Massive UN-Supported African Palm Plantations Leading to Oppression, Kidnapping and Murder
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Such a speculative approach, however, leads to many problems. The most widespread criticism of the CDM is that a project's legitimacy is based essentially on guessing what a country's emissions rate would have been without the project in question -- a number that is clearly impossible to quantify. A second problem involves the fact that many CDM projects are based on simply substituting fossil fuels with some alternative, such as waste-to-energy schemes, where trash is burned instead of coal to generate electricity, or biofuel refineries and biofuel feedstock plantations, where green carbon (living vegetation) replaces black carbon (petroleum) as a liquid fuel. The problem here is that most of these imagined clean energy schemes, analyzed over a project's lifetime, can churn out as much or more greenhouse gas emissions than oil or coal; considering such schemes according to a truly ecological metric sends the "win-win" up in a puff of smoke.
Further, many critics call the CDM a "zero sum game." In the words of Almuth Ernsting, a researcher with the European NGO BiofuelWatch, "for every ton of CO2 supposedly 'saved' in the South, another additional one is emitted in the North."
Another problem -- evidenced by the situation in Honduras -- is that CDM projects, by raining money from the sky, may incentivize land grabs, corruption, and human rights abuse. While the sums involved are relatively small compared to the investments already made by multilateral banks, CDM financing lends credibility to biofuel plantations, regardless of the associated human rights abuses, and thus attracts investment.
Viewed as a global phenomena, the concern is that, what the fossil fuel industry has done to get at the oil it needs -- disastrous spills, human rights atrocities, and a global game of Risk with the oil industry and the military on the winning team -- could be replicated by the biofuel rush. Only, oil reserves are where you find them, while biofuel feedstocks can be grown virtually anywhere.
The Violence in Bajo Aguan
While such global policies pretend to confront the climate crisis and the inequities between north and south by stimulating green investment, they appear to be causing what reporter Giorgio Trocchi calls "an agrarian conflict fueled by African palm and by monocultures in general, causing poverty and environmental destruction, while enriching very few."
In April 2009, some months before President Zelaya was removed from office, he oversaw the passage of a law called Decree 18-2008, that would promote agrarian reform by giving land titles to peasant groups across Honduras, including the MCA ( Movimiento Campesino del Aguan) and the MUCA ( Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguan) in the Aguan Valley. When Zelaya was forced out in June of that year, this law, like many other progressive policies he had endorsed, stagnated. A national resistance movement rose up, and the peasant organizations of the Aguan joined. By December 2009, the MUCA decided that the only way to carry out land reform under the coup government was to do it themselves, and they began an effort to recuperate lands held by the Aguan's large landowners, Facussé chief among them.
Since that time, dozens of members of the peasant movement have been killed.
Somewhere near the heart of the land struggle in the Aguan is a 5,000-hectare property formerly known as the Centro Regional de Entrenemiento Militar, the Regional Center for Military Training, or CREM in its Spanish acronym. A U.S. military training center during the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador, the land has changed hands several times since then, and in May, 2000, a year after Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras, the land was occupied by 1,000 peasant families who had lost everything in the storm. The families built a village there, which they named Guadelupe Carney, after a Jesuit priest who'd been famously disappeared in the '80s, and they formed what soon became the Campesino Movement of the Aguan (MCA). The MCA began a long, uphill struggle to gain legal title to the land under Honduras' much-neglected agrarian reform laws.