London Islamic Network for the Environment.
A small but important correction!
The correct date of Larry Lohmann's article (2nd notice below) is '2007', NOT '2000'! as was originally stated in Ecobites. Apologies for the mistake.
The corrected notice is below.
In this edition of Ecobites are four notices.
First is news of the recent launch of LINE Leaf, the long awaited newsletter of LINE (London Islamic Network for the Environment). Next, Larry Lohmann sheds light on the UK Bank, Barclays, and its investment of US $257m into a gas pipeline project forced through a community of Thai Muslims, whilst the UK government claims leadership in tackling climate change.
Following this is notice of two public meetings on climate change: the first near East London Mosque with LINE, London Rising Tide and the World Development Movement, and the second at the Friends Meeting House in Euston, London, with George Monbiot, Greenpeace, Camp for Climate Action, & Campaign against Climate Change.
1) NEWSLETTER OF THE LONDON ISLAMIC NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: LINE LEAF
The recently launched newsletter can be downloaded from: www.lineonweb.org.uk/Resources/newsletter
2) As Barclays Bank invests US $257m into a gas pipeline project forced through a community of Thai Muslims, a question being asked is:
WHO ARE THE CLIMATE LEADERS?
3 August 2007
The full article can be viewed on:
As the European Union, the US and big business vie with each other to be recognised as taking serious action on climate change, Larry Lohmann wonders whether the real leadership is not to be found elsewhere.
Forget, for a moment, the Kyoto Protocol and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Leave aside the burgeoning carbon "offset" business. If you're looking for real progress on climate change, your time might be better spent paying a visit to a couple of coastal towns in southern Thailand. For travellers on the road from Bangkok to Malaysia, the crossroads at Bo Nok-Baan Krut might seem only a collection of rice fields, fishing boats, tourist resorts, coconut trees, temples and shops. Yet this is a community that defeated corporate and state plans to build one of the biggest coal-fired power plants in Thailand on its beachfront. The victory cost years of sweat and blood. Today the community is consolidating its gains, exploring wind-powered electricity and lending a hand to communities battling fossil fuel projects elsewhere.
One such community lies several hundred kilometres south in Chana district. Chana's local monster is a prestige Thai-Malaysian natural gas pipeline and refining venture backed by Thailand's ousted tycoon Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Chana is less lucky than its sister community to the north. After years of fraudulent land deals, bribes, and intimidation and beatings by police, a huge gas separation plant now defiantly sits on community wakaf land, a supposedly inalienable Muslim commons entrusted to God, drawing gas from a pipeline illegally forced across a local beach. A gas-fired power plant is going up. Chemical works may not be far behind. But villagers are not giving up. They say that they are fighting not only for their lives and religion, but for a natural heritage that belongs to the whole country.
Some professional climate activists slight such local struggles as secondary to the task of negotiating global emissions reduction targets. They forget that dealing with climate change means, above all, finding practical means of keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
British officials... talk of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050. Yet they promote airport expansion, back World Bank efforts to ramp up fossil fuel use worldwide and are committed to large-scale carbon trading — a messy US invention that only slows the transition away from fossil fuels.
In the private sector, meanwhile, banks such as Barclays parade plans to go "carbon neutral", while at the same time expanding fossil fuel investment and their fossil fuel trading teams. Emblematically, Barclays has even pitted itself directly against the hydrocarbon protesters of Chana. With an investment of US$257 million, Barclays Capital leads the consortium of banks supporting the Trans Thai-Malaysia gas project. Despite repeated invitations, none of its 13,200 worldwide staff has ever even visited the Chana villagers. Contempt — not only for local livelihoods, but also for the aspiration for a livable climate — doesn't come much clearer than that.
Chico Mendes, the Brazilian unionist who was murdered in 1988 while working to save the jobs of rubber tappers threatened by Amazon clearance, had a famous saying. "At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees", Mendes said. "Then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realise I am fighting for humanity."
Villagers in Bo Nok, Chana and elsewhere could say the same. Who are the real climate leaders? It may be time for a rethink.
[An account of the struggle in Chana can be found at < http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk>. This article first appeared in Red Pepper <http://www.redpepper.org.uk >).]
3) LINE, London Rising Tide & WDM invite you to:
CLIMATE CHANGE PUBLIC MEETING (East London)
Date: Thursday November 1st 2007
Time: 6pm - 7pm (Doors open 5:30pm)
Venue: London Action Resource Centre (LARC) 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, E1 1ES. (behind East London Mosque, opposite Tayyibs).
Are you concerned about climate change? You are invited to attend a meeting with speakers from: London Rising Tide, World Development Movement (WDM) & London Islamic Network for the Environment (LINE). Find out how climate change is affecting, and will affect, the developing world. Meet people taking action near you. Discover how you can be more effective by working with others.
Websites: London Rising Tide: www.londonrisingtide.org.uk ; World Development Movement: www.wdm.org.uk ; London Islamic Network for the Environment: www.lineonweb.org.uk
4) Campaign against Climate Change invites you to a Public Meeting:
"HOW CAN WE WIN THE RACE AGAINST CLIMATE CATASTROPHE?" (Euston, London)
Date: Thursday November 8th
Venue: The Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road, London (opposite Euston station).
George Monbiot, Author, Journalist and Campaigner
John Sauven, Director of Greenpeace UK
Claire Fauset, Camp for Climate Action
Phil Thornhill, National Coordinator Campaign against Climate Change
This year the arctic ice cap shrunk to just 60% of its normal size (the average summer size for 1979-2000). We are seeing the first macro-impact of global warming. Some have speculated that only a small temperature increase (of a kind quite possible in the next ten years or so) could see the ice disappear completely and very rapidly. That would leave open sea which absorbs heat from the sun rather than reflect it back into the atmosphere as ice does. The warmed waters would then transmit heat to the land causing massive melting of permafrost, releasing huge quantities of CO2 and methane, triggering a massive warming event that would render much of the globe uninhabitable. This is just one of the terrifying "positive feedback" scenarios that have been suggested as a possible result of continuing to belch out greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the way we do now.
So what are we doing about it ? Changing the light bulbs. Buying cars that use slightly less petrol. At most, reducing emissions by a few percentage points a year. Do we have a plan even remotely radical enough to stand any real chance of heading off disaster? Where are the politicians conveying the true urgency of the situation ? Where is the solemn prime ministerial broadcast explaining that the nation and the world is in grave peril and we need to take extreme action? What can we do in this situation to turn the politics around and get the scale and speed of action that we really need ?
George Monbiot in his recent book "Heat" has offered a radical blueprint for survival. But recently he has said that even that does not go far enough.
Come to this Public Meeting to find out what he is saying now –what the Director of Britain's best known environmental pressure group has to say about it, too, - and also the view from the activists who hit the headlines with their 'Climate Camp' at Heathrow, earlier this year.