Asinine biofuels policies cause destructive landgrab in Kenya
LANDGRAB IN KENYA DELTA
Link to article in the Guardian: Biofuels land grab in Kenya’s Tana Delta
First disastrous “green energy”:
Malaysia sacrifices its elephants for palm oil
Avove picture: two victims of our “green energy”.
Palm oil is used in food and other industries, but also as biodiesel for our cars. The EU’s subsidies for this “renewable” energy, which is NOT carbon neutral as politicians pretend it to be*, are causing the accelerated devastation of Borneo, Sumatra and Malaysia’s tropical forests, among others in the world.
* See this edifying video from the famous German/French TV channel ARTE: http://www.epaw.org/multimedia.php?article=se
In Borneo, plantations are expanding rapidly at the expense of the forest, leaving orang-utans, pygmy elephants and Java rhinos without habitat. Western-born, half-baked “green” energy policies (biodiesel etc.) are backfiring, but arrogant politicians and bureaucrats won’t admit they were wrong.
Rainforest Rescue’s appeal:
It was a shocking sight for the rangers of the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve: a baby elephant trying in vain to wake its mother with its trunk. She had been poisoned, along with 13 other animals. Their carcasses were found over the past four weeks on land controlled by Yayasan Sabah, the state wood and palm oil group. The elephants all belonged to the same herd, which had been staying at the edge of the rainforest reserve – in close proximity to a logging camp and oil palm plantations.
“The elephants ate rat poison. That’s how the plantation workers prevent the animals from eating the fruit of the oil palm”, suspects Laurentius Ambu, director of the local conservation authority. The Borneo pygmy elephant is a rare forest elephant subspecies, of which no more than 1,500 animals remain – almost all in Sabah.
Malaysia continues to rely on exporting tropical timber and palm oil. Policymakers are in the process of clearing the last remaining rainforest areas in the states of Sabah and Sarawak for plantations. And with those forests, Borneo is losing an incredible wealth of animal and plant species, including endangered rhinos, orangutans and proboscis monkeys.
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman is driving the deforestation by personally granting permits to clear the rainforest and establish palm oil plantations. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the state-owned Yayasan Sabah Group. In late 2012, the company started to cut down another 70,000 hectares of rainforest for plantations, leaving no room for the forest elephants.
Call on Aman and the Malaysian government to put an immediate end to this crime against nature and to work toward protecting the rainforests and their residents.
Author: Rainforest Rescue
A French MP dares!
A member of the French conservative party UPM, François Vannson, condemns “laisser faire” windfarm policies and demands that sustainable development principles be respected as part of the energy transition.
* * *
WCFN commends Member of Parliament François Vannson.
The French political class seems to have buried the Environment Code, an essential piece of legislation. We thank Mr. Vannson for unearthing it, and with it the respect for nature, biodiversity, and the quality of landscapes they infer.
We also thank him for his interest in preserving the health and well being of populations. The rest of the political class ignores windfarm victims completely, even denies their existence. The sufferings of windfarm neighbors – and even their deaths – Click here – are the “collateral damages” of a corrupt democracy.
* * *
In a written question to the Minister for the Environment, the MP for the Vosges region François Vannson, condemns the inconsistencies within the French government’s wind policy by highlighting discrepancies with sustainable development objectives.
He puts forward a set of specific proposals, including that wind farms be built at no less than 1,500 m from habitations, and that they be banned from forests and protected zones. He also calls for the re-establishment of the “5 mast” rule, the appointment of consultants by an independent authority, and that impact studies consider social cohesion as a factor.
In conclusion, Mr. François Vannson points out that the energy transition cannot be properly managed without the consent of populations based on respect, dialogue and the preservation of natural environments.
These proposals also form part of a call for the controlled development of wind energy, launched by a group of several environmental protection organisations.
After the difficulties involved in passing the Brottes bill in Parliament, this stance from a member of the opposition attests to the growing discontent surrounding the French government’s energy policy.
A response from Minister Delphine Batho is expected.
Here is the full text of the written question to the Minister, as deposited at the French Parliament (Assemblée Nationale):
Mr François Vannson calls the attention of the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy to the dangers of a laisser-faire development policy for wind energy.
Indeed, this renewable energy is only sustainable as long as its development is controlled and monitored by regulations. Industrialists from the wind sector must not be the only ones able to “call the shots”.
As set out in article 19-III of the law of 3rd August 2009, the development of renewable energies must not be to the detriment of other sustainable development objectives. These objectives are set out in article L.110 of the Environment Code, as follows:
-the fight against climate change,
-preservation of biodiversity, ecosystems and resources,
-social cohesion and solidarity between territories and generations,
-the self-fulfillment of all human beings,
-all within a development dynamic that sticks to principles of responsible production and consumption.
In order to comply with these objectives, it is more important than ever to consider elements such as flourishing landscapes, biodiversity and social cohesion – the very elements that the obsession with wind is threatening.
In the same logic, it would be timely to reestablish the 5 mast minimum rule, to go back to defining wind development areas on a local scale as was planned for ZDEs, to revise regional wind plans established without consultation, to include social cohesion in the scope of impact studies, to allow for the appointment of consultants by an authority independent of the project backers, to ensure wind farms are not built in protected zones, to ban the establishment of wind farms in forests and forest edges, and to maintain a minimum precautionary distance of 1,500m from homes.
The energy transition cannot be properly managed without the consent of populations. It must be based on respect, dialogue, and the preservation of natural environments.
Wolves, like other top predators, actually help biodiversity
The following is a short version, selected by WCFN from:
What good are wolves?
Compiled by Norman A. Bishop
Predation is one of the dominant forces in all of nature.
“Adolph Murie realized that wolves selected weaker Dall sheep, “which may be of great importance to the sheep as a species.”
His brother, Olaus J.Murie, thought predators may have an important influence during severe winters in reducing elk herds too large for their winter range.
Douglas H. Pimlott pointed out that wolves control their own densities.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF APEX PREDATORS
The wolf has been reintroduced in the Yellowstone National Park and has been spreading in adjacent areas.
Yellowstone National Park wolf project leader Douglas W. Smith says that restoration of wolves there has added exponentially to our knowledge of how natural ecosystems work.
Mark Hebblewhite and Doug Smith documented that wolves change species abundance, community composition, and physical structure of the vegetation, preventing overuse of woody plants like willow, reducing severity of browsing on willows that provide nesting for songbirds.
In Banff, songbird diversity and abundance were double in areas of high wolf densities, compared to that of areas with fewer wolves . Fewer browsers lead to more willows, providing habitat for beaver, a keystone species, which in turn create aquatic habitat for other plants and animals.
The reintroduction of wolves has diminished coyote population and predation, actually helping the pronghorn.
By reducing coyotes, which were consuming 85% of the production of mice in Lamar Valley, restored wolves divert more food to raptors, foxes, and weasels.
By concentrating on killing vulnerable calf elk and very old female elk, wolves reduce competition for forage by post-breeding females, and enhance the nutrition of breeding-age females.
In about 75 years, moose in Grand Teton National Park erupted to five times the population outside, changed willow structure and density, and eliminated neotropical birds; Gray Catbirds and MacGillivray’s Warblers.
Wolves promote biological diversity, affecting 20 vertebrate species, and feeding many scavengers (ravens, magpies, pine martens, wolverines, bald eagles, gray jays, golden eagles, three weasel species, mink, lynx, cougar, grizzly bear, chickadees, Clark’s nutcracker, masked shrew and great grey owl).
P.J. White and Bob Garrott observed that, by lowering elk numbers, wolves may contribute to higher bison numbers; by decreasing coyote populations, result in higher pronghorn numbers. They also said wolves may ameliorate ungulate-caused landscape simplification.
Mid-sized predators can be destructive in the absence of large keystone predators. In the absence of wolves, pronghorn have been threatened with elimination by coyotes. Wolves have reduced coyotes, and promoted survival of pronghorn fawns. Pronghorn does actually choose the vicinity of wolf dens to give birth, because coyotes avoid those areas, according to Douglas W. Smith.
Daniel Fortin and others saw that wolves may cause elk to shift habitat, using less aspen, and favoring songbirds that nest in the aspen.
Christopher Wilmers and all tell us that hunting by humans does not benefit scavengers the way wolf kills do. Carrion from wolf kills is more dispersed spatially and temporally than that from hunter kills, resulting in three times the species diversity on wolf kills versus hunter kills.
Wolves subsidize many scavengers by only partly consuming their prey; they increase the time over which carrion is available, and change the variability in scavenge from a late winter pulse (winterkill) to all winter. They decrease the variability in year-to-year and month to-month carrion availability.
Noting that wolves may be a keystone species, without which ungulate densities increase, vegetation communities become overbrowsed, moose and beaver decline, and biodiversity is reduced. But as elk decline, aspen and willow regeneration are enhanced. In this context, wolf predation should be viewed as a critical component of an ecosystem management approach across jurisdictions.
WOLF PREDATION MAY SLOW DISEASE SPREAD
Chronic wasting disease could wipe out our elk and deer. Tom Hobbs writes that increasing mortality rates in diseased populations can retard disease transmission and reduce disease prevalence. Reduced lifespan, in turn, can compress the time interval when animals are infectious, thereby reducing the number of infections produced per infected individual.
Results from simulations suggest that predation by wolves has the potential to eliminate CWD from an infected elk population.
Wildlife veterinarian Mark R. Johnson writes that wolves scavenge carrion, such as aborted bison or elk calves. By eating them, they may reduce the spread of Brucellosis to other bison or elk.
Scott Creel and John Winnie, Jr. report that wolves also cause elk to congregate in smaller groups, potentially slowing the spread of diseases that thrive among dense populations of ungulates.
John Duffield and others report that restoration of wolves has cost about $30 million, but has produced a $35.5 million annual net benefit to greater Yellowstone area counties, based on increased visitation by wolf watchers. Some 325,000 park visitors saw wolves in 2005.
In Lamar Valley alone, 174,252 visitors observed wolves from 2000 to 2009; wolves were seen daily in summers for nine of those ten years.
HUMAN VALUES & ETHICS
Wolves cause us to examine our values and attitudes. Paul Errington wrote, “Of all the native biological constituents of a northern wilderness scene, I should say that the wolves present the greatest test of human wisdom and good intentions.”
Aldo Leopold, father of game management in America, said, “Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; … The land is one organism.”
Leopold also pointed out that the first rule of intelligent tinkering with natural ecosystems was to keep all the pieces. Eliminating predators is counter to that advice.
Wolves remind us to consider what is ethically and esthetically right in dealing with natural systems. As Leopold wrote in his essay “The Land Ethic,” “A land ethic …does affirm (animals’) right to continued existence…in a natural state.” He concluded, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
Read the whole article as quoted by Cathy Taibbi, here: The Examiner
WOLVES ARE BEING HUNTED AND TRAPPED AGAIN
After the Great Lakes wolves, Minnesota’s wolves lost federal protection under the Endangered Species Act earlier this year (2012). State managers rushed to authorize wolf hunting and trapping. Hunters shot and needlessly killed more than 120 of Minnesota’s wolves in the first 12 days of the hunt. The state’s goal is to kill 400 by the end of the season.
Wolf trapping season begins Nov. 24, and hundreds more of these beautiful and intelligent animals will suffer and die in gruesome leghold traps and snares.
Wolves are an essential part of the American wildscape. They regulate prey populations and help maintain biodiversity. Sport hunting and trapping may actually exacerbate problems between domestic animals and wolves. Sport killings disrupt pack dynamics and create lone wolves that are more apt to target livestock or pets out of desperation.
Source: The Center for Biological Diversity
Windfarms in Quebec, a redundant investment
THE WORLD COUNCIL FOR NATURE
OPEN LETTER :
To the Right Honorable Jean Charest
Premier of Quebec
July 17th 2012
The World Council for Nature (WCFN), considering that the implantation of wind turbines in the countryside causes collateral damages to the fauna and its habitat, wishes to bring to your attention the fact that investing in windfarms will not bring any positive return to the population of Quebec or to the health of the planet. You already have more clean energy than you need and must sell it often at a loss because your neighbors no longer really need it. It is therefore absurd to invest huge sums of public funds to produce more of it, at a price four times higher (1).
It is no secret that Hydro Quebec finds it increasingly difficult to sell its surpluses, which amount to about 8,700,000,000 kWh a year. It is also paying close to 150 million dollars each year to the thermal power station of Bécancour, to produce NO electricity. This amounts to $900 million paid to date, for nothing (2). What a miscalculation! What a waste!
Yet you are presently investing considerable amounts of public money into more generating capacity, imposing to Quebeckers windfarms that they don’t need. It is simply nonsensical. Windfarms won’t make Quebec “greener”, on the contrary. It is ahead of the world on that score, covering as it does its electricity needs with hydro power, which is “clean”.
What you are actually doing is replacing a clean and cheap energy which has no ill effects on the health of neighbors or on birds and bats (hydro), by another which causes multiple collateral damages and costs four times as much (windfarms) (1).
Windfarms destroy landscapes and kill millions of birds and very useful bats (3) for no gain whatsoever. They emit infrasound that cause sleep deprivation to neighbors, up to 10 km away for the larger models (e.g. 3 MW). Coming on top of plentiful hydro they duplicate the ecological impacts and financial investments, and this to satisfy the same demand for electricity. It is the opposite of ecological, and amounts to throwing away billions of dollars of public funds as wind energy is heavily subsidized.
Windfarms in Quebec are a redundant investment, completely useless because you already have too much energy, clean and cheap to boot. They are also redundant in the rest of the world, but in the case of Quebec it is plain as the nose in the face.
I live in Spain, a country which is technically bankrupt in part because of subsidies to renewable energies, which have increased the country’s sovereign debt by some 30 billion dollars to date, plus 8 billion more each year because the subsidies are guaranteed for 20 years. We produce the same amount of electricity as before, but it costs much more. As for our 18,000 wind turbines, they haven’t even reduced our consumption of fossil fuels, because of problems caused by their intermittency (4).
Have you considered the loss of value of properties that are or will be affected by the sight of these industrial installations, and by the infrasound they emit, which cause sleep deprivation? We are talking about cumulative losses in the billions of dollars, which will impoverish Quebec as a whole, in addition to rising electricity bills and the loss of tourism potential.
Last but not least, economists have shown that large subsidies and high energy prices both contribute to the destruction of jobs across the economy, whereas wind farms create very few permanent ones (5). Spain is a good example, with 25% unemployment.
Please, Mr Charest, do not destroy la Belle Province, its nature, and its future.
Tel : +34 693 643 736
(1) – «The wind-power rates are more than twice as high as nuclear, and four times those of hydro. » http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/the-sorry-lessons-of-green-power-subsidies/article4103467/
(2) – Globe and Mail: “did Hydro Quebec miscalculate? ” http://www.sqwalk.com/blog2008/001187.html
$900 million wasted with Bécancour, and a surplus of 8.7 TWh: http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/affaires/actualite-economique/201206/29/01-4539655-becancour-900-millions-pour-garder-la-centrale-fermee.php
(3) – Wind farms kill millions of birds and bats a year:
(4) – Wind farms are redundant: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=4540
(5) – Five jobs destroyed for each “green job” subsidized:
AUDITOR GENERAL of ONTARIO:
Green jobs kill other jobs in the economy:
His radio interview:
GREEN JOBS ARE A BURDEN, NOT A BENEFIT FOR THE ECONOMY
The Beacon Hill Institute, 25 June 2009
WHAT HAVE WE DONE?
This video is a must see:
For urgent matters: firstname.lastname@example.org
Petition: stop the plan to legalize the killing of eagles
How far are politicians willing to go? Should we let them? Will the media be complicit of their collusion with Big Wind?
The US government is proposing to grant a first-of-its-kind permit that would allow a wind farm operator to legally kill golden eagles. This would no doubt be followed by more permits of the kind, in the US and soon in the rest of the world.
Let’s not allow the greed of big business to legalize the death of these living treasures. You can help stop this monstrosity by signing the following petition to the President of the United States, its House of Representatives, and its Senate: “Please do not grant a permit to the developer of a central Oregon wind-power project to legally kill golden eagles.”
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
Will you pass it on to your friends and contacts?
Thank you for your concern.
EXCERPTS FROM BIOFUELSWATCH:
“We call upon the UK and Scottish Governments to stop subsidies for electricity from biomass and bioliquids (i.e. agrofuels) which mean more land-grabbing, logging and industrial tree plantations worldwide.
“Under the Renewables Obligation, the UK and Scottish Government are offering generous subsidies for burning unlimited amounts of wood, most of it imported, as well as agrofuels for electricity. Although the UK Government has proposed to cap the amount of subsidies for electricity from agrofuels, that cap would still translate into a minimum of 110,000 hectares of new plantations, most likely oil palm plantations in the global South.
“The scale of the UK’s biomass plans: The UK Government wishes to see biomass generating up to 50TWh by 2020. This would require over 50 and possibly over 60 million tonnes of wood being burned in UK power stations each year, compared to a total UK wood production of less than 10 million tonnes annually. This figure is likely to escalate, as the bottomless subsidies are likely to attract more investment from companies. By comparison, total EU wood pellet imports were 11 million tonnes last year.
“At present, most UK wood imports come from North America, as well as from Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Russia, contributing to more logging and more forest and biodiversity destruction in those regions as well as releasing large amounts of carbon as a result. Companies are increasingly looking to source wood from industrial tree plantations in Southern countries, too, for example from Brazil and Ghana. Both directly and indirectly, the vast new demand for wood require an expansion of industrial tree plantations and thus more land-grabbing, more destruction of forests and grasslands and more depletion and pollution of soils and freshwater. This poses a further threat to the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples, forest-dependent peoples and small farmers.
Signed: Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch
A PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THIS DEVASTATING POLICY IS OPENED IN THE UK
We recommend UK residents write to their MPs before the deadline —> http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/uk-campaign/rocs_overview/
Politics and money have corrupted the ecology movement.
There is a need for fresh air.
The sea is a source of wonder. Let’s keep it that way.
Joining forces against the destruction of Nature
Tropical forests converted into plantations for biofuels, wilderness areas invaded by wind turbines, deserts desecrated by solar plants, oceans holding more trash than fish, mangroves turned into shrimp farms, etc.: the planet’s ecosystems are under threat on a scale never equalled before. Sadly, traditional ecologists endorse many of these aggressions. So it is time for real conservationists and nature lovers to distance themselves from this perversion, and to regroup under a new banner. The World Council for Nature is the new, totally independent umbrella organization that will defend natural habitats above anything else. Without habitat there is no biodiversity, no unspoiled landscapes, and no recreation, no inspiration for man.
WCFN have no budget, but we are dedicated people who think nothing is impossible. Together, we will fight current and future aggressions against the natural world, such as:
- deforestation, and the replacing of biodiversity-rich habitats by biodiversity-poor plantations or other land uses,
- unlimited urban sprawl,
- unlimited industrial and commercial sprawl, including activities labeled “green”,
- dumping untreated waste or sewage, inland or at sea,
- oil spills,
- capture and/or trade of wild animals, including for scientific purposes [save force majeure, such as pandemics for instance; for the rest, a protected habitat and tranquility is what wild animals really need],
- experiments on animals, including for scientific purposes [new techniques exist that should be substituted: click here ]
- introducing plants foreign to the land, e.g. planting eucalyptus in Brazil [presently being done to earn carbon credits],
- destruction of native animal species and their habitats by exotic “invader” species, e.g. beavers in Argentina and Chile.
This list is not exhaustive and will be completed with suggestions from members, with the approval of all.
Membership is free of any charge.
To join, see “About” in the menu (above, within the banner picture).
For urgent matters: email@example.com