Global Anti Incineration Action GAIA / Globale Anti Müllverbrennungs- Aktion- Newsletter
Dear GAIA Members and Friends,
GAIA wishes everyone a happy and safe end of 2011. It has been a year of remarkable struggles and successes in our collective efforts to challenge waste and pollution, and to promote healthy, sustainable solutions. We're pleased to share some of the most recent successes—including victories in Brazil and the United States, and zero waste events in Italy. We're also pleased to profile Alliance for a Clean Environment (ACE) in Western Australia, and share their recent victories.
We know that struggles continue in many parts of the world. Protest continue against the Timarpur incinerator in India, and the Philippines is also facing new incinerator threats.
GAIA has published and supported a number of new resources to help make the case for a better materials economy—with less waste and more justice. We were thrilled to collaborate with the Story of Stuff Project on The Story of Broke. While the video specifically talks about how government subsidies in the U.S. have been hijacked to support environmentally and economically unsustainable strategies, the core message is relevant to communities around the world.
In the United States, we published reports in November calling for investment in recycling as a climate and jobs solution and critiquing government subsidies available for waste-to-energy projects. This second report includes case studies on the devastating impact such bad government investment has had on communities.
As part of our preparations for the climate change negotiations in Durban, where we participated with organized waste pickers and other diverse partners (more on this in the next E-Newsletter!), we published a report that calls for an EU ban on CDM carbon credits in the European Union Emissions Trading System, as well as several case studies demonstrating bad CDM investments in projects that promote more waste and incineration.
We so appreciate your solidarity and support this year, and we look forward to working together in 2012!
Leslie Ann Minot
GAIA Latin America - Brazil: Contracting Process for Proposed Sao Bernardo do Campo Incinerator Suspended! Brazil has been the epicenter of many new anti-incineration battles in Latin America—with practically one new burner being proposed in each major city. The proposal for Sao Bernardo do Campo, near Sao Paolo, has represented the greatest threat because of its advanced stage. On that front, we have good news!
In October, the State Court of Auditors in Sao Paulo suspended the contracting process launched by the City of Sao Bernardo do Campo to build a waste-to-energy incinerator in the Alvarenga neighborhood. This decision was taken in response to a legal request noting irregularities in the process. This is one of a number of legal action brought to stop the proposed incinerator.
GAIA, the recently launched Brazilian Anti-Incinerator Coalition, and the National Movement of Wastepickers of Brazil (MNCR) all celebrated the decision. Read more. Europe - Italy: Zero Waste Events in Capannori and Rome Strengthen the Movement Globally and in Italy In early October, more than 200 participants including mayors, councilors, entrepreneurs, artists, waste experts, and civil society representatives participated in the Zero Waste Meeting for Municipalities in Capannori, Italy. In addition to showcasing Italian zero waste successes, the meeting included impressive presentations from the city of San Francisco in the U.S., Sweden, Wales, and Catalonia and the Basque Country in Spain. The city of Naples became the latest to declare its commitment to zero waste goals.
In early November, more than 3,000 people filled the Piazza Apostoli in Rome to call for a zero waste alternative to the Polverini local plan for waste disposal. The Italian Zero Waste Network and Zero Waste Lazio called for Rome, which accounts for 5/6 of the municipal waste in the Lazio Province, to implement door-to-door separate collection of recyclable and compostable materials, along with a system of reuse, repair, and recycling centers.
Read more about events in Capannoriand Rome. North America - U.S.: More Jobs, Less Pollution—Reports Promote Investing in Recycling Rather Than Wasting Resources GAIA released two key reports in November addressing connections among climate change, environmental justice, green jobs, and government subsidies for incineration. More Jobs, Less Pollution is a new report produced in collaboration with BlueGreen Alliance, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report concludes that a national recycling rate of 75% would create nearly 1.5 million new jobs, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to shutting down 72 coal power plants. Events in cities including Washington, DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Houston drew attention to the recycling and jobs connection, and engaged members of Congress.
A second report, Burning Public Money for Dirty Energy, developed by GAIA, finds that waste-to-energy incinerators are eligible for a range of public funds that are intended for clean energy sources such as wind and solar power. The report also shows how public funds for incineration have led to bankruptcy for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and hurt other local economies. The report was released in response to a number of federal and state policy debates about whether incinerators should qualify for renewable energy credits and related subsidies. Incinerators undermine recycling and composting programs, and job growth in those industries.
Read more about More Jobs, Less Pollution and Burning Public Money for Dirty Energy. North America - U.S.: Victory in New York—Covanta Ends Bid to Include Trash Burning in State Renewable Portfolio Standard!
In the face of considerable opposition, Covanta Energy Corporation has withdrawn its request to the New York State Public Service Commission to include waste incineration in the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard!
"We hope that our success in New York will inspire and inform groups in other states fighting to keep garbage incineration out of renewable energy programs," said Laura Haight of NYPIRG.
New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and a diverse array of New York organizations have been actively organizing against inclusion, and thousands of individual citizens submitted comments opposing the inclusion of waste incineration. We applaud the tireless effort and celebrate the tremendous success of the many groups involved in this work, including the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, American Lung Association in New York, Center for Health, Environment & Justice, Citizens' Campaign for the Environment, Citizens' Environmental Coalition, Clean and Healthy New York, Consumers Union, Earthjustice, Environmental Advocates of New York, Natural Resources Defense Council, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and Sierra Club - Atlantic Chapter.
GAIA was thrilled to coordinate with these groups and launch our new report Burning Public Money for Dirty Energy in partnership with them, as part of their media strategy before the November Commission meeting. Read more. Asia/Pacific - Philippines: Ecological Solid Waste Management Proponents Launch Anti-Incineration Roadshow (AIR) EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA, and Health Care Without Harm, among other environmental health and justice groups, joined with community organizations, local government officials, and celebrities on September 23 to launch the Anti-Incinerator Roadshow (AIR), the first in a national series of events to address the looming threat of new waste incineration proposals in the Philippines.
Despite national solid waste and clean air legislation that bans waste burning, incinerators in disguise—gasification, pyrolysis, and plasma arc technologies—are threatening to take root in the Philippines. Many of the vendors pushing these proposals are from the United States. Read more.
Photo: Gigie Cruz/GAIA Europe: New Report Challenges the EU's Double Standards on Waste Management and Climate On November 21, GAIA released a report The European Union's Double Standards on Waste Management & Climate Policy, for dissemination at the Durban climate change negotiations and beyond. This report highlights the intense contradictions between the European Union (EU) climate and waste policies, which need to be recognized and eliminated without delay.
By buying CDM carbon credits from waste projects, the EU is contradicting its own policies on waste management, which prioritize recycling, pollution controls, and waste diversion from landfills. The report calls for an EU ban on CDM carbon credits in the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
On the one hand, EU policies on municipal solid waste (MSW) management prioritize waste reduction, reutilization, and recycling. Furthermore, MSW management in Europe is successfully taking steps toward more organic waste diversion from landfills and increasing recycling rates, in the spirit of increasing the efficient use of natural resources.
On the other hand, EU climate policies are build around the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to comply with its emission reduction targets. This scheme allows member states to buy carbon credits, known as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), generated by projects developed under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)—including landfill gas systems (LFG) and waste incinerators, the very disposal methods at the bottom of Europe's Waste Hierarchy. Read more.
North America - U.S.: The Story of Broke—Why There's Still Plenty of Money to Build a Better Future On November 8, the Story of Stuff Project released The Story of Broke, which explores how government subsidies, tax breaks, and incentives prop up a "resource-consuming, pollution-spewing, toxic-laden dinosaur economy," when safer, cleaner, and cheaper alternatives exist.
GAIA is thrilled that the problem of subsidies for incinerators was included, and celebrates and supports efforts by groups worldwide to leave this dinosaur economy behind and invest instead in healthy and jobs-creating zero waste solutions. Read more and watch the film.
Asia-Pacific - India: Waste Pickers Protest CDM Incinerator in Delhi The Timarpur-Okhla incinerator—the flagship waste management project of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon trading program in India—is turning into an all-around disaster, revealing flaws in both the CDM and the technology-focused approach to waste management.
On October 24, more than 300 representatives of waste picker organizations, citizens' groups, environmental organizations, and resident welfare associations protested against the United Nations Resident Coordinator at Lodhi Estates. They demanded an end to climate subsidies for waste-to-energy incinerators under the CDM and the cancellation of the registration made by two upcoming waste-to-energy projects at Okhla and Ghazipur.
The problems with the Timarpur incinerator are discussed in more detail in a new case study from GAIA, developed in preparation for the UN climate change conference in Durban, South Africa. Read more about the protest or read the case study.
Member Profile: Alliance for a Clean Environment (ACE), Western Australia Since its establishment as a non-profit in 1996 to successfully oppose a brickworks in the Swan Valley in Perth, Australia, Alliance for a Clean Environment (ACE) has now become one of the peak NGOs in Western Australia (WA) advocating for environmental health and justice and providing support to many communities threatened by the impact of industrial and chemical pollution.
Recently, ACE was instrumental in the withdrawal of four proposed incinerator technologies in the Eastern Region of Perth. We celebrate their victories and hard work! Thanks to them and all GAIA members who are protecting environmental health and justice. Read moreabout ACE. Photo courtesy of ACE
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