Guest essay by Eric Worrall
If there is one climate program which should have died in a welter of shame, that programme is third world conservation programmes, programmes which have reportedly already caused mayhem in places where government backed forces have committed atrocities to drive farmers and tribes out of nature reserves.
Forests provide a critical short-term solution to climate change
22 JUN 2018
To prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we need to act now.
There is a “catastrophic climate gap” between the commitments that countries have made under the Paris Climate Agreement and the emissions reductions required to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, according to UN Environment’s Emissions Gap Report 2017.
The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2˚ Celsius, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5˚ Celsius.
Current pledges from governments represent only about half of what would be required to avoid a 2˚C temperature rise, and just one third of what’s required to limit warming to 1.5˚C.
While this “emissions gap” is significant, UN Environment suggests it can still be closed in a cost-effective manner.
One of the major contributors to closing the gap is forests.
The good news here is that 6.3 gigatons (billion tons) of carbon dioxide emission reductions have already been reported over the past six years from forests in Brazil, Ecuador, Malaysia and Colombia alone under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), according to the UNFCCC Lima Hub. This is equivalent to more than the annual emissions of the United States.
“This is a significant step forward, showing that forests can be a central part of the solution to climate change,” says the head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, Mario Boccucci. “We have an unprecedented opportunity: political will, know-how, finance. Now we need to build on progress and scale up rapidly in the coming years.”
Protecting forests, including mangroves, makes climate action cheaper and faster. We need to build the political case for this across all countries.
“The Emissions Gap Report once again underscores the urgency of redoubling our efforts to reduce emissions,” says UN Environment climate change expert Niklas Hagelberg.
“It shows that solutions exist, and if they are adopted quickly we can turn our current situation around. But with each year we wait, we make our ability to limit dangerous climate change more difficult, risky and costly.”
Even the Guardian has noted the connection between offering large cash grants to tyrants in return for declaring regions off limits to humans, and vicious attacks against people living in the affected regions;
The tribes paying the brutal price of conservation
Sun 28 Aug 2016 17.00 AEST
Across the world, governments are protecting habitats. But indigenous peoples are being evicted
The Botswana police helicopter spotted Tshodanyestso Sesana and his friends in the afternoon. The nine young Bushmen, or San, had been hunting antelope to feed their families, when the chopper flew towards them.
There was a burst of gunfire from the air and the young men dropped their meat and skins and fled. Largely through luck, no one was hit, but within minutes armed troops arrived in a jeep and the nine were arrested, stripped naked, beaten and then detained for several days for poaching in a nature reserve.
Welcome to 21st-century life in the vast Central Kalahari game park, an ancient hunting ground for the San, but now off-limits to the people who forged their history there. The brutal incident took place last week, just days after Botswana’s wildlife minister Tshekedi Khama, the brother of President Ian Khama, announced a shoot-on-sight policy on poachers.
Khama claims the policy, which is supported by conservation groups, will deter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, which is widely seen by Europe and the US as disastrous for biodiversity. But there are no rare or endangered species such as elephants or rhinos in the areas where the bushmen hunt. Sending a helicopter gunship and armed guards to arraign the hunters looks rather like an escalation of the low-grade war that Botswana has waged for years on one of the most vulnerable indigenous groups in the world.
The damage is not limited to shooting down tribespeople from helicopter gunships. In Ivory Coast, poor farmers who are trying to produce cocoa are being pressured to pay large bribes to be allowed to work their farms in “conservation areas”.
… The government of Ivory Coast took action recently against cocoa-driven deforestation by expelling cocoa farmers from Mount Péko National Park (which means “mountain of hyenas” in the local Gueré language). According to a report by Human Rights Watch and the Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights (RAIDH), the evictions were poorly planned and carried out in violation of human rights standards. When we visited Mount Péko after the eviction, we found the park once again filled with cocoa smallholders who had returned. Some smallholders explained to us that when they finally returned to Mount Péko, they simply paid the authorities higher bribes to go back to cultivating their lands in the park. …
Lets see – large numbers of skilled but very poor farmers in Africa trying to make an honest living being backed into a corner, forced to pay large bribes, their families brutalised by armed thugs. Its pretty obvious what will happen next, and when it does, Western green policies will bear the ultimate blame.
Update (EW): Fixed a typo (h/t Rick Rigazio)