News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

President Biden has world governmental leaders attending his virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Change. The world governments invited include 17 countries responsible for about 80% of all global emissions. Our Indigenous Environmental Network is watching for the outcome of this summit on what their plans are to address real solutions for addressing the climate crisis and what climate ambitions they plan to bring to the United Nations climate negotiations this November in Glasgow, Scotland, to raise targets for reducing GHG emissions at levels to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The current commitments made by world governments under the Paris Agreement already puts the world on a course for a disastrous 3-5 degrees of warming with a problematic carbon “net zero” goal that has left a trap door open, leading to risky geoengineering technologies like carbon capture and storage and a world of carbon markets.

Indigenous Environmental Network will see what the outcome is of this two-day summit. We hope this is not another attempt of the worst enablers of global warming to paint themselves yet another shade of green with climate ambitions that will be vague pledges that do not directly address the continued investments in fossil fuels.

The United States and other national governments are setting “net zero” targets, as part of the actions they are taking in the context of the Paris Agreement, and in the context of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) reporting process. Government “net-zero” targets are really just accounting tricks.

“Net-zero” emissions sounds like it cuts emissions to zero but it does not. “Net-zero” emissions pretend to “remove” pollution with false solutions to climate change to justify polluting more. Furthermore, “net-zero” emissions and carbon neutrality inherently imply that the reduction of carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions can be met through carbon market systems and techno-fixes.

Geoengineering technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) are examples of techno-fixes that can be claimed by the governments of the world as producing “net-zero” emissions as well as building so-called green infrastructure. However, these techno-fixes are expensive, unproven, unjust and do not address the root causes of climate change nor support environmental justice. Carbon trading allows polluters to buy and sell permits to pollute instead of cutting air pollution at source. Our Indigenous spiritual authorities have told us that the trading of carbon, as part of the air we breathe, of the sky, and turning it into a private property to be traded as a commodity, is a violation of the sacred.

We are seeing an alarming tendency towards “politics of desperation” in climate policy, where opportunistic disaster capitalism coupled with a myopic carbon fundamentalism drives a pandemic of corporate and private sector false promises. We are being flooded with billions of dollars from philanthro-capitalists such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk that are pushing techno-fixes.

Investing in America means making a just transition away from a fossil fuel economy. First and foremost, if we are to stop climate change, we must create a plan to keep fossil fuels in the ground that includes cutting off subsidies, tax breaks and carbon pricing loopholes. Let us see what the US and the world leaders come up with.

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.

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