Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for agrofuels

Why we should go to COP15 – Interview with Bolvian Indigenous Activist

[blip.tv ?posts_id=2898963&dest=-1]

On 13th November Bristol Indymedia and Trapese collective filmed an interview with Crisitian Dominguez on his views of the COP15 summit and what his country Bolivia was hoping to achieve at the coinference. As well talking about this he also discussed his support for the people going to Copenhagen to support their demands coming from the global south. Find out what he had to say on the Bliptv Bristol Indymedia channel link below.


More information:

Cristian Domínguez is the Bolivian Secretary of Environment and Resources and United Confederation of Bolivian Campesino Workers and member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, participating in the UN climate talks, presents his country’s position on the negotiations. As part of the 100 Days and C-Words exhibition at Arnolfini,[1, 2] Domínguez joined local activists planning to go to Copenhagen to call for an urgent people’s mobilisation to Copenhagen and an end to green capitalist solutions for the benefit of all life on earth.

Cristian Domínguez has previously said, “It’s not the decision of one country, but all of the countries of the world. It’s not about the interests of states or political parties, but the interests of the citizens of the world.” [3]

Evo Morales, Bolivian president, will be a major player at Copenhagen. He has demanded a court for climate justice and indigenous rights. Latin American and Caribbean countries have joined forces to call for climate justice and the defence of the rights of the Earth ahead of climate change talks in Copenhagen. ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas) has called on developed countries to recognise the “climate debt” caused by their historical carbon emissions. The network, consisting of nine counties representing 73 million people, also demanded that rich nations “adopt significant commitments to reduce greenhouse gas discharge and approve mechanisms to help countries to preserve, protect and conserve their forests”. [3]

Naomi Klein, in a statement published on 13.11.09 for The Guardian, called for civil disobedience to support the Global South’s demands for Climate Justice in Copenhagen, “Unlike at previous summits where alternatives seemed like an afterthought, in Copenhagen the alternatives will take centre stage.” [4]

Alice Cutler, from Bristol said, “I will be going to Copenhagen next month to support the alliances of countries of the Global South to demand climate justice and real people’s solutions rather than neoliberal illusions. My message is, it’s not too late to book your ticket, come and make sure that the pressure from civil society on the outside gets progress inside. It could be the most important thing you ever do.” [5]

[1] Arnolfini 100 Days season (29 Aug – 6 Dec 2009)

Marking the Countdown to the Climate Change Conference, Arnolfini presents 100 Days – a major programme of exhibitions, films, performances and events around issues of climate change, social justice, art and activism. http://www.100days.org.uk

[2] C Words

Carbon, Climate, Capital, Culture is a major exhibition and season of 50 events in the run-up to COP 15, at leading contemporary arts centre Arnolfini, Bristol from 3.10.09 – 29.11.09.


[3] Bolivia Summit report


[4] Naomi Klein


[5] Alice Cutler has been participating in the C-Words season and is part of Trapese Popular Education Collective http://www.trapese.org/ trapese at riseup.net

Related Link: http://blip.tv/file/2879169

Corporate Land Grabs in Africa

Western Corporations buying up land in the Global South for Carbon Offsets, Agrofuels and ready for  profiteering at the next food crisis.

The International Food Policy Research Institute has just released a
detailed report on huge corporate purchases of land in some of the poorest countries in Africa. In the next food crisis, huge profits can be made, while millions starve. Some secret agreements came to light during last month’s rebellion in Madagascar. See more details in the IFPRI food blog and Geoffrey York’s report on what he calls “the new colonialism” in the Globe and Mail 5 May 09.

As startling as the facts is the source: IFPRI could hardly be more official, headquartered on Washington’s K Street, headed by a conservative Australian economist, financed by governments and foundations, one of 15 CGIAR research centres stuffed with academic agricultural specialists, some of whom have supported GMOs. That such a source would sound the alarm of a massive threat to the global commons and food security speaks volumes. Many of the land grabs are European carbon fund investments, the new casino of the financiers. Africa is not the only target: see IFPRI map “Land Grabbing” by Foreign Investors in Developing Countries and Stephen Leahy “Global land rush” in IPS News 5 May 09 citing deals in Pakistan, Phillipines, Burma, China and Latin America. Grain has an even longer list (Nov 2008), backed by a blog of clippings.

The semi-official IISD, in Thirst for distant lands (May 2009, pp.11-18) warns that such leases constitute “property” under international trade law. A host country trying to stop subsequent environmental damage due to chemicals, loss of water or food supply, could face $million lawsuits from the “owner” similar to NAFTA chapter 11.

Here are some of the African deals reported by IFPRI (One hectare = 2.47 acres).

Lonrho (UK) rice lease: 25,000 hectares

Democratic Republic of Congo
China biofuel oil palm plantation: 2.8 million hectares

Jenat (Saudi) barley, wheat and livestock feed: 10,000 hectares

India $4-billion (U.S.): in flower-growing and sugar estates
Dubai World Trading Co. tea: 5,000 hectares
Flora EcoPower (Germany) biofuel: 13,000 hectares
Sun Biofuels (UK) jatropha, a biofuel crop: extent unknown
Saudi land lease: $100-million (U.S.)

Qatar fruit and vegetable lease: 20,000 hectares

Daewoo (South Korea) corn: 1.3 million hectares, cancelled when the scandal broke.
Varun International (India) rice: secret lease of 465,000 hectares

Djibouti land lease, extent unknown

Libya lease for rice: 100,000 hectares

China proposed $800-million (U.S.) for rice, cancelled after protests rose.
Skebab (Sweden) biofuel: 100,000 hectares
Sun Biofuels (UK) jatropha biofuel: extent unknown

Trans4mation Agric-tech Ltd. (UK): 10,000 hectares.
China (unknown company rice: 10,000 hectares

Egypt wheat land: 2 million tons a year
Jordan leases for livestock and crops: 25,000 hectares
Kuwait: a “giant” strategic partnership, details unknown
Qatar set up a joint holding company in agriculture
Saudi Arabia lease for wheat, vegetables, and livestock: 10,000 hectares
South Korea lease for wheat: 690,000 hectares
United Arab Emirates lease for food crops: 30,000 initially, seeking another 378,000 hectares

Saudi Arabia proposal for 500,000 hectares
China rice lease: 300 hectares
CAMS Group (UK) sweet sorghum biofuel land purchase: 45,000 hectares
Sun Biofuels (UK) jatropha biofuel: 5,500 hectares

China jatropha proposal: 2 million hectares.