COPINHBy Alberto Saldamando
April 28, 2016

I’m sorry I can’ be with our brothers and sisters at this press conference to shed light on California’s misguided attempts to fight global warming.

I’m on my way to Honduras, in an international delegation to Honor Bertha Caceres, COPINH and the Lenca people of Honduras. Bertha Cáceres was assassinated, as have been others of the Lenca Peoples, for resisting the building of a series of hydroelectric dams on their territory. It is a well settled fact that these hydroelectric mega projects actually contribute greatly to global warming, and have been described as “methane streams.” This delegation is meant to honor her and her people’s brave resistance to another of the false solutions to climate change and global warming.

We note that these dams are internationally financed through a Honduran corporation called DESA. Ironically, on Earth Day, in signing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Accords, Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted as saying, “the power of this agreement is what it is going to do to unleash the private sector.” As in California, the United States is trusting in those who created and perpetuate the problem of Greenhouse Gas emissions, those who most profit by the continued exploitation and use of fossil fuels. There is no need to unleash the private sector. It is like unleashing ISIS on the problem of world peace.

There are many California communities represented at this press conference. Like the Lenca Peoples of Honduras, the people of Martinez and Richmond and others are communities most affected by false solutions to climate change. Dams and offsets do nothing to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. While the problem is emissions, these false solutions only allow emissions to continue. In acting in defense of their communities, these grass roots people are directly fighting for real solutions to climate change.

It is time to end what poet Gary Snider called the “addiction to long lines of oil.” The only real solution to catastrophic global warming is reducing carbon emissions to ZERO by the mid 2040’s, Every protest against the shipping of coal through Oakland, every blockade of tar sands oil, every demonstration against flaring and fracking, contributes to the fight against global warming.

Our organization, the Indigenous Environmental Network is most concerned about California’s plans to adopt a REDD project. While pretending to enhance the capacity of forests to absorb carbon, these project lead to the dispossession of Indigenous Peoples from their lands and only allow the continued emissions of California green house gas emitters. Indigenous Peoples have long been the defenders of the world’s forests. But, with California in the forefront, the private sector is being unleashed on Indigenous lands, forests and territories.

In honoring Bertha Cáceres and the Lenca Peoples of Honduras, we honor all front line communities in their struggles. They are not only local, isolated struggles. They are the only real global struggle against catastrophic climate change.

Note: I did this press statement for a “workshop” held by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). California has an MOU with the States of Chiapas in Mexico and Acre in Brazil, among others to institute a REDD project, where Greenhouse Gas polluters can invest in reforestation projects in those jurisdictions and apply resulting carbon credits as offsets to their emissions. Our good friend and ally Pam Tau Lee was to read it today at a press conference.


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