Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 311, FRIDAY 29th June, 2001
"The unsigned Kyoto protocol is becoming a carbon trade deal dominated by businessmen desperate for a piece of the new market in trading." - Rising Tide UK In the lead up to the next month's climate change talks in Bonn, the European Union has published draft plans for an "emissions trading" scheme which they hope will be up and running by 2005. But what we're getting here is not a solution to climate change but essentially a market for buying and selling the right to pollute.
Emissions trading systems are already operating in Britain and Denmark with unofficial trading expanding in Canada and the United States, but what's it all about?
Well, imagine for a moment that you run a gas power plant that, under the Kyoto Protocol, manages to emit less than its allocation of C02 emissions. You will then be rewarded by being allowed to sell your surplus emission credits. If you 'overspend' you'll have to buy 'carbon credits' from other companies - or face a fine.
Direct action group Rising Tide describes this sort of trading system as the "privatisation of the climate". And at the mere mention of the word privatisation the New Labour lapdogs will come running. Forget schools and hospitals - let's sell our hot air! As you would expect this has also got big business in raptures with Carlton Bartels of CO2e.com. (a web-based carbon trading consortium which includes old friends PriceWaterhouseCoopers and mega-brokers Cantor Fitzgerald) describing it as "potentially one of the world's largest markets" and crooning "Regardless of the fate of any particular treaty or proposal, the reality of a carbon-constrained future is upon us. Companies that recognise this and begin their transition now will be the leaders of the new economy."
It's not a new idea. The online exchange has a new take on the old model of trading the rights to pollute. For the past decade - mainly in America - companies have bought and sold pollution credits, which specify how many tons of acid-rain chemicals a smokestack can emit. Under that system, a relatively clean manufacturer can sell unused credits to a refinery that can't meet its limits. And both BP and Shell have been running their own in-house trading systems for some time - after all, where corporations lead, governments love to follow.
So while the United Nations' own scientists talk about the need for a 60% reduction to reverse climate change, and groups like Rising Tide call for 90%, big business and governments are squabbling over cuts of 5.2% and frothing at the mouth over 'whole new market opportunities'.
New Labour have just announced one of the most far reaching energy reviews for decades and have put the new energy minister Brian Wilson in charge. Just one snag - Wilson is a cheerleader for nuclear power. And in the small print of the announcement on current policies, just 4.5% of our energy use will come from renewables by 2020. This despite wave power being able to supply 40% of the UK's energy needs and wind power being able to supply 20% at less cost than nuclear and without the waste problems or risk of serious accidents.
* The UK's first conference on ecological debt, with a strong climatic focus, is taking place on Tuesday July 10th at the ICA in The Mall, London. Contact New Economics Foundation O20 7407 7447 or email@example.com.
* The Climate Change talks take place in Bonn, Germany from 16-23rd July, with actions and events planned throughout. For info about travelling there and accommodation, see www.risingtide.de or contact Friends of the Earth 26-28 Underwood St. London N1 7JQ 0207 490 0881 www.foe.co.uk
* If you can't get to Germany there's a Week of UK Climate Actions called by Rising Tide UK, from July 14-21st. Details: 16b Cherwell Street, Oxford, OX1 1BG www.risingtide.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01865 241097
* 90% for 90% National Day of Action on the 16th July, which is part of "A call for a 90% cut in public transport fares, to make public transport affordable, to start making changes that bring the 90% cut in greenhouse gases needed to halt climate change.Get the 90% card to show the guard. Get together with a group in your area, speak to local public transport workers, and plan a 90% for 90% trip on the 16th: to the seaside (get there before it gets to you); to the countryside; to view your nearest oil refinery the possibilities are endless." Details: email@example.com Cards are available £3.50 for a pack of 50, cheques payable to 'Rising Tide' c/o Manchester Earth First! Box 29, 22a Beswick Street, Manchester, M4 7HS. Or download from www.risingtide.org.uk
* 11 July International Day of Action against ExxonMobil (ESSO) - picket their petrol stations, refineries or offices. Dubbed the "Greenhouse Gangsters" this lot are President Bush's biggest supporters encouraging him to ditch Kyoto and drill for oil in Alaska.www.globalwarming.isbad.net
Modern intensive agriculture might be an environmental disaster but if we want to feed the world then there is no alternative. Or so we are told. But this myth has been seriously challenged by the largest ever study of sustainable agriculture, with nearly nine million farmers covering over 3% of agricultural land in the third world studied. The report by Jules Pretty and Rachel Hine of the University of Essex showed significant improvements in food production with cheap, low-cost, sustainable inputs and technologies. They concluded "Were these approaches to be widely adopted, they would make a significant impact on rural people's livelihoods, as well as on local and regional food security."
Not only does sustainable agriculture produce food and other goods, but also improves things such as flood protection, water quality and wildlife biodiversity. Sustainable agriculture also improves social cohesion by keeping the production of food and goods within the local economy. Something that intensive agriculture can never do.
* Check out 'Poverty and Globalisation' by Vandana Shiva in the new SchNEWS and Squall Yearbook 2001, available from SchNEWS for £8.50 inc. p&p. Cheques payable to 'Justice?'
10,000 people celebrated sunrise on the summer solstice at Stonehenge, the second time this has been allowed since 1984.
No sound systems were allowed in the car park - it being too close to the stones, and despite assurances that no drunk drivers would be made to leave the site before sobering up, within hours an eviction order was produced and riot vans chased vehicles off. Months before, the Stonehenge Campaign had negotiated a party site on military land at Barton Stacey with the police, but the authorities went back on this, leaving people with nowhere to go. A site at Chicklade was taken and a party went off on Thursday night, but was predictably evicted by Wiltshire police, who promised that another venue near Glastonbury had been sorted for the weekend and so passed the buck on to their Avon and Somerset 'colleagues'. Pissed off party heads soon discovered that the site was a healing festival - pay to get in, no drink, drugs or amplified music allowed. So people set off round the countryside looking for a venue, with farmers, worried about last week's new outbreaks of foot and mouth, calling the cops every five seconds.
By Friday night, parties were setting up for the weekend at Daventry (near Northampton) - 10 rigs and a band stage - and at Hinckley Point (near Bridgwater) - 10 rigs and a nuclear power station. All glowed well.
* Rupture is a wicked monthly free party zine. For copies send SAE to P.O. Box 30199, London E17 5FJ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite everything for the Welsh Green Gathering being sorted, Carmarthenshire County Council have bowed to police pressure and refused permission for the eco-festival at the last minute. The Green Gathering has a reputation for top organisation skills - they were approached by English Heritage for advice on sorting Stonehenge - but police snotted out a tissue of lies about how travellers would descend on the site. Dyfed Powys's police licensing officer ranted "I'm afraid that if the festival went ahead we would be left with 25 acres of land which would be filled with human waste, diesel and cannabis, as well as other matters which I will not go into" (!?). Organisers are now trying to sort a new venue, which is scheduled for August 16th-19th. Welsh Green Gathering: 01267 267500 www.big-green-gathering.com/wales.html
* For a list of festies over the summer, check 'Party and Protest' on the SchNEWS website.
TEKNIVAL HITCH UPDATE
The French Socialist Party has rejected a controversial amendment to the Public Safety Bill, which would have criminalised the massive teknival movement with a law similar to the UK's Criminal Justice Act (SchNEWS 307). Perhaps this came as a response to the thousands who took to the streets of Paris and Marseille in simultaneous peaceful demonstrations a few weekends back as well as gaining support from people like Jean-Michel Jarre and the Green Party deputy. As an alternative, the socialists intend to propose a "charter" of good conduct which Teknival organisers will be invited to sign. For more info check www.freetekno.org. Email email@example.com and ask to be subscribed to the Kanyar mailing list for up to date info on parties on the continent.
MAFF MEANZ NAFF
Tow Law is a burial site for a potential 300,000 animal carcasses slaughtered due to foot and mouth. Although it's filled with only 30,000 there have been leaks of deadly hydrogen sulphide gas. The Town Council has declared the site illegal on health and safety grounds, pending a Public Enquiry. Yet MAFF continues to dump regardless. Local people are now taking direct action, chaining themselves to the incoming trucks and so far 9 people including a 13 and 15 Year old face charges. One protestor is in court on the 2nd July and they are desperate for help with daily protest/defence costs. There's a video available about the protests costing £6 (cheques payable to 'Newlittlebighorn Defence Fund') 5 Elm Park Terrace, Tow Law, Co. Durham, DL13 4NH email Newlittlebighorn@aol.com
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For tying a purple ribbon to a bush. An animal rights protestor yesterday had her court case for littering dropped. The woman in question was demonstrating on Christmas Eve outside Newchurch Farm which breeds guinea pigs for vivisection. She tied a ribbon to a bush and was told by a copper to remove it, but refused. He took her details and three months later she received a court summons in the post for littering.
* Next demo outside Newchurch is on 7th July 12 noon. 01902 564734 www.guineapigs.org.uk
SPAIN IN THE ASS
After the World Bank chickened out of their planned shindig in Barcelona last weekend (see SchNEWS 306) anti-capitalists decided that cos of all the hard work organising a counter demo and invites sent out it would be a shame not to carry on with the party. The day started with a 20,000 strong march headed by a samba band and dancers. On arrival at the main square, masked up under cover cops started throwing bottles at the assembled riot cops. How did people know they were cops? Well they were seen getting out of police vans and then masking up by a number of witnesses including the leader of the opposition party of Catalan. This gave police an excuse to fire volleys of plastic bullets into the crowd injuring 40 people. After this the real black block went "window shopping" with banks and posh stores getting the usual makeovers. An anarchist demo later in the day was also attacked without any warning leaving more activists needing hospital treatment whilst others spent the night in the cells.
The next day a 4000 strong jail solidarity march headed by the padded-up White Overall crew marched first to the stock exchange for a samba party and then on to the Court where they stayed until the prisoners were let free.
* Were you in the main square on the 24th when the police attacked. Have you any film evidence? Contact IndyMedia who are preparing a court case against the cops. http://barcelona.indymedia.org
* Among those nicked in Gothenburg (SchNEWS 310) was a Russian, Artem Chlenov. His crime was possessing souvenirs from Berlin squats, including the 'Radikal' paper, banned by German authorities way back in 1997! An EU police register, the Schengen Information System (SIS) supplied the info. It stores information about criminals, victims of crimes and possible victims of future crimes. Information includes names, nicknames, physical descriptions, sexual behaviour, friends and politics. The Swedish police saw the entry on Artem Chlenov, made four years before and held him for the sake of 'national security'. Terrorists eh?
* The Schengen agreement removed controls on internal movement between 13 European countries. This doesn't mean free movement because borders are policed by the SIS to "maintain public order and security, including state security".
* More info about the protestor who is critically ill after being shot by police in Gothenburg: Hannes Westberg suffered damage to his liver, spleen and one of his kidneys. He is still on a respirator in hospital although his condition is stable. There are reports that an additional two people were shot, which has been covered up by police and media, they were a journalist and a passer by, both have been released from hospital. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
* The Swedish authorities are in good company when shooting protestors. On Tuesday the Papua New Guinea government shot dead three students and wounded 17 others who were protesting against the IMF and World Bank, which is forcing a harsh privatisation regime on the country.
AVENTIS A BAD TIME
Poor Aventis. They've had all their 11 English National Seed List Trials of genetically engineered (GE) winter oil seed rape destroyed by covert actions or failing naturally, this leaves just two sites in Scotland. Two other Aventis crops in Dorset and Hertfordshire have both been damaged. Poor old Aventis didn't even recover costs from its damaged crops when various courts and judges ruled crop trashers were acting with a "positive purpose." For an updated list of test sites and their status visit www.geneticsaction.org.uk/testsites.
*The only GE crop in Wales is a farm-scale trail of Aventis maize at Sealand in Flintshire. There's a seminar 14th July, 10.30am Connahs Quay Civic Hall off Wepre Drive, Sealand, followed by a Citizens Inspection of the Site - grid reference SJ 697 862 - at 2.30pm. For transport from Camarthen, West Wales, Cardiff and Newport contact Jules 0774 779 2203 or Ken 01792 405887 to book a place ASAP.
* Dutch activists have been targeting Monsanto. Monsanto's only two GE sugar beet fields were destroyed by "Raging Hares".
SchNEWS in brief
With the 4th of July nearly upon us the anti-corporate group Adbusters have come up with a different slant on the Stars and Stripes. The stars have all been changed to corporate logos. So now all you types that would normally be burning the US flag can now download the alternative from http://adbusters.org/ and join in the protest. As the organisers say "The spectacle of these flags snapping in the wind is sure to raise sparks. But many may look and think 'dammit if that ain't the truth.'"
Cor-blimley-theyre-practically-giving-them-away book offer SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 £4.50 inc. postage. SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.50 inc. postage. SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £5.50 inc. postage (US Postage £4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four). The SchQUALL book at only £6.50 inc postage. In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage. In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre, saving postage yer tight gits. SchNEWS and SQUALL's YEARBOOK 2001 is out soon. 280 pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. With issues 251-300 of SchNEWS, the best of SQUALL, lots of photos, cartoons, subverts and a comprehensive contacts database. Copies of Yearbook 2001 can be ordered from SchNEWS for £7 + £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 4 3. Available now.
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Last updated 29th June 2001