Even the Carbon Sink
Like we said, the latest meeting of the Convention on Climate Change
ended in Milan last Friday with the decision by 120 countries to,
er, reaffirm their commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. The US politicians
were in Milan of course, doing their best to derail everything,
even though they wont even sign up to Kyoto, despite accounting
for around a quarter of global emissions. But then weve seen
what theyll do for oil. Still, the Kyoto Protocol will become
legally binding when it receives the backing of nations whose combined
carbon dioxide emissions comes to 55 percent. To reach that figure
Russia needs to sign on the dotted line.
The problem is that Kyoto calls for a measly 5.2% reduction in
emissions and thats without the loopholes such as air
traffic being excluded from the targets when in reality the
rich world is gonna have to cut emissions by 60-90% just to stabilise
These loopholes include ones where rich countries will be able
to plant forests in the developing world and count the amount of
greenhouses gases absorbed by them against their own greenhouse
emissions, helping them to meet their Kyoto targets. Unfortunately
the vast majority of such plantations are environmentally and socially
destructive, some using genetically-modified or other invasive species
and all funded through the Protocols so-called Clean
This idea, dubbed carbon sinks should, according to
a new report published by Sinkswatch, be washed down the plughole.
It reckons EU governments should blacklist carbon sinks projects,
as they do nothing to help global warming and they provide subsidies
for unsustainable and unwanted plantation projects. The report Forest
Fraud. Say no to fake carbon credits focuses on the Plantar
project in Brazil, a 23,000 hectare eucalyptus plantation project
that is aiming to sell carbon credits despite widespread opposition.
Youve got to hand it to some capitalists though. Creating
a market out of hot air, now thats impressive!
Its taken 15 years of climate change talks to get this far and
time is running out - especially for the Alliance of Small Island
States who managed to block attempts to delay the next round of
talks. Made up of 40 small islands, some might have disappeared
beneath the waves by then. They desperately need the £30 million
relief fund agreed in Milan to help them adapt to environmental
changes. But even this small amount was in jeopardy because oil
rich nations like Saudi Arabia argued that they should get help
to diversify if renewable energies like wind or solar power dent
demand for fossil fuels. Ever helpful Russian President Vladimir
Putin used Russias role on Kyoto as a bargaining chip to gain
entry into the World Trade Organisation, with its standard everyone
for themselves politics. But the onset of climate chaos should
be reminding us that were all in the same boat. As direct
action group Rising Tide put it While its crucial that
you cut your own emissions as much as possible, its also up
to communities the world over to both challenge the power structures
that are playing havoc with our climate, and to create new structures
built on local, diverse, ecological and socially just foundations.
The problem is that the boat is already taking on water and could
soon be holed below the waterline, unless the world comes together
to stem the tide.
* Want to get involved in climate change campaigning? Then
call 01865 241097 www.risingtide.org.uk
* Check out the carbon sinks report www.sinkswatch.org
* Cornerhouse also have some good briefings, see www.thecornerhouse.org.uk
* London Earth First! open discussion on the plans for a
new runway in the South East and how we can fight it with a speaker
from the Heathrow Terminal 5 Campaign. Monday 5th January 7pm at
the Autonomy Club, Freedom Bookshop, 84B Whitechapel High Street,
Crap Arrest Of The Week
For not using a shopping basket!
In a new low in supermarket fascism a man was arrested and then
fined £95 for not using a basket when he went into his local
Eddah store to buy one item. When Carst Kijlstra, from Holland,
went to pay for it the shop assistant refused to serve him saying
he must have a basket. Dont be ridiculous said
Mr Kijlstra who then left the money on the counter and went home.
At home while cooking his dinner a cop car arrived at his house
to arrest him. After being held for an hour Mr Kijlstra was allowed
to go home if he agreed to pay the £95 fine and stay out of
the shop for 12 months.
IRAQI TRADE UNION REPRESSION
Trade unionists from the Iraqi Southern Oil Company have declared
their workplaces a no-go zone for Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR),
part of multinational Halliburton, formerly headed by US Vice President
Dick Cheney. The American government gave KBR the contract to reconstruct
oil refineries and installations in Iraq. The oil workers union
however, representing over 10,000 Iraqi workers, has now banned
all KBR representatives and foreign workers from their sites.
Occupation Watch visited oil installations and discovered that
workers had been carrying out reconstruction work independently
of KBR, using their own tools, spare parts from old equipment, and
parts purchased from the local market. In Majnoon two weeks ago,
workers rebuilt a damaged refinery independently, using KBR materials
but refusing any KBR personnel involvement.
The mirage of the West Knows Best multibillion dollar
reconstruction project falls apart when faced with the truth of
ordinary Iraqi workers rebuilding their own country using the inventiveness
and ingenuity they learned during 13 years of UN-US-UK enforced
The US government is not happy with this, so have been harassing
Iraqi trade unions. According to a union spokesperson, on Dec. 6th
the office of the Iraqi Workers Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU)
was stormed by twenty US soldiers who tore down posters (which condemned
terrorism!) and arrested eight members of the Federations
executive board. The soldiers also painted over the name of the
federation on the front of the building. They gave no reason
at all, despite being asked over and over, says IFTU spokesperson
Abdullah Muhsin. Although the eight were released the following
day, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) (US occupation government)
gave no explanation for the detentions. This followed the detention
of two other trade union leaders on November 23, Qasim Hadi, general
secretary of the Union of the Unemployed, and Adil Salih, another
Union leader. Hadi had been arrested twice before, for leading demonstrations
of unemployed workers demanding benefits and jobs.
US military control and reconstruction is making the
country attractive to foreign investors, who can buy up state companies
and promptly transfer profits outside the country. Iraqi workers
fear privatization will bring massive layoffs. Ill have
to fire 1,500 (of the refinerys 3,000) workers, says
Dathar Al-Kashab, manager of the Al Daura oil refinery. In
America, when a company lays people off, theres unemployment
insurance and they wont die from hunger. If I dismiss employees
now, Im killing them and their families. Iraq can find
no country willing to fund plans for even a minimal system of unemployment
benefits. At the refinery, those with jobs work 11-13 hour shifts.
They earn $60 a month and have no safety equipment. The IFTU and
the Workers Unions and Councils group have helped workers organize
unions and elect leaders around the country.
When these new unions talk with the plant managers, however, theyre
told that a 1987 law forbids workers in state-owned enterprises
(where the majority of Iraqis work) from forming unions. The CPA
still enforces this Saddam-era law. Another order issued by the
CPA on June 6 threatens that anyone who incites civil disorder
will be detained as a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention.
While unions are suppressed, international conferences in Washington
and London take place every week, at which Iraqi assets are put
on sale to private buyers. At one recent conference, ExxonMobil,
Delta Airlines and the American Hospital Group all expressed interest
in various Iraqi enterprises. Muhsen Mull Ali, an IFTU leader who
spent two long stints in prison for organizing unions, both before
and during Saddams reign, says US actions against unions wont
deter him. Our responsibility is to oppose privatization as
much as possible, and fight for the welfare of our workers.
for more info.
SchNEWS in Brief
- Schwoops last week we
said the six people arrested under the Terrorism Act for having
terrorist property such as magazines and badges were
still in prison when they are in fact out on bail awaiting trial
- Meanwhile Hundreds of mosques in the UK have launched a protest
campaign against the treatment of British Muslims arrested
as part of the war on terror. Aafreen Khan, a spokeswoman
for the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, added: Out of 500
arrests since September 11, only 77 have been charged and two
convicted. Home Office figures for 2002-03 revealed that
32,100 people had been searched under the Terrorism Act with just
380 of those arrested.
- The costs of the proposed primate lab in Cambridge (SchNEWS
432) have soared by 25% putting the project in jeopardy. One of
the reasons for the increase is the expected protests, so why
not join in on the 10th January? For details nearer the time contact
0845 3307985 www.primateprison.org
- Four anti-GM activists have been ordered to pay up
to £1000 court costs each for aggravated trespass when
they attempted to prevent planting of GM field trial. The High
Court overturned an earlier ruling by a judge who found them not
guilty saying I can see you all have huge knowledge of GM
crops and were acting to protect the land and animals. Some
of the activists are planning to refuse to pay costs and may go
to prison, others will pay costs but will accept any financial
offers of help! email@example.com
- In a massive victory for anti-GM campaigners Bayer CropScience
who are the principle company pushing for the commercialsation
of GM crops in the UK has withdrawn six of its nine UK GM crop
varieties from the UK national seed listing, meaning they cant
be commercialised in the UK. The campaign against the other three
continues with Bail out of GM Actions on 5th January in support
of those arrested on previous actions. www.stopbayergm.org
- Nominate your least favorite pirate for a Captain Hook
Award for Outstanding Achievements in Biopiracy 2004.
- The mother of 16-year-old Chris Kesterton who was killed
while working on a construction site in Leicester has asked people
to protest outside the court where the company will hear if it
is to be fined, 5th Jan 9.30 am, Leicester Crown Court, 90 Wellington
- Come and protest and party with the Brighton & Hove Palestine
Solidarity Campaign. Meet at 1pm on Saturday 20 December outside
Churchill Square. Bring cameras and make some noise! 07768 815472
- Check out Cardiff Alternative News a weekly radical e-mail
- Annual Christmas Ride, meet 11am Christmas Day, Cutty
Sark Gardens for a gentle ride through deserted central London,
then late lunch with veggie/vegan options 07905 889005
- Radical performance arts group Clean Air Turbulance are
available for benefit gigs, actions etc. firstname.lastname@example.org
- An Iraqi arrested at the DSEi protests will be in Snaresbrook
Crown Court in the weeks to come, using his court appearance to
challenge the legality of cluster bombs in front of a jury.
Everyday from our vantage point at SchNEWS towers we watch the
tides coming and going and wonder if this could be harnessed to
help sort out the mess were all making of the planet.
Well this is to become a reality off the coast of Swansea where
an offshore tidal lagoon is being built that will give the power
of half a nuclear power station without any of the radioactive
waste. This works by harnessing the power of the tides by having
gates that are opened and closed with the tides. After the tide
rises, the gates are opened and water rushes through the turbines
and fills the lagoon. At low tide the water runs out of the lagoon,
turning the turbine blades the other way, thus generating electricity
in both directions.
Offshore tidal lagoons have advantages over other forms of renewable
energy, unlike solar or wind energy, tides are regular and predictable,
and there isnt the destruction caused by large dams in hydroelectric
schemes or coastal tidal schemes. Tidal lagoons have a potential
to contribute 8% of the UKs energy needs at a cost that is
similar to coal or gas fire stations, without all the extra pollution.
Heres a Christmas carol for our times...
SPEND, SPEND, SPEND!
DONT hold back on your seasonal spending. Worthings
Business Community needs your generous support!
DONT worry about the cost. Just bung it on your plastic. You
know thats the sensible approach in the long term.
DONT ever stop to think whether what you are about to buy
is useless, unnecessary or unwanted. Just get your wallet out. Now.
DONT worry about rampant consumerism spoiling the planet for
your children or grandchildren. Theres plenty more planets
in the universe. And, frankly, who cares about a bunch of stupid
DONT ever think of repairing anything. Its just not
the modern way. Go out and buy a new one. Go on, its Christmas!
DONT ever borrow things from friends or lend stuff to others
so they dont have to buy their own. Where would that sort
of thinking lead us? Eh?
DONT forget the true meaning of Xmas! Lets make sure
trading figures in town are the highest ever! Its what Baby
Jesus would have wanted!
DONT forget either that shopping defeats Terrorism. The more
you spend, the more tax money the Government gets and the more bombs
it can buy to blow up people who dont share our superior Christian
This public information announcement was brought to you by the
Worthing Braindead Consumer Campaign Supported by sussexploit plc
and The Institute of Greed.
Shamelessly stolen from Worthings excellent Porkbolter
(which is well worth reading even if you dont live there)
...it's goodbye from us...
Thats it for this year were off to the pub,
and shall re-emerge to produce the next SchNEWS for 9th January
2004 (unless global capitalism has been overthrown over Christmas
when we shall instead be planting broad beans on collectively owned
SchNEWS warns all readers well be back with some crackers
and a sack full of goodies next year. Honest.
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
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can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
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