09 November 2006
KENYA: November 9, 2006
NAIROBI - Indigenous peoples from the Amazon to Asia
said on Wednesday that UN-backed clean energy projects
meant to combat global warming were aggravating
threats to their livelihoods.
They said hydropower projects or plantations of
fast-growing trees, prompted by a billion-dollar
scheme under the UN's Kyoto Protocol for limiting the
planet's dependence on fossil fuels, were damaging
"We are not only victims of climate change, we are now
victims of the carbon market," Jocelyn Therese, a
spokesman for indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin,
told a news conference on the fringes of UN talks on
"Efforts that are supposed to...retard climate change
are having an equally disastrous effect," said Ana
Pinto, representing indigenous peoples in India.
She said that 162 small hydro dams were planned in
northern India alone, flooding lands, under a Kyoto
project allowing rich countries to invest in Third
World clean energy schemes and claim credits back home
for shifting from coal, oil and gas.
"All development projects in indigenous territories
must respect our fundamental rights to our lands,
territories, waters and self-determination," the
International Indigenous Forum said in a statement.
Some experts say the Kyoto scheme, known as the Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM), could transfer US$100
billion of investment to poor nations in projects
ranging from wind farms to power generation from
rotting vegetation in trash dumps.
"The negative effects are not intended by the CDM,"
Artur Runge-Metzger, the European Commission's chief
climate official, said of the indigenous people's
objections. He said the Commission wanted to hear all
views to improve the CDM.
Kyoto obliges 35 industrial states to cut emissions of
greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, by
2012 in a first step to slow a warming that most
scientists say could trigger more floods, erosion,
disease and rising seas.
The indigenous peoples said that they needed a voice
in the UN climate talks, grouping 189 governments,
saying that people from Inuit hunters in the Arctic to
Pacific islanders lived on the front lines of climate
Climate change "is here now, people are being left
without fresh water, without homes, and sometimes they
will be left without countries," said Sandy Gauntlett,
a Maori representing Pacific nations.
"Your children will grow up with friends who come from
countries that no longer exist," he said. The highest
point on the Pacific island state of Tuvalu, for
instance, is 4 metres (13 ft) above sea level and
could be swamped by rising seas.
Hussein Abilan, of northeastern Kenya, said climate
change had disrupted traditional signs of rains. The
natural warnings allowed people, for instance, to move
livestock to higher ground to avoid floods.
"I never required meteorology to tell when rains would
come -- the frogs would tell me something, there were
signs in the stars and the sky...We had the birds who
told us of rains," he said.
"All those are now gone," he said.
Story by Alister Doyle and Gerard Wynn
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE