based mechanisms ensconced in the Kyoto Protocol from the beginning, such as pollution offsets, carbon markets, and the Clean Development Mechanism (an arrangement to have ‘clean’ projects in the Global South earn credits they then sell to speculators on the carbon market). Each of these market-based efforts at climate mitigation has proven inadequate at best and counterproductive at worst.

The reality is that to stave off the Venus Syndrome – indeed, to maintain temperature rise to 2°C – the better part of known reserves of fossil fuels must remain untouched in the ground. But to the contrary, while the UN stalls and governments stonewall, corporations and the World Bank continue to invest wildly in expanding the fossil-fuel frontier through deep-sea drilling and exploitation of shale gas and tar sands, scraping the bottom of the oil barrel and locking us into a path of high emissions and a toxic future. Venus, here we come.

In a panel discussion the first afternoon of COP17, Third World Network, a highly regarded body of analysts that provides daily briefings at the UN meetings, called the plans afoot in Durban, “an elite and corporate-led agenda by the 1 percent for the 1 percent” and “a great escape for the rich countries – each country for itself according to its national priorities.”

Lim Li Lin of Third World Network says: “What the rich countries want most of all is the continuation of market mechanisms. This is so that they don’t have to reduce emissions at home but can simply continue shifting the burden to developing countries.”

Since Copenhagen in 2009, it has been increasingly clear that the goal of rich nations, insofar as one can be discerned, is to strip the Kyoto Protocol of its binding emissions reductions to protect the planet and the 99 percent, but to keep the pollution trading market mechanisms, which promise to generate so much profit for the corporate elite. Neil Tangri, Climate Change Campaign Director with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, calls it, “throwing out the baby but saving the bathwater.” Given the dire circumstances, I’d go a step further and call it drowning the baby in the bathwater.

A fluff piece in the South African Airlines in-flight magazine calls Durban the planet’s “last, best hope for a climate deal,” but it is lost on no one here that Africa, accompanied by the small island states, is already feeling the heat. Because of the particular geography of the African continent, a 2-degree rise in global temperatures could mean a rise of 4 degrees or more here. Nnimmo Bassey, the Chair of Friends of the Earth International calls it “the frying of a continent.”

Mohammad Adow, an African correspondent for Al Jazeera sitting on the Third World Network panel, noted that “the COP is taking place on the continent where humankind was born, which is also the most vulnerable continent, where hundreds of millions of people are already suffering the impacts of climate change through hunger, thirst, and displacement from their lands.”

Adow used a biblical metaphor to describe the power struggle at play: “The developed countries are not only not building the ark to save us from the great flood, they are preventing developing countries from building our own arks, as well.”

While the intransigence of the most polluting states – the US comes immediately to mind – deserves universal condemnation, it should be recognized that the US has no monopoly on stonewalling. South Africa, the setting for the negotiations, is among the most polluting of the emerging economies, with a per-capita carbon footprint higher even than that of the US. The country is a recent recipient of the largest ever World Bank loan ($3.5 billion) to build the third and fourth largest coal-fired power plants on Earth. The companies behind these projects, Sasol and Eskom, both sit on the country’s negotiating team at the COP.

Still, some have faith in the negotiations. The Climate Action Network (CAN), a group of NGOs devoted to building incremental reform through the UN process, posed the question Monday in their first daily briefing: “The science is compelling, the economics makes sense, so why are countries holding back from achieving the progress the world so badly needs?”

The question hangs in the air like a wisp of smoke among the frustrated, hopeful delegates that fill the conference halls here in Durban. But such a question is at best rhetorical, and at worst dangerously naïve, as it blithely ignores the white elephant in the room. Climate Justice Now!, the more radical civil society network that sometimes vies with CAN for space inside the negotiations, has a name for this white elephant that, thanks to the rowdy Occupiers at Wall Street and everywhere, can finally be pronounced in print. The elephant, I daresay, is called “capitalism.”

<!– Advertisement –>

28.11.2011

Durban, South Africa – At the inauguration of United Nations COP17, Global Forest Coalition has published a series of “Grimm REDD Fairy Tales” [1] to assist delegates in distinguishing truth from fiction regarding the controversial program of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation and enhancing forest carbon stocks (REDD+). Challenging the ability of REDD+ and other market mechanisms to address the underlying causes of the climate crisis, Global Forest Coalition charges that REDD+ could well be a collection of modern fairy tales – fabricated stories intended to lure the unwitting into a complex web of deception.

“It is very clear that the REDD Emperor has no clothes,” said Simone Lovera, Director of Global Forest Coalition. “That’s why we advise developing countries and local communities not bite the poisoned REDD apple.”

REDD is intended to facilitate the transfer of significant amounts of climate finance from developed to developing countries, to protect the world’s forests, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from those forests. But the program has raised widespread concern due to its failure to address issues of land tenure, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and the underlying drivers of deforestation, and its reliance on unstable carbon markets to provide financing.

A statement released on November 26 by the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA) [2] has alerted COP17 delegates to the devastating impacts that REDD+ projects are already having on Indigenous Peoples:

“REDD+ threatens the survival of Indigenous Peoples,” the statement says. “We emphasize that the inherent risks and negative impacts cannot be addressed through safeguards or other remedial measures. We insist that all actors involved in REDD+ fully respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular, the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). We caution, however, that adherence to the principle of FPIC is not a means to solve these negative impacts and this principle should not be used to justify REDD+.”

Many governments are in favor of linking REDD+ to regulatory compliance carbon markets, by selling forest carbon credits from projects in developing countries as offsets. But, with serious doubt as to the ability of the UNFCCC to reach agreement on binding emissions reduction targets, it is clear that already faltering carbon markets will not provide any stable and equitable funding for REDD+.

Fiu Mataese Elisara of Samoa, one of the drafters of the IPCCA declaration, and chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition, said, “REDD+ is a neoliberal approach and a carbon market hypocrisy, driven by trade liberalization and privatization. It is a big lie and it needs to be exposed.”

For more information, contact:

Simone Lovera, Director, Global Forest Coalition: 072 255 6678

Fiu Mataese Elisara; Chairperson, Global Forest Coalition: 078 266 7280

Jeff Conant, Media Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition: 073 623 0619

###

[1] See http://www.globalforestcoalition.org

[2] See http://climate-connections.org/2011/11/26/strong-new-indigenous-statement-against-redd-reducing-emissions-from-deforestation-scheme/

<!– Advertisement –>

Note: Even when signed onto the Kyoto Protocol, Canada was still among the leading countries in increasing annual carbon emissions–mainly due to the massive tar sands gigaproject.  So now they’re just making it official.  They do not care about the future.  So much for “friendly” Canada.  Not a big surprise to First Nations people in Canada who have long known of the government’s duplicity.

–The GJEP Team


Cross-Posted from CTVNews.ca, Sun Nov. 27 2011

Canada will announce next month that it will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, CTV News has learned.

The Harper government has tentatively planned an announcement for a few days before Christmas, CTV’s Roger Smith reported Sunday evening.

The developments come as Environment Minister Peter Kent prepares for a climate conference in Durban, South Africa that opens on Monday, with delegates from 190 countries seeking a new international agreement for cutting emissions.

Issues on the agenda include extending the Kyoto emission targets, a move being championed by Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate secretariat.

Kent said in the House of Commons on Nov. 22 he won’t sign a document at the Durban conference that extends the Kyoto targets.

“Canada goes to Durban with a number of countries sharing the same objective, and that is to put Kyoto behind us,” Kent said.

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie called the government’s decision to pull out of the Kyoto accord “disappointing.”

“It’s a really cynical and it’s a really cowardly move,” Leslie told CTV News.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the move “a very damaging act of sabotage.”

“It will reverberate around the world,” May told CTV. “Canada will be a pariah globally if it goes through with this.”

The accord is set to expire next year.

Kent told The Canadian Press that the Kyoto Protocol is out of date because it excludes major emitters among developing nations, including China, India and Brazil.

He also said that previous governments had failed to devise a strategy to hit the accord’s targets.

Those targets are now out of reach, and the Conservative government has set other, more modest targets while vowing to press the big polluters among developing nations to sign a deal with their own emissions-reduction targets.

Kent told CP in an interview ahead of the Durban conference that Canada will play hardball with developing countries to get an agreement during the climate talks.

Kent said developing countries should not be allowed to use the emissions records of wealthy nations as an excuse not to agree to lofty emissions-reduction targets.

He also said that all nations must be prepared to demonstrate their progress on whatever emissions targets are contained in any new deal.

Delegates at the conference will also be hammering out the details of a plan to administer the Green Climate Fund, money that is to help poor countries deal with climate change.

The fund is expected to grow over the next eight years to eventually distribute about $100 billion a year. However, it is still unclear where all of that money will come from and how it will be distributed.

In addition to the usual international development funds from the West, proposals include a carbon surcharge on international shipping and on air tickets, as well as a levy on international financial transactions.

According to Kent, should a binding agreement for developing countries come out of the Durban conference, the wealthier nations will be more willing to finalize a plan on the Green Climate Fund. However, he also said the fund’s future could be in jeopardy if developing nations don’t allow for international scrutiny.

During the talks, Canada will also announce its plans for its annual financial commitment of $400 million to help poorer countries tackle climate change.

Kent said most of the money will be given through bilateral agreements, and half of the money will be distributed as repayable loans.

Canada’s future commitments to the Green Climate Fund will depend on an agreement for reducing emissions by 2020, with progress open to international monitoring, he said.

“We need to advance broadly rather than simply make financial agreements as one-offs.”

<!– Advertisement –>

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

Inspired by the Occupy Wall St. movement, protesters calling for “climate justice” are set to gather at the opening of UN climate talks in Durban organisers say.

Note:  GJEP is on the ground in Durban, South Africa and, as you can see from some of our previous posts, we have started reportage of what is happening so far.  We will continue to do so through the next two weeks. Recently we posted Climate change: vulnerable countries consider ‘occupying’ Durban talks by The Guardian’s John Vidal. Well, the Occupy movement seems to be really on its way here.  Before the next article, our colleague and friend, Patrick Bond posted on one of the listservs here, “…the Durban police will smile and stand idly by, it has been confirmed – they’re  not savages like in NY and California.”  -The GJEP Team

Sapa-AFP | 27 November, 2011 10:57

“A meeting at the ‘Speaker’s Corner’ will be called, an assembly,” Patrick Bond, a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, told AFP, referring to a spot near the venue of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“Negotiations have begun with the city on an authorised protest space,” said Bond, who is associated with the largely youth-driven initiative.

A website dedicated to “Occupy COP17″ echoed the frustration of many poorer nations already facing climate impacts with the slow pace and low ambition of the talks.

“Inside their assembly and inside their declarations the needs of the 99 percent are not being heard,” reads a declaration on a the site.

“Private corporations are occupying our seats in the UN climate talks and governments corrupted by corporate influence are claiming to represent our needs.”

On Friday, South Africa’s police minister said his country would deploy 2,500 officers to the UN climate talks starting this week.

“Police will not tolerate criminal acts that are disguised as demonstrations, which in some cases include destruction of property and intimidations,” said Nathi Mthethwa.

The government has given the nod to a civil society march next Saturday, but the minister made no mention of the Occupy event.

The possibility of an “Occupy COP17″ protest was raised earlier this month by former Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in Bangladesh.

“With respect to climate maybe we need an Occupy Durban,” he told OneWorld TV.

Such a action could take the form of “a sit-in by the delegations of those countries that are most affected by climate change,” he said.

Some climate-vulnerable states have slammed recent proposals from wealthy nations that a legally-binding climate pact can wait until the end of this decade.

Such proposals are “both environmentally reckless and politically irresponsible,” Joseph Gilbert, Grenada’s environment minister, said several weeks ago on behalf of the 42-nation Association of Small Island States (AOSIS).

<!– Advertisement –>

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

This article was written by Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai in September, shortly before her death. It addresses some of the main issues she and the Green Belt Movement were intending to raise at the UN climate summit, which starts in Durban, South Africa, on Monday

In 2011 the worst drought in 60 years engulfed the east of Africa, forcing millions into a desperate struggle to survive. Poor governance intensified the consequences: a drought, not unusual for this part of Africa, became a famine, in which untold human suffering was guaranteed.

Governments could have planned for the drought (after all, some regions haven’t seen good rains for four years) and helped their people adapt to the realities of global warming. They didn’t.

This is the International Year of Forests. What we know is that intact forests are essential to stabilising local climates and securing the livelihoods of Africa’s farmers, herders and entrepreneurs. However, some governments, institutions and organisations are aggressively promoting the planting of exotic species of trees at the expense of indigenous ones as a solution to both drought and climate change. It is not.

One of the most important environmental benefits indigenous forests provide is regulating climate and rainfall patterns; through harvesting and retaining rain, these forests release water slowly to springs, streams, and rivers; this reduces the speed of water runoff and with it, soil erosion. Indigenous forests and trees also play an important role in spiritual and cultural life.

Exotic trees, like pine and eucalyptus, cannot offer these environmental benefits. They eliminate most other local plants and animals. Like invasive species, they create “silent forests” that are devoid of wildlife, undergrowth and water. Tragically, exotic tree plantations in the tropics have taken the place of indigenous forests, often through “slash and burn” practices that destroy biodiversity and turn what used to be forest into agricultural or grazing land.

Through the Redd+ initiative (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), the international community has committed itself to protecting and rehabilitating indigenous forests. Redd+ is intended to save the world’s remaining indigenous forests, whose destruction is responsible for about 17% of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) pumped into the atmosphere each year. It also seeks to bolster the capacity of communities to mitigate and adapt to the negative effects of climate change (including drought and floods).

For governments and private enterprise to support Redd+, and at the same time welcome the planting of exotic trees at the expense of indigenous forests, is a contradiction. This is especially true for countries like Kenya, where indigenous forest cover is less than 2% and mainly remains in watershed areas. Establishing plantations of exotic trees in watershed areas and on private farms is bad environmental, economic, and social policy. In the long run, communities will be without reliable rainfall, rivers, productive soils, and food.

In Kenya and other tropical countries more than 60% of the population still live in rural or forested areas. These communities will become poorer and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – and the nation will experience more severe and regular droughts that in turn will challenge livelihoods, food security and industry – since Kenya (like Brazil and, increasingly, China and India) relies on hydropower.

The benefits provided by indigenous forests and trees are worth trillions of US dollars each year. No market value is given to clean drinking water, clean air and food that sustains life, unlike the dollars that can be assigned to timber sales. The lure of money obscures the real value of essential environmental services and livelihoods of local communities as they are sacrificed for short-term economic gains.

Environmental damage can take a long time to take root. Some years back Kenya imported a eucalyptus clone from South Africa. In South Africa now the government’s Working for Water programme has as its main objective the removal of eucalyptus and other invasive species from sources of water. Today we are seeing that many rivers in Kenya have less water than they used to, or have dried up altogether.

Governments must demonstrate a commitment to standing forests and the rehabilitation of degraded forests. This can be done only if national laws that encourage continued deforestation and forest degradation are reformed; and if communities are supported to plant appropriate trees. If none of this happens, considerable financial resources will be invested without achieving reductions in poverty and other development gains. As the world can see in the east of Africa, there is no time to waste.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

This article was written by Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai in September, shortly before her death. It addresses some of the main issues she and the Green Belt Movement were intending to raise at the UN climate summit, which starts in Durban, South Africa, on Monday

In 2011 the worst drought in 60 years engulfed the east of Africa, forcing millions into a desperate struggle to survive. Poor governance intensified the consequences: a drought, not unusual for this part of Africa, became a famine, in which untold human suffering was guaranteed.

Governments could have planned for the drought (after all, some regions haven’t seen good rains for four years) and helped their people adapt to the realities of global warming. They didn’t.

This is the International Year of Forests. What we know is that intact forests are essential to stabilising local climates and securing the livelihoods of Africa’s farmers, herders and entrepreneurs. However, some governments, institutions and organisations are aggressively promoting the planting of exotic species of trees at the expense of indigenous ones as a solution to both drought and climate change. It is not.

One of the most important environmental benefits indigenous forests provide is regulating climate and rainfall patterns; through harvesting and retaining rain, these forests release water slowly to springs, streams, and rivers; this reduces the speed of water runoff and with it, soil erosion. Indigenous forests and trees also play an important role in spiritual and cultural life.

Exotic trees, like pine and eucalyptus, cannot offer these environmental benefits. They eliminate most other local plants and animals. Like invasive species, they create “silent forests” that are devoid of wildlife, undergrowth and water. Tragically, exotic tree plantations in the tropics have taken the place of indigenous forests, often through “slash and burn” practices that destroy biodiversity and turn what used to be forest into agricultural or grazing land.

Through the Redd+ initiative (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), the international community has committed itself to protecting and rehabilitating indigenous forests. Redd+ is intended to save the world’s remaining indigenous forests, whose destruction is responsible for about 17% of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) pumped into the atmosphere each year. It also seeks to bolster the capacity of communities to mitigate and adapt to the negative effects of climate change (including drought and floods).

For governments and private enterprise to support Redd+, and at the same time welcome the planting of exotic trees at the expense of indigenous forests, is a contradiction. This is especially true for countries like Kenya, where indigenous forest cover is less than 2% and mainly remains in watershed areas. Establishing plantations of exotic trees in watershed areas and on private farms is bad environmental, economic, and social policy. In the long run, communities will be without reliable rainfall, rivers, productive soils, and food.

In Kenya and other tropical countries more than 60% of the population still live in rural or forested areas. These communities will become poorer and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – and the nation will experience more severe and regular droughts that in turn will challenge livelihoods, food security and industry – since Kenya (like Brazil and, increasingly, China and India) relies on hydropower.

The benefits provided by indigenous forests and trees are worth trillions of US dollars each year. No market value is given to clean drinking water, clean air and food that sustains life, unlike the dollars that can be assigned to timber sales. The lure of money obscures the real value of essential environmental services and livelihoods of local communities as they are sacrificed for short-term economic gains.

Environmental damage can take a long time to take root. Some years back Kenya imported a eucalyptus clone from South Africa. In South Africa now the government’s Working for Water programme has as its main objective the removal of eucalyptus and other invasive species from sources of water. Today we are seeing that many rivers in Kenya have less water than they used to, or have dried up altogether.

Governments must demonstrate a commitment to standing forests and the rehabilitation of degraded forests. This can be done only if national laws that encourage continued deforestation and forest degradation are reformed; and if communities are supported to plant appropriate trees. If none of this happens, considerable financial resources will be invested without achieving reductions in poverty and other development gains. As the world can see in the east of Africa, there is no time to waste.

This article was written by Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai in September, shortly before her death. It addresses some of the main issues she and the Green Belt Movement were intending to raise at the UN climate summit, which starts in Durban, South Africa, on Monday

In 2011 the worst drought in 60 years engulfed the east of Africa, forcing millions into a desperate struggle to survive. Poor governance intensified the consequences: a drought, not unusual for this part of Africa, became a famine, in which untold human suffering was guaranteed.

Governments could have planned for the drought (after all, some regions haven’t seen good rains for four years) and helped their people adapt to the realities of global warming. They didn’t.

This is the International Year of Forests. What we know is that intact forests are essential to stabilising local climates and securing the livelihoods of Africa’s farmers, herders and entrepreneurs. However, some governments, institutions and organisations are aggressively promoting the planting of exotic species of trees at the expense of indigenous ones as a solution to both drought and climate change. It is not.

One of the most important environmental benefits indigenous forests provide is regulating climate and rainfall patterns; through harvesting and retaining rain, these forests release water slowly to springs, streams, and rivers; this reduces the speed of water runoff and with it, soil erosion. Indigenous forests and trees also play an important role in spiritual and cultural life.

Exotic trees, like pine and eucalyptus, cannot offer these environmental benefits. They eliminate most other local plants and animals. Like invasive species, they create “silent forests” that are devoid of wildlife, undergrowth and water. Tragically, exotic tree plantations in the tropics have taken the place of indigenous forests, often through “slash and burn” practices that destroy biodiversity and turn what used to be forest into agricultural or grazing land.

Through the Redd+ initiative (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), the international community has committed itself to protecting and rehabilitating indigenous forests. Redd+ is intended to save the world’s remaining indigenous forests, whose destruction is responsible for about 17% of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) pumped into the atmosphere each year. It also seeks to bolster the capacity of communities to mitigate and adapt to the negative effects of climate change (including drought and floods).

For governments and private enterprise to support Redd+, and at the same time welcome the planting of exotic trees at the expense of indigenous forests, is a contradiction. This is especially true for countries like Kenya, where indigenous forest cover is less than 2% and mainly remains in watershed areas. Establishing plantations of exotic trees in watershed areas and on private farms is bad environmental, economic, and social policy. In the long run, communities will be without reliable rainfall, rivers, productive soils, and food.

In Kenya and other tropical countries more than 60% of the population still live in rural or forested areas. These communities will become poorer and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – and the nation will experience more severe and regular droughts that in turn will challenge livelihoods, food security and industry – since Kenya (like Brazil and, increasingly, China and India) relies on hydropower.

The benefits provided by indigenous forests and trees are worth trillions of US dollars each year. No market value is given to clean drinking water, clean air and food that sustains life, unlike the dollars that can be assigned to timber sales. The lure of money obscures the real value of essential environmental services and livelihoods of local communities as they are sacrificed for short-term economic gains.

Environmental damage can take a long time to take root. Some years back Kenya imported a eucalyptus clone from South Africa. In South Africa now the government’s Working for Water programme has as its main objective the removal of eucalyptus and other invasive species from sources of water. Today we are seeing that many rivers in Kenya have less water than they used to, or have dried up altogether.

Governments must demonstrate a commitment to standing forests and the rehabilitation of degraded forests. This can be done only if national laws that encourage continued deforestation and forest degradation are reformed; and if communities are supported to plant appropriate trees. If none of this happens, considerable financial resources will be invested without achieving reductions in poverty and other development gains. As the world can see in the east of Africa, there is no time to waste.

Denied Visas:

Delegation Response:

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class’s venality

by Naomi Wolf

Cross-Posted from The Guardian, 25 November

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, andpenned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette andWashingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS.Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, “we are going after these scruffy hippies”. Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women’s wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the “scandal” of presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s having been paid $1.8m for a few hours’ “consulting” to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies’ profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists’ privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can’t suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

During the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the CMP7 to the Kyoto Protocol all countries must take real action to protect the world’s forests and to close the logging and bioenergy loopholes.

Forest in Kenya. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC

The protection of the world’s natural forests must be a part of the COP 17 agreement. The world’s intact forests can play a major role in avoiding dangerous climate change, but they need to be protected from deforestation and forest degradation immediately.

The next climate deal must deliver real reductions to ensure the survival of all peoples and countries, it should not include loopholes that allow countries to hide the emissions that result from the logging and burning of natural forests.

The LULUCF logging loophole (Land Use and Land Use Change in Forestry)

Logging releases massive amounts of carbon emissions and drives climate change, yet under the current LULUCF rules countries choose if they elect to account for forest management. This allows countries to avoid accounting for emissions from logging and other forest management activities.

This LULUCF loophole must be closed, the next climate deal must make forest management accounting mandatory.

Developed countries need to make real reductions in emissions, not hide behind false accounting and forward looking baselines that hide the emissions from logging natural forests.

The Bioenergy Loophole

Burning natural forests for electricity is bad for the climate, bad for the forests and bad for forest communities. Huge demand is building for wood-fired electricity generation, driven by policies that indiscriminately promote bioenergy as ‘renewable’. This poses an immediate, extreme and growing threat to natural forests across the globe.

In being perversely promoted as ‘good for climate change’, industrial bioenergy is bad for the climate, bad for the forests and bad for forest communities – and, in many situations, has a bigger carbon footprint than fossil fuels.

Under IPCC guidelines, emissions from burning biomass for ‘bioenergy’ or ‘biopower’ can be accounted for as ‘zero’ in the energy sector by Annex I countries. This accounting rule is based on the unsafe assumption that any negative emissions will be accounted for in the LULUCF sector.  This is unsafe because current LULUCF rules allow country to not account for the emissions that are created during the harvesting and production of biomass. There is no obligation for a country that is responsible for the emissions made from producing biomass to account for its emissions.

This Bioenergy loophole must be closed.  Consumer countries must make sure that all the emissions resulting from bioenergy production and use (its carbon footprint) are not only properly calculated but also fully accounted for – by them at the point and time of their combustion.

<!– Advertisement –>

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

This week’s Earth Minute discusses the connection between the financial crisis and the climate crisis, and the emergence of a call to occupy the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa.  GJEP will be teaming with KPFK Los Angeles’ Sojourner Truth show to bring daily live 15 minute interviews from the UN Climate Conference from November 28 through December 9.

To listen to this week’s Earth Minute, click on the link below and scroll to minute 4:04:

Earth Minute 11/22/11

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

As the power of the Occupy Movement continues to grow around the world, the UN climate convention is scheduled to begin next Monday in Durban, South Africa. The UN Climate Convention–the global body charged with addressing climate change–is also controlled by the 1%.

Indeed, the 1% who crashed the economy are the same ones who’ve trashed the atmosphere–clogging it with pollution that threatens all life on earth. So an Occupy movement is building there too.

We the 99% stand at a crossroads.  The Earth is fast approaching a tipping point.  Forests are falling faster than ever, oceans are poisoned, species are lost every day.  The web of life is literally falling apart.  But the power to transform this unjust and suicidal system lies with all of us.

Global Justice Ecology Project is once again partnering with The Sojourner Truth show to highlight community voices who have solutions at the UN climate convention in Durban, with daily live interviews for two weeks starting next Monday.

Please join us.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.

<!– Advertisement –>

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

This week’s Earth Minute discusses the connection between the financial crisis and the climate crisis, and the emergence of a call to occupy the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa.  GJEP will be teaming with KPFK Los Angeles’ Sojourner Truth show to bring daily live 15 minute interviews from the UN Climate Conference from November 28 through December 9.

To listen to this week’s Earth Minute, click on the link below and scroll to minute 4:04:

Earth Minute 11/22/11

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

As the power of the Occupy Movement continues to grow around the world, the UN climate convention is scheduled to begin next Monday in Durban, South Africa. The UN Climate Convention–the global body charged with addressing climate change–is also controlled by the 1%.

Indeed, the 1% who crashed the economy are the same ones who’ve trashed the atmosphere–clogging it with pollution that threatens all life on earth. So an Occupy movement is building there too.

We the 99% stand at a crossroads.  The Earth is fast approaching a tipping point.  Forests are falling faster than ever, oceans are poisoned, species are lost every day.  The web of life is literally falling apart.  But the power to transform this unjust and suicidal system lies with all of us.

Global Justice Ecology Project is once again partnering with The Sojourner Truth show to highlight community voices who have solutions at the UN climate convention in Durban, with daily live interviews for two weeks starting next Monday.

Please join us.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.

<!– Advertisement –>

Cross-Posted from The Guardian,  Thursday 24 November 2011

Diplomats from some developing countries may “occupy” the UN climate negotiations that begin on Monday in Durban by staging sit-ins and boycotts over the lack of urgency in the talks.

The move follows a call by the former president of Costa Rica for vulnerable countries to refuse to leave the talks until ”substantial” progress has been made.

“I have called on all vulnerable countries to ‘occupy’ Durban. We need an expression of solidarity by the delegations of those countries that are most affected by climate change, who go from one meeting to the next without getting responses on the issues that need to be dealt with,” said José María Figueres.

“We went to Copenhagen [in 2009] with the illusion we could reach an equitable agreement. We went to Cancún [in 2010] where we saw slight but not sufficient progress. Frustration is now deep and building. Now we hear that we will need more conferences. Sometime we have to get serious. We should be going to Durban with the firm conviction that we do not come back until we have made substantial advances.”

Spokespeople for developing country negotiating blocs declined to comment on the call for a revolt, but one ambassador said from Durban: “The Occupy Wall Street movement and the Occupy the Climate Change negotiations movement confront the same problem. We need this if we want to have any positive result. Otherwise it will be worse than Cancún.”

But he warned: “In the corridors [here] there is talk of occupying the meeting rooms, but there could be sanctions. So it needs to be big inside in order to have impact and nobody is punished. We are at the beginning.”

Seyni Nafo, spokesman for the important 53-country Africa group said: “We understand the [financial] situation in Europe and Japan but it seems climate change is now not on the global agenda. Action that might make it visible must be considered. We are exploring a lot of avenues and options. You have to take that seriously.”

Frustrations mounted last month when, after months of tense negotiations, developing countries appeared to have succeeded in their demand for access to a multi-billion dollar Green Fund to help them adapt to climate change. But at the last minute the US and Saudi Arabia withdrew their support.

Resentment was further stoked this week when the Guardian revealed that rich countries had decided to shelve plans for a global agreement on climate change within the next few years, instead pushing for an agreement by the end of 2015 or 2016, and not coming into effect until 2020 despite scientists saying that this risked catastrophic climate change.

A possible postponement of a deal was condemned on Tuesday by the UN environment chief, Achim Steiner, who said it would be a ”political choice” rather than one based on science.

Jorge Argüello, chair of the powerful G77 and China coalition of 131 countries, said: “[We] trust to see in Durban a fair and equal treatment of all issues that are important to all parties. A serious imbalance in the progress of issues can clearly not be conducive to a successful, comprehensive and balanced outcome.”

“The climate change process is too crucial to the survival of humanity and the dignity of each of us, it is sad to see some parties using it just as a toy in a promotional agenda. The African leaders have expressed in different fora that Durban can not become the grave of the Kyoto Protocol, and we are completely supportive of that ambition.”

Sheik Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, said: “Climate change caused over 300,000 additional deaths last year. We the vulnerable countries suffer the most for our limited coping capacities. Bangladesh and other vulnerable countries cannot wait for international response to climate causes … we are implementing 134 climate change adaptation and mitigation action plans.”

Radical action at climate talks has produced results in the past. African nations boycotted the climate talks in Barcelona in 2009 for a day, and won themselves a promise from rich countries to make more efforts to deepen 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Alliance of Small Island States, which represents some of the countries most at risk from global warming, called any moves to delay a new treaty “reckless and irresponsible”.

—————

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

Carbon prices tumble to record low

By Javier Blas, Commodities Editor
Cross-Posted from the Financial Times
24 November 2011

The price of carbon permits has fallen to an all-time low, prompting bankers and traders to question the future of the European Union and United Nations’ cap-and-trade scheme.

The sharp price fall comes as several top commodities trading houses and Wall Street banks cut sharply their activity in the market. “The carbon scheme isn’t working,” Per Lekander, analyst at Swiss bank UBS, told clients in a note.

Noble Group, the Singapore-listed trader, said earlier this month it had “limited” its activity in the carbon market, complaining there was “insufficient market liquidity” to insure its positions.

In another sign of companies losing faith in the scheme’s prospects, JPMorgan sold its ClimateCare carbon permits business in August, although the bank remains active in the carbon market.

Analysts blamed the sharp drop in prices on lower European economic growth, which is likely to reduce emissions growth, and the imminent sale of millions of allowances from the European Investment Bank, which plans to use the proceeds to invest in green projects.

The price of UN-backed certificates of emission reductions (CER), which polluters buy to offset their output of greenhouse gases, fell on Thursday to an all-time low of €5.90, down more than 50 per cent since June. The price of European allowances (EUA) under Brussels’ six-year-old emissions trading scheme also fell to a record low on Thursday, hitting €7.80, below the previous low of €8.05 set in February 2009. EUA prices have fallen 15 per cent this week.

“We do not expect the pricing outlook to improve materially in the foreseeable future,” said Isabelle Curien at Deutsche Bank in Paris. Trevor Sikorski, at Barclays Capital in London, said: “The risks are biased to the downside.”

The fall in the prices of permits could complicate talks at the UN climate summit in Durban, which starts next week, amid widespread fears that negotiators will again fail to produce a comprehensive, legally binding global agreement to tackle climate change.

Cap-and-trade schemes, led by the EU, have suffered since their launch. In January, the EU authorities said that “cyber-thieves” stole as much as €30m in carbon allowances from the region’s emissions trading system, forcing exchanges across Europe to halt briefly trading in carbon allowances But the schemes have more recently received a boost after Australia announced a tax system on polluters, putting the country on track to have the biggest emissions trading system outside Europe.

The low price for carbon permits is raising questions about the effectiveness of the cap-and-trade scheme in forcing companies to adopt greener technologies.

“The [carbon] price is already too low to have any significant environmental impact,” Mr Lekander said in the UBS note, prompting a rebuttal from lobby groups supporting the cap-and-trade scheme.

Miles Austin, director of the Climate Markets and Investment Association, said the EU’s scheme has “put 11,000 European industrial installations onto a low carbon pathway, in line with the agreed cap.”

——————————————————————


Panic Selling Forces Carbon Prices to All-Time Low

Financial Times
London, 24 November 2011

EU carbon fell 9 percent to an all-time low of 7.68 euros on Thursday on eroding faith in Europe’s economy, growing permit supply and a bout of automatic selling. EU Allowances for December delivery rose to 8.59 euros this morning before crashing down to the intraday bottom shortly before the Netherlands announced it had auctioned 2 million permits at 8.05 euros, further stoking the already oversupplied market.

The bellwether futures recovered somewhat in afternoon trade, climbing back to 7.87 euros by 1616 GMT, 57 cents below Wednesday’s settlement.

“Some of this must be panic selling,” said one emissions trader at a European trading house. “Every time we thought we could bounce back because of technical signals, it failed … so people slowly realise there is no upside in the short-term.”

Less than 30 million EUAs had been traded across all vintages and exchanges at the time of press, significantly below the average seen on volatile days and indicating a lack of buyers that would help support prices.

Front-year EUAs are now down 17 percent for the week and 24 percent so far in November. Secondary CERs fared worse than EUAs, with the December 2011 contract dropping 10.8 percent to a record low of 5.26 euros and the 2012-vintage plummeting 13.5 percent to 5.05 euros, both well below the cost of generating many types of offset.

“It’s very plausible that there are some CER stop-(losses) being triggered,” said another trader at a utility.

The collapse has hit project developer shares and prompted banks and traders to dump credits at a loss to minimise further bleeding on their trading books.

“It seems some CER portfolio players have a significant amount of their primary CERs unhedged,” a third trader said, explaining that the price slide had triggered automatic selling.

Analysts said the euro zone debt crisis will starve heavy emitters such as steel and cement companies of credit, forcing them to sell EUAs to raise capital.

“There are signs that the UBS report may have spooked some industrials to sell their surpluses,” a fourth trader said, referring to the bank’s prediction last week that EUAs could fall to 3 euros next year.

Meanwhile, analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon cut their average EUA price forecast for 2013-2020 by 45 percent to 12 euros.

This week’s collapse has also left traders hoping for some form of political intervention to bolster prices.

“The only thing that can stop this is political intervention, otherwise it is over,” warned the first trader.

“We’ll end up in a very low price environment with massive length, just like phase one (of the scheme).

Ends –

<!– Advertisement –>

Carbon prices tumble to record low

By Javier Blas, Commodities Editor
Cross-Posted from the Financial Times
24 November 2011

The price of carbon permits has fallen to an all-time low, prompting bankers and traders to question the future of the European Union and United Nations’ cap-and-trade scheme.

The sharp price fall comes as several top commodities trading houses and Wall Street banks cut sharply their activity in the market. “The carbon scheme isn’t working,” Per Lekander, analyst at Swiss bank UBS, told clients in a note.

Noble Group, the Singapore-listed trader, said earlier this month it had “limited” its activity in the carbon market, complaining there was “insufficient market liquidity” to insure its positions.

In another sign of companies losing faith in the scheme’s prospects, JPMorgan sold its ClimateCare carbon permits business in August, although the bank remains active in the carbon market.

Analysts blamed the sharp drop in prices on lower European economic growth, which is likely to reduce emissions growth, and the imminent sale of millions of allowances from the European Investment Bank, which plans to use the proceeds to invest in green projects.

The price of UN-backed certificates of emission reductions (CER), which polluters buy to offset their output of greenhouse gases, fell on Thursday to an all-time low of €5.90, down more than 50 per cent since June. The price of European allowances (EUA) under Brussels’ six-year-old emissions trading scheme also fell to a record low on Thursday, hitting €7.80, below the previous low of €8.05 set in February 2009. EUA prices have fallen 15 per cent this week.

“We do not expect the pricing outlook to improve materially in the foreseeable future,” said Isabelle Curien at Deutsche Bank in Paris. Trevor Sikorski, at Barclays Capital in London, said: “The risks are biased to the downside.”

The fall in the prices of permits could complicate talks at the UN climate summit in Durban, which starts next week, amid widespread fears that negotiators will again fail to produce a comprehensive, legally binding global agreement to tackle climate change.

Cap-and-trade schemes, led by the EU, have suffered since their launch. In January, the EU authorities said that “cyber-thieves” stole as much as €30m in carbon allowances from the region’s emissions trading system, forcing exchanges across Europe to halt briefly trading in carbon allowances But the schemes have more recently received a boost after Australia announced a tax system on polluters, putting the country on track to have the biggest emissions trading system outside Europe.

The low price for carbon permits is raising questions about the effectiveness of the cap-and-trade scheme in forcing companies to adopt greener technologies.

“The [carbon] price is already too low to have any significant environmental impact,” Mr Lekander said in the UBS note, prompting a rebuttal from lobby groups supporting the cap-and-trade scheme.

Miles Austin, director of the Climate Markets and Investment Association, said the EU’s scheme has “put 11,000 European industrial installations onto a low carbon pathway, in line with the agreed cap.”

——————————————————————


Panic Selling Forces Carbon Prices to All-Time Low

Financial Times
London, 24 November 2011

EU carbon fell 9 percent to an all-time low of 7.68 euros on Thursday on eroding faith in Europe’s economy, growing permit supply and a bout of automatic selling. EU Allowances for December delivery rose to 8.59 euros this morning before crashing down to the intraday bottom shortly before the Netherlands announced it had auctioned 2 million permits at 8.05 euros, further stoking the already oversupplied market.

The bellwether futures recovered somewhat in afternoon trade, climbing back to 7.87 euros by 1616 GMT, 57 cents below Wednesday’s settlement.

“Some of this must be panic selling,” said one emissions trader at a European trading house. “Every time we thought we could bounce back because of technical signals, it failed … so people slowly realise there is no upside in the short-term.”

Less than 30 million EUAs had been traded across all vintages and exchanges at the time of press, significantly below the average seen on volatile days and indicating a lack of buyers that would help support prices.

Front-year EUAs are now down 17 percent for the week and 24 percent so far in November. Secondary CERs fared worse than EUAs, with the December 2011 contract dropping 10.8 percent to a record low of 5.26 euros and the 2012-vintage plummeting 13.5 percent to 5.05 euros, both well below the cost of generating many types of offset.

“It’s very plausible that there are some CER stop-(losses) being triggered,” said another trader at a utility.

The collapse has hit project developer shares and prompted banks and traders to dump credits at a loss to minimise further bleeding on their trading books.

“It seems some CER portfolio players have a significant amount of their primary CERs unhedged,” a third trader said, explaining that the price slide had triggered automatic selling.

Analysts said the euro zone debt crisis will starve heavy emitters such as steel and cement companies of credit, forcing them to sell EUAs to raise capital.

“There are signs that the UBS report may have spooked some industrials to sell their surpluses,” a fourth trader said, referring to the bank’s prediction last week that EUAs could fall to 3 euros next year.

Meanwhile, analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon cut their average EUA price forecast for 2013-2020 by 45 percent to 12 euros.

This week’s collapse has also left traders hoping for some form of political intervention to bolster prices.

“The only thing that can stop this is political intervention, otherwise it is over,” warned the first trader.

“We’ll end up in a very low price environment with massive length, just like phase one (of the scheme).

Ends –

<!– Advertisement –>

yx5mcsn93lpe10a6biuk