COP17’s ‘flabby, racist’ agreement (Daily News, 6/11/2011)

Copy of Copy of ND KUMIShayne Robinson, Greenpeace Poor communities bear the brunt of the greed of multinational companies, says head of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo. Picture: Shayne Robinson/Greenpeace

 ‘We have gone from anticipating a fair, ambitious and binding agreement (or Fab) to a “full-of-loopholes and bull****” (Flab) agreement.”

And this flabby agreement, said head of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo, amounted to what he called environmental racism.

“Poor communities bear the brunt of the greed of multinational companies – when the most vulnerable are being affected this way, we have to question the quality of democracy and fair process,” he said.

He was speaking at a side event at the 17th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, entitled “Coal, the Dirty Truth”, in which Greenpeace and environmental organisation the Sierra Club examined the facts, exposing the costs of coal in a carbon-constrained world. Activists from China, the US, SA and India took part in the presentation.

Ferrial Adam of Greenpeace began by saying SA generated 90 percent of its energy from coal.

Melita Steele, climate change and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, looked at the local example of Eskom’s latest power station in Kusile: “It is completely unnecessary – (with) natural resources like wind and sun, SA will be able to generate (half) its energy from renewables by 2030,” she said.

And the Medupi and Kusile stations were also the largest in the world, each capable of generating 4 800 megawatts each.

Greenpeace India’s Siddharth Pathak talked about the mining of coal in terms of biodiversity.

“The Royal Bengal tiger roams the central parts of India, where some want to explore the idea of mining coal – it is already critically endangered,” he said.

Iris Cheng of Greenpeace International also explained why the disadvantages of using carbon capture and storage technology to mitigate the use of fossil fuels outweighed its advantages: “Who will be accountable if there is a leakage?” she asked.

She said that trying to store carbon increased coal and water usage by 30 percent and energy to facilitate the process by 10 to 40 percent.

“By looking at this kind of false solution in Durban, we are giving it legitimacy: it could eat away at the valuable finance that could be used to invest in things like renewable energy,” she said. – Kamcilla Pillay

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