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Nov 27, 2013

Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka/CEJ and “Siyane Jalaya Syurakeeme Jana Neguma” file legal action seeking justice for people harmed by water pollution in Rathupaswala

by Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka — last modified Nov 27, 2013 10:40 AM

26th November 2013 Colombo, Sri Lanka. Today, Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal issued notice to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Board of Investment (BOI) and Venigross (Pvt) Limited after considering the writ application case filed by Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka/the Centre for Environmental Justice(CEJ) and a representative of “Siyane Jalaya Syurakeeme Jana Neguma (SJSS)” regarding the pollution caused by the factory.

CEJ, and the SJSS sought a writ to compel the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka, to bring justice to the residents of Rathupaswala by taking legal action against the Venigros (Pvt) Ltd, for the pollution of inland waters and soil and for violating the terms and conditions of the EPL in the performance of their statutory duty.


Petitioners have stated in their petition that the CEA and the BOI have failed to undertake investigations and inspections to ensure compliance with this Act and to investigate complaints relating to non-compliance with the provision of the National Environment Act as well as the non-compliance for the conditions of the EPL. Also, that Venigros (Pvt) Ltd has improperly dumped industrial effluents and hazardous waste without properly treating them first.


Furthermore, some residents from the Nedungamuwa area complained that they are unable to consume their well water and they have suffered various diseases because of the polluted water discharged by Venigros (Pvt) Ltd. Petitioners have requested that the factory be relocated following the conclusions of a report prepared by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board.


The case was supported on 26th November 2013.

Friends of the Earth South Africa: Send Eskom to rehab for its coal addiction

by Megan Lewis — last modified Nov 27, 2013 11:02 AM

Eskom coal-fired power stations surround the home of Thomas Mnguni, who lives with his two young children in the Mpumalanga Province in South Africa, experiencing daily the health impacts of Eskom’s coal addiction. South Africa’s energy utility supplies 90% of its electricity through its coal-fired power stations. The pollutants generated by coal combustion and the health impacts are severe, and it is those that are most vulnerable, such as the elderly, pregnant women and children, that are forced to bear the brunt of Eskom’s activities. Eskom is now attempting to avoid compliance with South Africa’s laws on air quality, put in place to protect people’s health.

Thomas plays an active role in his community on these issues as he sees the impacts Eskom’s addiction to coal has on them:

“Eskom is directly polluting us, but they are in denial about how the emissions from their coal-fired power stations affect our health. In Middleburg, where my children and I live, the air is some of the worst in the country, if not the world. My child and many others in the community suffer from asthma”.

Thomas, his community, and the entire South African community need your help to put pressure on Eskom to clean up their act! And the way you can do this is by naming and shaming the company by voting for it in the Public Eye Awards www.publiceye.ch

Regardless of Eskom publicly admitting that it is probably the biggest emitter of pollutants in South Africa, it is currently attempting to gain exemption and/or postponement for 14 of its 18 coal-fired power stations from having to comply with air pollution standards (minimum emissions standards). The areas in which many of these power stations are found already exceed South Africa’s air quality emission standards, so these applications are a flagrant disregard for people’s health. It is estimated that the external public health cost resulting from the Kusile coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga, will be over R180 million (US$17.7m) , and 51% of hospital admissions in this province are from power generation activities.

Hosted by Greenpeace and the Berne Declaration, the international Public Eye Awards take place annually in parallel to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, to name and shame the world’s worst corporations, eight of which have been shortlisted this year based on human rights violations, environmental destruction and corruption.

Eskom is of course amongst these companies and the people of South Africa need your vote to put an end to Eskom’s coal addiction which is killing the people and their environment.

Nov 25, 2013

The International day for the elimination of violence against women 2013

by admin — last modified Nov 25, 2013 05:35 PM

Today we express our solidarity with all the women and girls around the world who have been subjected to violence. Staggeringly high levels of domestic and sexual violence persist around the world. We commend the work of the various local, national and international organisations responding to this situation. We salute the courage and fortitude of the dedicated activists and survivors of violence who often make great sacrifices to insist that gender violence – in all its insidious manifestations – be utterly eliminated not only for the well being of those most affected, but for the security and peace of mind of those who are threatened or vulnerable.

 

We also reflect on the many brave women whose courageous political and environmental protests are too often met with cowardly violence or the threat of violence. Today, as the results of the election in Honduras are disputed, Berta Caceres and her colleagues will continue to fight for fair treatment for their community, despite the many threats of violence they have received and the ongoing political persecution they face.

 

Activists like Berta Caceres face a range of challenges, including systemic injustice and discrimination. Patriarchy perpetuates and safe-guards systemic and structural injustices, hindering the work of activists both female and male. We applaud and support the precious work done by Friends of the Earth groups and other civil society groups to dismantle, subvert and replace patriarchal structures.

Nov 21, 2013

Polluters talk, we walk: Mass walk-out of corporate-captured climate talks in Poland

by admin — last modified Nov 21, 2013 02:27 PM

Friends of the Earth Europe: Warsaw, November 21 – One day before the scheduled conclusion of the international climate talks in Warsaw, hundreds of climate activists – including Friends of the Earth – have walked out in protest at the lack of ambition at the talks, and in solidarity with people affected by climate change.

 

The walkout included social movements, trade unions and major environmental, development and youth groups, such as Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Action Aid and the International Trade Union Confederation, as well as many others. Together they represent millions of people who demand real climate action [1]. The delegates who walked-out wore t-shirts with the slogan ‘polluters talk, we walk’ to signify the toxic influence of dirty energy corporations on the climate talks and the positions of many national governments.

Susann Scherbarth, climate justice and energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “We are walking out in frustration and disappointment – the talks here in Poland have done nothing to cut emissions or provide real finance to tackle climate change. We also walk out in solidarity, with those communities and countries who stand to lose so much from climate change, and for whom these talks have done so little. Enough is enough.”

The Polish government’s decision to invite sponsorship from big polluters and to host a coal summit during the talks has already drawn heavy criticism from civil society organisations.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe commented: “Big polluters were welcomed with open arms and the negotiations are driven by corporate interests. There is no room for people or planet. The Polish presidency’s short-sighted coal-driven policy marks these talks out as one of the dirtiest yet.”

Industrialised countries’ governments are neglecting their responsibility to prevent climate catastrophe, and protect those that are losing so much as a result of climate change. Their positions at the global climate talks are increasingly driven by the narrow economic and financial interests of multinational corporations, according to Friends of the Earth, in particular Australia, Canada, Japan and the US.

Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on European politicians to push for fast and fair emission cuts in line with science, and a renewable energy-powered future that puts the interests of people at its centre. It is calling for binding EU climate and energy targets for 2030, at least 60% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and ambitious energy efficiency and renewables targets. This needs be alongside more ambitious pre-2020 action.

There needs to be international recognition that communities and countries are suffering irreversible losses due to climate breakdown, now, and governments need to put new money on the table to help developing countries compensate, adapt to the impacts of climate change and tackle urgent development needs.

***
NOTES:

[1] The organisations include Friends of the Earth International, the International Trade Union Confederation, PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance, Bolivian Platform on Climate Change, Jubilee South (APMDD), 350.org, Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, ActionAid, Young Friends of the Earth Europe and others.

Maruska Mileta, from Young Friends of the Earth Europe said: “At a time when the climate science is clearer than ever, young people feel increasingly let down by our governments. They are prioritising short-term economic interests over a liveable climate for all of our futures.”

- Updates from the talks: http://www.foeeurope.org/climate-justice

- FoEI report, Good energy, bad energy (November 2013): http://www.foei.org/en/good-energy-bad-energy

***
For more information please contact:

Susann Scherbarth, climate justice and energy campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe
email: susann.scherbarth@foeeurope.org, Tel: 0032 (0) 486 341 837

Sam Fleet, communications officer, Friends of the Earth Europe
Email: Samuel.fleet@foeeurope.org, Tel: 0048 537 884 902


Nov 20, 2013

Reclaim Power: The Philippines Needs Justice, Not Coal Lobbyists

by Gerry Arrances — last modified Nov 20, 2013 11:07 AM

I am an activist and I am a Filipino. It’s a very hard time for me to be outside of my country, while my brothers and sisters are still sorting through the wreckage and the death brought by Typhoon Yolanda. But I am activist and I know that terrible storm was no accident, so I must take action.

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No one storm is ‘caused’ by climate change, but this one storm warns us of the reality - we have changed the climate. If we keep spewing out pollution from dirty energy, it will change further and extreme weather events will become only more extreme and more common.

 

So, in solidarity with my brothers and sisters affected by this typhoon and struggling against other impacts of climate change, I am committed to stopping what we call “extreme” weather becoming “regular” weather next year. In the Philippines we know what it will take to stop the climate crisis, it will take the complete transformation of our energy sector.

 

I work everyday to realise that transformation. I work in the Philippines, and today I am working in Warsaw, at the UN climate conference. I am here because that transformation will require what we call “the end of coal.” I am not the only one working for the end of coal, there are millions of us. And we want to end it globally.

 

Today in Warsaw we launched our People’s Communique on Coal, it sets out why coal as an energy source makes us sick, poisons our rivers, kills our trees and causes deadly storms like Yolanda. The People’s Communique says clearly: “the push for Coal is a betrayal of the commitment and obligation of governments under the United Nations to address climate change and shift to sustainable pathways.”

 

That seems like a simple sentence to me. Something nobody who’s even looked sideways at an IPCC report could quibble with. Yet today in Warsaw the Polish Government supported a conference that claims that coal is somehow part of the solution, that it is somehow part of the future, that somehow it does not kill. This idea was rejected by people from all over the world, in many creative ways and that creativity should give us all hope.

 

As simple as that sentence in the People’s Communique seems, the Australian and Japanese governments have come to this conference acting as if they work for coal companies instead of people.  Last week they announced a weakening of their commitment to international climate action. NGOs laid the dead in the Philippines at their feet , and I would agree.

 

I would agree and I will keep fighting in the Philippines too. Coal energy has been actively pushed by transnational corporations, international financial institutions, international energy investors, and the government in the Philippines. The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) spearheaded a National Action Against Coal, in solidarity with the Global Day of Action Against Coal, at 15 sites of coal struggles in 13 provinces across the Philippines.

 

Thousands of affected communities took to the streets across the country to the demand to the Philippine government to immediately declare a national moratorium on all new coal projects and fulfill its commitment to shift to renewable energy systems and contribute in the global fight against global warming and climate change.

 

These are hard struggles, and these are hard times in the Philippines, but we are strengthened to know that people around the world are joining us and signing up to the People’s Communique. If you have not signed yet, do. If you are the UN, do not allow coal to undermine you again. If you are Australian, or Japanese, or from any country where your government is working for big coal companies instead of for you, join us.

 

Gerry Arrances, is an activist and anti-coal campaigner with the Philippines Movement for Climate Justice.

Veolia, Areva and Auchan win the 2013 Pinocchio Awards!

by Les Amis de la Terre France — last modified Nov 20, 2013 11:30 AM

Paris, Tuesday 19th November 2013 – After the launch of the public voting process last October 15th, Les Amis de la Terre - Friends of the Earth France, in partnership with Peuples Solidaires - ActionAid France and the Centre for Research and Information for Development (CRID), put an end to the suspense during the Pinocchio Awards ceremony tonight, at La Java (Paris). This year, an impressive number of internet users mobilized themselves to elect the winners among the nominated companies: more than 41,000 votes in total, that is to say more than twice as much as the previous years. Veolia, Areva and Auchan are the big winners of the 2013 edition (1).

Veolia received the Pinocchio Award in the category "One for all, all for me" (2) with 39% of the votes, for its implication in water privatization projects in India, and more particularly in Nagpur. While the multinational pretends to be the hero bringing water to the poor, in the field, the reality is a lot different: price increases, opacity of the public-private partnership contracts, delays in work, conflicts with the communities and the local officials. If Veolia seems to succeed in getting profit from these projects, water, when it does reach the populations, is still delivered in tanker trucks…

 

 

In the category "Greener than green" (3), Areva easily wins the Pinocchio Award with 59% of the votes. It must be said that the nuclear multinational dared to imagine the unimaginable: creating "Urêka", a museum dedicated to the glory of uranium mines in the French region of Limousin, on the area of former mine sites that left heavy environmental and sanitary consequences. "Come and discover the adventure of uranium", says Areva, without any issue regarding the dramatic social and environmental impacts that these uranium extraction mines keep having all over the world, especially in Niger and maybe soon on the land of the Inuits.


Finally, with 50 % of the votes, the Pinocchio Award in the category "Dirty hands, full wallet" (4) has been given to Auchan. The number two of large retailers in France refuses to admit its responsibility and to participate to the compensation fund for the victims of the Rana Plaza garment factories collapse, in Bangladesh, whereas labels of its clothes have been found in the ruins of the accident that killed 1133 people and left even more wounded people, mostly women. Auchan acknowledged that part of its production had been informally subcontracted in the Rana Plaza and claims to be a victim, yet contracting companies such as Auchan set conditions for their suppliers impossible to respect, and as a consequence, promote the phenomenon of informal sub-contraction.


Through the condemnation of peoples’ rights violations and environmental damages, the Pinocchio Awards have succeeded in getting more important since their creation in 2008, and thus, contribute to put pressure on companies to make them change their practices.


Juliette Renaud, Corporate accountability campaigner at Friends of the Earth France, comments the 2013 edition: "This year, the Pinocchio Awards occur at a time when a law proposal on multinationals’ duty of care has just been introduced at the National Assembly (5). This is a first result of the struggle that has been carried on for a long time by civil society, especially by Les Amis de la Terre, Peuples Solidaires and the CRID. We strongly hope that members of Parliament and the government will now be able to resist the lobby pressure and that this law will be voted and implemented as soon as possible, thus paving the way for the recognition of multinationals’ parent company legal responsibility on their subsidiaries and subcontractors."


For Fanny Gallois, campaigns coordinator at Peuples Solidaires, "these Awards are an opportunity to raise the voices of those that, all over the world, suffer the negative impacts of multinationals’ activities and fight for the respect of their rights. It is high time to act and stop multinationals from taking profit of impunity and refusing to assume their responsibility in respect to populations".


This year, the Pinocchio Awards were organized in media partnership with Basta !, the Multinationals Observatory and Real World Radio, which have published insight articles and interviews on each nominee (6).

 

 

Press contacts :
Caroline Prak, Les Amis de la Terre – Friends of the Earth France – 01 48 51 18 96 / 06 86 41 53 43 – caroline.prak@amisdelaterre.org
Vanessa Gautier, Peuples Solidaires - ActionAid France – 01 48 58 21 85 –
V.GAUTIER@peuples-solidaires.org

Notes :
(1) In total, nine companies were nominated. The description of each case denounced in 2013 is available here: http://prix-pinocchio.org/en/nomines.php

(2) « One for all, all for me! »: awarded to the company which has the most aggressive policy in terms of landgrabbing, exploitation or destruction of natural resources.
The two other nominees were Total and Société Générale.

(3) « Greener than green »: awarded to the company which has led the most abusive and misleading communication campaign in regard to its actual activities.
The two other nominees were BNP Paribas and Air France.

(4) « Dirty hands, full wallet »: awarded to the company which has the most opaque policy at the financial level (tax evasion, corruption, etc), in terms of lobbying or in its supply chain.
The two other nominees were Alstom and Apple.

(5) This law proposal is supported by the Members of Parliament Danielle Auroi, Philippe Noguès and Dominique Potier :
Text of the law proposal (in French): http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/propositions/pion1524.asp ;
Press release by Members of Parliament Noguès and Potier (in French): http://pnogues.fr/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Communiqu%C3%A9-de-presse-Nogu%C3%A8s-Potier-07112013-D%C3%A9p%C3%B4t-dune-proposition-de-loi.pdf

(6) These articles and interviews are available here: http://www.amisdelaterre.org/prix-pinocchio.html

Nov 15, 2013

Super Typhoon Haiyan: World Must Act on Climate Change

by Lidy Nacpil — last modified Nov 15, 2013 03:18 PM

Guest blog by Lidy Nacpil, Convener of the Philippines Movement for Climate Justice (first published by Huffinton Post)

My colleague Claire and I are now at the international climate talks in Warsaw - we got out of Manila just as Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful in recorded history, was making landfall in the Philippines, our home.

All our worries were confirmed when the first video coverage appeared after several hours of complete black out as all communications were down. I have many friends and colleagues in the worst hit area.

These friends and colleagues lost children. They lost parents and grandparents. They had their families shattered. They had to drag bodies out with their bare hands. They are still without proper food, water or shelter.

Philippine government agencies estimate that thousands are feared dead in Leyte island alone. CNN reports more than 800,000 people are dislocated. 800,000 souls ripped from their homes.

This is the fourth super-typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. These extreme weather events are increasing in severity. This is in line with what the science suggests: more ferocious extreme weather, driven by human emissions of climate changing gases.

A year ago during the UN Climate Summit in Doha, Qatar - the Philippines made the news with Typhoon Pablo making its destructive way through Mindanao (Southern Philippines), leaving over a thousand people dead, dislocating tens of thousands of families, destroying homes, crops and livelihoods and changing the landscape across a vast area. Those areas have not yet substantively recovered. Everyone acknowledged then that Typhoon Pablo underscored the urgent need to arrive at international agreements for decisively addressing climate change - both its causes and consequences.

Here we are one year later, at the beginning of another UN Climate Summit, with news of even greater devastation in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan, and still no real progress in international climate negotiations.

Our sorrow and our rage should make us fight harder, in all arenas at all levels, to demand that those responsible for this planetary crisis take immediate decisive action towards just and equitable solutions. It should make us work faster in building our movements and scaling up our actions, in effecting a shift in power relations and transforming the unjust and destructive system that is at the root of climate change.

Now in Warsaw, we are once again working with Friends of the Earth to raise the voices demanding change and building on our joint work over the last month during our global month of action: Reclaim Power.

We are urging international Governments to increase climate pollution controls and ban new dirty energy projects - and to deliver clean energy through people-controlled, democratic systems. And sadly, because it is now necessary, calling for an international system to deal with the loss and damage caused by the climate change we can no longer avoid.

 

Lidy Nacpil is convener of the Philippines Movement for Climate Justice, which includes Friends of the Earth Philippines: http://climatejustice.ph/


Original post here

Nov 13, 2013

Friends of the Earth South Africa: The real people's climate negotiations start tomorrow

by Megan Lewis — last modified Nov 13, 2013 02:40 PM

Bluff, Durban, South Africa, 13 November 2013 – Siga Govender, a local small scale farmer who has been working the land next to the former Durban airport for 25 years, is aware that he is either going to have the land beneath his feet literally dug out beneath him for expansion of the port, or washed away if an alternative approach to energy production globally is not implemented immediately. Tomorrow at 14h00, in solidarity with the farmers, the People’s Climate Camp will march from the Reunion Beach Centre to the farmer’s land in Prospecton, ending in a press conference at 15h00.

The City of Durban and Transnet’s proposed multi-billion rand Durban port expansion will also squeeze out many other communities in the south Durban basin, who will be inundated with increased trucks, logistics parks and the expansion of the already heavily polluting petrochemicals industry. While government proposes the project as development, the reality is that it will destroy the farms, destroy jobs within the small local economy, destroy the earth and destroy a unique eco-system. It will obstruct and divert ocean currents, accelerate coastal erosion and cut a wide gap in the natural defences against sea level rise.

Govender, who is the Chairperson of the Airport Farmer’s Association, explains what losing his land would mean to him:

“The land means the world to me in the sense that I’m here six days a week from 7 o’clock in the morning till 5 o’clock in the afternoon and when I get home it’s only my farm that I think of and nothing else. So it’s my livelihood and I would like to remain on the land”.

As the estimated human death toll of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines rises above 2000, the annual UN climate negotiations are under way in Warsaw, Poland. Haiyan is not the only natural disaster the world has witnessed this year; from India to Canada, people’s lives, homes and communities are being wiped out as a result of the rapidly increasing average global temperature.

Corporate capture of the international negotiations by big polluting energy corporations, such as Eskom and Sasol, who are seemingly permanent members of the South African delegation and the lack of real change in most government’s energy policies, highlight that changing the approach to energy production lies not with an international process but with the people.

Details of tomorrow’s march and press conference are as follows:

Venue: Starting at Isipingo Reunion Beach Recreational Centre, left onto Refinery Road and right onto farmer’s land.

Time: March 14:00 – 15:00 and press conference 15:00 – 15:30


Details for the camp are as follows:

Date: Thursday, 14th November to Sunday, 17th November.

Venue: Eco Park, 55 Grays Inn Road, Bluff, Durban


NOTES

[1] South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (and its affiliate organisations), Airport Farmers Association, groundWork, Earthlife Africa Durban, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, KwaZulu Regional Christian Council, Newcastle Environmental Justice Alliance, University of KwaZulu Natal Centre for Civil Society, Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance, Greater Middleburg Residents Association, Mpumalanga Youth Against Climate Change, South African Waste Pickers’ Association, Streetnet, Umbano Traders Alliance, Diakonia Council of Churches, Timberwatch, Biowatch, Abahlali Base Mjondolo, 350.org, Umphilo waManzi, Refugee Centre, Pietermaritzburg Association for Community Action.

[2] Govender is one of 16 farmers who employ around 100 farm workers. Most have worked on the land next to the former Durban airport in Prospecton for about 25 years under a monthly lease held formerly by Acsa but which has recently been taken over by Transnet. They sell fresh produce to local street markets and larger supermarkets. The Airport Farmers Association was established with the support of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance to organise the farmers around previous issues of removal and any other grievances.

[3] The purpose of the People’s Climate Camp is to resist projects that damage climate, environment and people and still is seen directly in the proposed port expansion project; to articulate and build capacity for the alternative of people’s sovereignty (food and energy in particular); and to make a platform for people to articulate views on climate and energy justice on the way to the people’s pre-CoP in Venezuela in 2014 and CoP21 in Paris in 2015 – this is the CoP that is supposed to agree a new climate deal for implementation in 2020.



CONTACTS

Megan Lewis

Media and Communications Officer at groundWork

Email: megan@groundwork.org.za

Mobile: +27 (0) 83 450 5541



Desmond D’sa

Coordinator at South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

Email: desmond@sdceango.co.za

Mobile: +27 (0) 83 982 6939



Vanessa Black

Chairperson at Earthlife Africa Durban

Email: black@ispace.co.za

Mobile: +27 (0) 82 472 8844

Please donate now to Friends of the Earth Philippines and help provide relief to affected communities

by Friends of the Earth International — last modified Nov 13, 2013 03:55 PM

An estimated 2,000 people are feared to have been killed in the fierce typhoon that hit the Philippines on Friday. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced and as many as 10 million affected.

Please donate now to Friends of the Earth Philippines and help provide relief to affected communities, including the Tagbanua indigenous community whose ancestral domain and waters have been devastated.

 

 

Join us in demanding climate justice!

For more than twenty five years Friends of the Earth Philippines has campaigned for the rights of indigenous and rural peoples, those who are directly dependent on the land and natural resources for their livelihoods. These communities are at once the most vulnerable to climate change and the least responsible for it. Friends of the Earth Philippines is working with organisations of Indigenous Peoples and disaster relief agencies on efforts to provide assistance to communities that are most inaccessible.

Friends of the Earth International and our members around the world are calling for urgent and just action to avert the worst consequences of climate change, and to fundamentally change the world’s current energy system. Ordinary people and communities around the world are paying with their livelihoods and lives as the risk of runaway climate breakdown draws closer.

Contribute to Friends of the Earth Philippines and help support those who are struggling to defend their rights and livelihoods in the face of the climate crisis.

As government negotiators meet in Poland for the UN climate summit, the typhoon should serve as another reminder that the world is on a precipice. From flooding to hurricanes to droughts and food shortages, the impacts of climate change are becoming more frequent and devastating day by day.

Tackling climate change means changing the unjust and unsustainable economic system, especially our dependence on polluting fossil fuels and other forms of dirty energy which is driving land grabbing, pollution, deforestation and the destruction of ecosystems, as well as human rights abuses, health problems, premature deaths, and the collapse of local economies.

Help support the environmental movement of the Philippines and across the globe as we echo the words of the chief representative from the Philippines at the UN climate talks in Poland: “stop this madness.”


Image: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

Nov 11, 2013

Friends of the Earth Africa: Commemoration of Saro-Wiwa murder reinforces demand to wean off dirty energy

by Friends of the Earth Africa — last modified Nov 11, 2013 12:55 PM

Commemoration of Saro-Wiwa murder reinforces demand to wean off dirty energy. 75 African groups demand Obama stops pushing dirty energy through 'Power Africa' initiative.

As the world commemorates the anniversary of the murder of playwright and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, remembrance activities are being organized all over the world to continue Saro-Wiwa’s legacy of advocating for the preservation of territories, supporting environmental defenders, resisting corporate rule and seeking justice for communities affected by dirty energy.

 

In connection with these tributes, as part of the Reclaim Power Month of Action on Energy, and on the eve of the UN Climate Convention in Warsaw, today, African groups wrote to U.S. President Barack Obama to “reject any further extraction of and exploitation of fossil fuels, including natural gas, oil, coal and unconventional fossil fuels” as part of Obama’s Power Africa initiative and attempts to weaken the greenhouse gas cap of the US development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Rather, the groups urged support for “small-scale, decentralized, community-owned renewable energy initiatives throughout the African countryside and cities.”


Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders were sentenced to death on 10 November 1995 by the junta of late General Sani Abacha for speaking out against the impact of Shell’s exploratory activities for petroleum in Ogoniland in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.


Godwin Ojo, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria, said: “18 years after the extra judicial murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa for resisting corporate rule instigated by Shell, the aggressive extraction of fossil fuels and other forms of dirty energy continue unabated, instigating injustices, oppression and ecological genocide in the Niger Delta and many other parts of Africa and the world. That is why we are launching this letter today to President Obama to reject support for dirty energy as part of his Power Africa initiative. [1]”

A new report by Friends of the Earth International titled: “Good Energy, Bad Energy: Transforming the Energy System for People and the Planet', has also been released this past week. The report exposes the grave threat posed by the aggressive drive for fossil fuels and other dirty energy forms. The report notes that world’s current energy system is driving climate change and many other social and environmental problems, from land grabbing, pollution, deforestation and the destruction of ecosystems, to human rights abuses, health problems, premature deaths, unsafe jobs and the collapse of local economies [2].


In this context, Friends of the Earth Africa demands that the Obama administration stop pushing the further exploitation of fossil fuels through initiatives like ‘Power Africa’. Siziwe Khanyile, Coordinator of FoE Africa said, “We’re facing catastrophic climate change and grabbing of territories of communities for dirty energy and false solutions. 75 African groups demand: Leave the Oil in the Soil and the Coal in the Hole. We want clean, democratically-controlled renewable energy systems for our people instead.”
The world’s largest recent discovery of natural gas in the past decade was found in Mozambique [3]. But Anabela Lemos, Director of Friends of the Earth Mozambique states: “We want to avoid climate disaster and so does President Obama. So it is simply impossible to exploit this natural gas in Mozambique. We don’t need more of a resource curse in Africa.”

Kwami Kpondzo of Friends of the Earth Togo said: “Small scale solutions can provide us with sustainable lives and livelihoods without sinking our health along with that of the continent and the planet.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Godwin Ojo, Executive director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria: godwin@eraction.org  
Siziwe Khanyile, Coordinator of Friends of the Earth Africa, siziwe@groundwork.org.za
Anabela Lemos, Director of Friends of the Earth Mozambique, anabela.ja.mz@gmail.com
Kwami D. Kpondzo, Friends of the Earth Togo, kwadodzi@yahoo.fr  


[1] The letter to President Obama can be found at this link:
http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/93/a5/b/3320/11-8-13_Power_Africa_lett_FINAL.pdf

[2] The report and a summary can be found online at http://www.goodenergybadenergy.org

[3] http://www.bdlive.co.za/africa/africanbusiness/2013/10/25/clashes-in-mozambique-may-disrupt-coal-shipments