By Chris Lang
Big Polluters are pushing a dangerous scam: Natural Climate Solutions, also known as Nature-Based Solutions. Rather than taking urgent action to dramatically reduce their emissions, Big Polluters claim that they can continue business as usual while buying offsets and greenwashing their ongoing climate destruction as “net zero”.
More than 360 organisations have signed onto a statement exposing “nature-based solutions” as “nature-based dispossessions”. Massive land grabs, monoculture tree plantations, and industrial agriculture underlie Big Polluters’ climate fraud.
On 15 March 2022, the organisations behind the statement will hold a virtual press conference focussing on three “nature-based solutions” in Brazil, Gabon, and India. Here’s the press release – including details for joining the press conference via Zoom:
Press conference on March 15: No to Nature Based Solutions!
Alianza Biodiversidad – Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) – Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development – ETC group – Focus on the Global South – GRAIN – Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) – Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) – Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) – World Rainforest Movement (WRM)
Press conference on 15 March: No to Nature Based Solutions!
Ahead of vital UN moment for biodiversity, “nature-based solutions” are once again being erroneously heralded as the solution
As corporations and governments push “nature-based solutions” to fight the climate and biodiversity crises, over 360 organisations launch a statement exposing them as “nature based dispossessions” that will cause huge new land grabs and promote harmful practices like monoculture tree plantations and industrial agriculture.
At the 15 March press conference, speakers from Gabon, Brazil, India and the US will highlight community experiences with the “nature-based solutions” precursor REDD in Brazil’s Green Economy laboratory Acre, share why communities in Gabon are saying No to the gigantic Grande Mayumba “nature-based solutions” landgrab, and how the Boomitra soil carbon scheme is being pushed in India.
Asia / Europe press conference: 15 March (Tuesday) 16:00 Jakarta/Bangkok / 14:30 Delhi / 10:00 CET / 9:00 GMT. Americas press conference: 15 March (Tuesday) 13:00pm EDT / 11:00am Mexico City / 10:00am PDT / 14:00pm Montevideo.
Montevideo, 10th March 2022
From 14-29 March, the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) will resume talks in Geneva on a Global Biodiversity Framework to halt biodiversity loss. The concept of “nature-based solutions” is expected to be a controversial issue at the talks, with some governments pushing for it while many governments from the global South are concerned about more loopholes for carbon offsets. An IPCC report due to be released later this month is likely to lend more unwarranted credence to the “nature-based solutions” concept, as the UN climate COP26 talks in Glasgow did.
In a statement released today 364 organisations, networks and movements and 128 individuals from 69 countries expose these “nature-based dispossessions”, warning of harmful practices such as the expansion of monoculture tree plantations and industrial agriculture lurking behind the “nature-based solutions” marketing/greenwashing ploy. They call for a rejection of “nature-based solutions”, because these carbon offset schemes in disguise are not designed to slow climate breakdown. Rather, “nature-based solutions” are a means for corporations to continue, and even increase, their greenhouse gas emissions.
Speakers from Gabon, Brazil, India and the US will highlight community experiences with the “nature-based solutions” precursor REDD in Brazil’s Green Economy laboratory Acre, share why communities in Gabon are saying No to the gigantic Grande Mayumba “nature-based solutions” landgrab in Gabon and how the Boomitra soil carbon scheme is being pushed in India.
“Nature-based solutions” promotes the illusion that plants and soils can undo the climate damage caused by carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning. This is a dangerous deception and provides window dressing for “net-zero” pledges from governments and corporations. Instead of agreeing on the drastic emissions reductions needed to prevent climate chaos, they make false, inaccurate claims that “nature” will remove enough excess carbon from the atmosphere to avert catastrophe.
- The Italian energy company Eni says it will still be using fossil fuels to generate 90% of its energy by 2050. To offset these emissions, it will need the entire potential of all of Italy’s forests to absorb the carbon. That is 8 million hectares for Eni’s net-zero claim.
- The net zero targets of just four of the big oil and gas corporations alone (Shell, BP, Total and Eni) could require an area of land twice the size of the UK.
- The “net-zero” plan of world’s largest food company, Nestlé, could require 4.4 million hectares of land per year for offsets.
These are just three of the many corporate net-zero pledges that will cause unspeakable harm to peoples and territories in the global South. The reality is that corporate demand for “nature-based solutions” will enclose living spaces of Indigenous Peoples, peasants and forest-dependent communities on a massive scale.
To avert catastrophic climate chaos and biodiversity loss, the destruction of underground fossil carbon stores must be stopped and frontline communities must be supported and protected. “Nature-based solutions” must be halted in its tracks. They are dangerous distractions from ending fossil fuel burning, and will result in massive land grabs aimed at dispossessing Indigenous Peoples and rural communities in the global South.
No to the dangerous deception of “nature-based solutions”!
Tom BK Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network: “Nature-based solutions is dangerous for Indigenous Peoples.” “Under the umbrella of net-zero emissions targets the private sector corporations, the UN and governments are using it to push for more land-based offsets for a global carbon pricing system. “Nature-based solutions” has Big Ag, Big Oil and Big Pharma behind it. We are seeing a huge push for policies that falsely claim to save Mother Earth – the planet. The reality will be more land grabbing from Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories.”
Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America Director for ETC group: “The umbrella term of NBS is functioning effectively to greenwash and expand profit-making opportunities – so the number of corporate ‘NBS pledges’ has exploded. But there simply isn’t enough nature to go round, so companies are pushing also for technological means of “enhancing” nature, such as huge bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) projects and other geoengineering technologies.”
Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South: “Nature-based solutions” are solutions only for corporations, that are constantly looking for more ways to make profits regardless of their impacts on people and the planet. These are dangerous deceptions that will lead to large scale dispossessions of rural peoples, and increase conflicts over land and territories between rural communities and states. ‘Net zero’ is a cynical corporate calculus to produce bogus data and fool the world that destructive corporate operations can be offset somehow. We have to join forces across the world to dismantle corporate power, and halt their continuing attempts to extract value from nature and people.”
Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth International: “In crucial Convention on Biological Diversity meetings this week, “nature-based solutions” is being presented as necessary for biodiversity, but really, all NBS does is use nature to offset ever-growing carbon emissions, at the expense of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, who are biodiversity’s true custodians. Commercializing biodiversity and offsetting are not the answer to the climate or biodiversity crises. Corporations and governments must cut carbon emission at source, rather than use NBS for greenwashing.”
Henk Hobbelink, GRAIN: “If we let big oil, agribusiness and other giant corporations offset their emissions with what they call “nature based solutions”, we will not only allow them to continue polluting the atmosphere but also to create a giant new farmland grab at the cost of small-scale farmers and global food production. We need to promote food sovereignty instead, which is the best way to keep farmers on their land while fighting the climate crisis.”
Soumya Dutta, India Climate Justice / South Asian People’s Action on Climate Crisis / Friends of the Earth India: “Agricultural soil carbon sequestration projects such as the ‘Boomitra’ controlled project in India are false solutions to the climate change crisis. They let polluting corporations and countries continue with high emissions in return for carbon market money. They put the data of millions of small farmers in the hands of big corporations, through their micro surveillance, exposing small farmers to more control from big agri-corporations. This will have serious adverse consequences for food sovereignty.”
Jutta Kill, World Rainforest Movement: “The beautiful sound of “nature-based solutions” is deceitful. “Nature-based solutions” is REDD re-branded and expanded. For 15 years now, REDD has distracted from ending large-scale deforestation and provided cover for fossil fuel companies to keep on destroying underground carbon deposits. “Nature-based solutions” will result in the same conflicts, land grabs as REDD has done the past 15 years and fuel, not slow climate breakdown and deforestation.”
Notes for editors:
1) Press conference details. To attend the press conference please register here:
Asia / Europe press conference on 15 March (Tuesday) 16:00 Jakarta/Bangkok / 14:30 Delhi / 10:00 CET / 9:00 GMT https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqcuusqDgqHtxFstJmQqz52wbYe4PkyyBg
Americas press conference on 15 March (Tuesday) 13:00pm EDT / 11:00am Mexico City / 10:00am PDT / 14:00pm Montevideo https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcoce-qrzsiHt1GlSykyLKtc4Yc2Fvf7KOT
For information before the 14th of March on the speakers who will be present at the press conference on the 15th of March, please reach out to the press contacts below.
2) The full statement is available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia:
- Statement in English
- Declaración en español
- Déclaration en français
- Declaração em português
- Pernyataan dalam bahasa Indonesia
6) Links to video and photos:
- Gabon: Communities call for suspension of Grande Mayumba NbS project – Nov 2021 – PH Muyissi Environnement. Photo 1 – Photo 2.
- Brazil: Demonstration against REDD in Xapuri, Acre. December 2018.
For spokespeople please contact: Jutta Kill – firstname.lastname@example.org