Facing the COP17-Durban and Rio+20: NO to the market mechanisms as solutions to climate and environmental crisis

Declaration of Brazilian movements and civil society organizations

Despite successive failures related to market based solutions proposed in the last almost 20 years of UNFCCC negotiations, some governments, and Brazil among them, keep insisting on the promotion of market mechanism in the legal framework as a solution to climate crisis, as well as on the road to green economy frame proposed to be discussed at Rio+20 in June next year.

Since its creation in 1992, the objective of the Climate Convention is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a way that it will not impose any risks on the natural systems of the planet in accordance to UNFCCC text “to achieve a stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. This objective has not been achieved so far. On the contrary, the only legally binding instrument, the Kyoto Protocol, defines that a lowest cut of only 5.2% (related to the year 1990) of emissions from Northern countries, for a period that ends in 2012, is at the risk of not having its second commitment approved.

It was shown, since the creation of Kyoto, that its focus, instead of attending the objective of the Convention, was to institutionalize the carbon markets in the context of United Nations and of the domestic policies in the signatory countries. It is more and more evident that the creation of the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) – as part of the flexibility mechanisms of Kyoto – and its implementation in developing countries has been increasing the local negative impacts where the projects are placed, widening situations of environmental injustice and human rights violations while not contributing effectively to reduce emissions.

The big beneficiaries of the climate crisis and of the policies approved in the multilateral context are then the big corporations and the international financial system, which has been renewed through instruments created by the Convention. This is the case of the World Bank, that gained new breath in the last years from the climate issue and, more recently, from being chosen as the trustee of the Green Fund for the climate of the UNFCCC, even with the opposition presented by some countries and the international civil society. Currently, after the creation of REDD+ mechanism under the COP16 agreement of Cancun, the carbon markets were consolidated as the main bet for financing proposals for REDD+.

Organizations and social movements who are members of the Belem Letter Group are fighting for environmental and climate justice, rejection of REDD+ as a market mechanism and its use to offset emissions from developed countries. Carbon markets and REDD+ are false solutions to the climate crisis. They go in the opposite direction needed of Northen countries to commit to their historical debts and responsibilities towards Southern countries and peoples, and to reduce their emissions. They also transfer the focus of discussion to the forests instead of fossil fuel burning which is the real cause for current climate changes.

While Brazil intends to present to the world an example of transition towards the so called green economy, in the domestic context, we have seen processes that demonstrate exactly the opposite to the presented discourse.

On one hand, we see the dismantlement of the national environmental legislation caused by the flexibility of the Forest Code, the Project Law 195/2011 about REDD+ and the Project Law 792/2007 about contracts of payments for environmental services. These are proposals that go beyond the model of incentives promoted by public policies and go towards the commercialization of biodiversity and of common goods.  They strengthen the carbon markets on the national level through the creation of tittles that are representative of carbon stocks (Certificate of Emission Reductions by Deforestation and Forest Degradation, CREDD, name in Portuguese) or of forest and biodiversity (Quotes of Environmental Reserve, as from the current proposal for the new Forest Code).

On the other hand it is a streamlined process of the carbonization of economy. It is provoked by the increasing emissions from the energy sector due to the growing participation of thermoelectric power plants in national energy and due to the exploration of pre-salt oil reserves, which will produce a threefold increase of the oil and gas production within the next ten years.

The Group questions how Brazil will meet its own voluntary targets presented in Copenhagen during the COP15 and approved in the National Policy of Climate Change Law, with the considerable increase of deforestation in Amazonia and in the Cerrado biome as a result of the pre approved measures of the new Forest Code.

Finally, for these reasons, the Belem Letter Group denounces several of the policies and laws being constructed and awaiting to be finalized by Rio+20, in June next year, without debate within Brazilian society and especially without the participation of grassroots organization and social movements. The construction of a legal/institutional framework in this sense can generate a fait accompli and to make any bargain in the international climate negotiations impossible. It can also undermine any future initiatives of protection of national and peoples sovereignty over the territories, as well as of policies that in fact face the climate change out of the market. 

We reject a forest-centric climate regime!

We want environmental and climate justice!

We defend the protection of the rights of the forests and of the forest peoples!

No to REDD+!

Sign: ABA – Associação Brasileira de Agroecologia; Amigos da Terra Brasil; ANA Amazônia; AS-PTA; Articulação Pacari; CEAPAC – Centro de Apoio a Projetos de Ação Comunitária – PA; CEPEDES – Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul/BA; CIMI – Conselho Indigenista Missionário; FAOR – Fórum da Amazônia Oriental; FAMCOS – Federação das Associações de Moradores e Organizações Comunitárias de Santarém – PA; FASE;FECAP – Federação das Entidades comunitárias do Estado do Amapá – AM; Fetraf Brasil – Federação dos Trabalhadores/as da Agricultura Familiar; Fetraf Sul   ; Fórum Carajás; Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Social; Instituto Terramar; INESC – Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos; Instituto Mais Democracia; Jubileu Sul Brasil; Justiça nos Trilhos – MA; MACA – Movimento Anti-capitalista Amazônico ; MMC – Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas; MMM- Marcha Mundial das Mulheres; MPA – Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores; MST – Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra; Organização das Associações Comunitárias da Reserva Extrativista Tapajós-Arapiuns/ Tapajoara – PA; Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais; RBJA – Rede Brasileira de Justiça Ambiental; STTR Xapuri – AC; Terra de Direitos; Via Campesina Brasil

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