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News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

From March 14-29th the United Nations 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 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  (IPCC) report due to be released later this month is likely to lend more unwarranted credence to the "nature-based solutions" concept, as the United Nations climate COP26 talks in Glasgow did.

In a statement released yesterday 364 organizations, 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.

"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"!

Pictured: Demonstration in Xapuri, Acre, Brazil - December 2018.

Pictured: Demonstration in Xapuri, Acre, Brazil - December 2018.

Quotes:

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 United Nations 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: 

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“The umbrella term of Nature-based solutions is functioning effectively to greenwash and expand profit-making opportunities – so the number of corporate 'Nature-based solutions 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 Nature-based solutions 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 Nature-based solutions 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 reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) re-branded and expanded. For 15 years now, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation 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 reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation has done the past 15 years and fuel, not slow climate breakdown and deforestation.”

About Indigenous Environmental Network

Established in 1990, the Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Indigenous Environmental Network’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.

Learn more here: ienearth.org.

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