NGOs demand closure of World Bank climate change fund

by William Yeatman on April 27, 2004

in Politics

A press release issued by NGO Carbon Trade Watch on April 19 called for the closure of one of the first funds set up to help developing countries cope with the costs of fighting global warming.  The release read, More than 50 environmental and social justice NGOs and other groups have sent a letter of protest to the World Bank calling for the closure of its new emissions trading fund, The Prototype Carbon Fund.

 In the year of the World Banks 60th anniversary and in the run-up to intense protests in Washington, D.C. at their annual meeting this month, the groups state that the Banks new fund is destructive greenwash and has in fact created extra problems for communities and the environment.  The fund was set up in 1999 to facilitate the new trade in greenhouse gases created under the Kyoto Protocol.  The groups state that so far the fund has exacerbated existing human rights violations and furthered environmental destruction.

One of the funds model projects is located in Brazil and involves the expansion of monoculture eucalyptus plantations owned by the corporation, Plantar.  The plantations were originally established by forcibly evicting geraiszeiros peoples from the land and since then the plantations owners have been accused of creating slave-like conditions.  Furthermore, the plantations have heavily polluted surrounding water sources, thus devastating the livelihoods of local farmers and fisher-folk.

The World Bank will fund the expansion of these plantations in order to generate carbon credits for the international trade in greenhouse gases.  However, on top of the impacts upon the local environment and peoples, there is no guarantee that the project will actually have a permanent positive effect on the climate. 

 Marcelo Calazans from local Brazilian NGO, FASE-ES, states, This and many other projects have terrible negative impacts on local people and environments and it is still unclear if there is any real benefits for the climate.  We believe that the Prototype Carbon Fund should cease operations and close down immediately.

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