CLIMATE CRIMINALS: ENI and Shell, keep the fossil fuels in the ground! We don’t want your false forests!

CLIMATE CRIMINALS: ENI and Shell, keep the fossil fuels in the ground! We don’t want your false forests!

13 May 2019

A new strategy put forward by fossil fuel corporations to plant trees as ‘compensation’ for climate change is not only a greenwashing gimmick, but a dangerous tactic that could exacerbate the problems caused by fossil fuel exploitation.

Fossil fuel giants ENI (Italy) and Shell (the Netherlands) have announced reforestation programmes as compensation for carbon emissions, in a push to greenwash a corporate model that has caused widespread environmental devastation, land grabbing and the destruction of livelihoods. The two companies are responsible for environmental disasters and crimes as a result of their fossil fuel activities in Nigeria and many other places across the globe.

ENI is currently undergoing a massive operation to exploit new gas reserves in northern Mozambique. For years, the company has engaged in extremely damaging gas flaring in the Niger delta – a practice which is still underway, long after ENI promised to quit gas flaring at its 2011 Annual General Meeting. Only last year, the Nigerian Ikebiri community took ENI to court for pollution of their lands and water. The company is also on trial in Basilicata – a small region of southern Italy nicknamed the Italian Texas because of its oil activities – where ENI stands accused of illegally dumping hazardous waste into the environment.

Shell is one of the world’s top 10 climate polluters, and since the 1980s has operated in the knowledge that burning oil and gas would have disastrous consequences for the climate (i). Yet the company continues to spend billions of dollars seeking out new oil and gas fields, and spends a further $49 million each year lobbying for fossil-fuel friendly policies (ii). Shell has been involved in, and their executives were probably aware of, numerous murders, tortures and rapes carried out by paramilitary organisations in Nigeria during the 1990s. Its current activities in Groningen, the Netherlands, are the cause of earthquakes that are destroying peoples’ homes (iii).

Now, ENI and Shell are pushing a new and dangerous tactic. ENI has announced plans to plant 8.1 million hectares of trees in Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, and Zimbabwe (iv). CEO Claudio Descalzi announced ENI’s objective “to achieve net zero emissions in our upstream business by 2030,” in the company’s strategy update on 15 March 2019. Meanwhile, Shell has presented its plan, launching in 2019, to reduce its “net carbon footprint by 2%-3%”. The plan will include reforestation of false forests, with the company offering carbon credits to its customers so that they may offset their emissions (v). Shell is also pushing controversial schemes such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), which not only fail to reduce greenhouse emissions, but lead to the violation of environmental and human rights, the exacerbation of corruption and the corporate capture of vital climate funds. REDD+ projects reduce nature to a commodity to be bought and sold, and local communities are either expelled from their land in the name of ‘preservation’ or employed as private conservationists, while traditional land management practices disappear. Meanwhile, by focusing on the community’s responsibility for deforestation, the central role of large corporations and the state as the primary actors in environmental destruction is underplayed.

The protection of critical natural ecosystems such as mangroves, forests, dunes, wetlands is crucial, and will help the planet to naturally absorb carbon emissions, while also providing livelihoods to local communities and warding off extreme weather events. However, strategies put forward by Shell and ENI will do nothing to contribute to these aims – far from it.

Solving the climate crisis requires deep, urgent and immediate emissions cuts, meaning that dirty and harmful energy must be stopped at source, and cannot simply be ‘compensated’ elsewhere in the world. Fossil fuels must be left in the ground, but instead, ENI and Shell do not even pretend to deal with this reality so far, investing billions in the quest to find further reserves.

We write this statement as the impacts of Cyclone Idai are still being felt. The cyclone and related flooding in the last few weeks has devastated huge parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, claiming thousands of lives and affecting millions more. Those impacted are people who did not create the climate crisis, while ENI and Shell are among the perpetrators of the crisis. The people of the world, especially the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer the worst effects of climate change, cannot afford any further fossil fuel expansion.

Truly addressing the climate crisis means achieving ‘zero emissions’ NOT ‘net zero’ emissions. A ‘net zero’ goal allows polluters such as ENI and Shell to keep polluting on the pretext that they may use artificial plantations to ‘suck’ carbon out of the air in other parts of the world. From a climate justice perspective, this strategy is completely flawed. There is no guarantee that tree plantations can secure carbon offsetting in the long term. Plantations do not and can never compensate for the destruction of the natural world: they reduce biodiversity, lead to exhausted soils and absorb only a fraction of the CO2 taken in by real forests.

Furthermore, through this plan, ENI and Shell intend to introduce tree plantations to an area larger than the whole of Northern Italy, ENI’s homeland – or double the size of the Netherlands, from where Shell hails. This raises serious questions. Where on Earth will ENI plant these 8.1 million hectares of fake forests? Where is the land to do so, and whose land will they grab to do this planting? What would ENI say if the tables were turned, and Africans wanted all of Northern Italy to plant trees?

There is no unused land available at this scale, which means millions more people will be affected, through the loss of their land, homes and forests. Areas teeming with biodiversity will become monoculture plantations. This will undoubtedly have calamitous impacts on the food sovereignty and rights of people across Africa.

Neither ENI nor Shell have the right to impose such tree plantations on the lands of local communities and indigenous peoples. For generations, communities have taken care of their forests, often fighting off their own governments to retain ownership and control. Many communities are already resisting dirty energy, agro-commodities, infrastructure and large commercial projects that drive deforestation. The new spectre of corporate climate ‘compensation’ schemes headed by the dirtiest fossil fuel corporations is a ludicrous affront, and one which will be fought wherever it rears its head.

Climate justice requires that ENI and Shell immediately cut their emissions at source. Since the industrial revolution, the fossil fuel industry has grown rich through the exploitation of people and nature, leading to large-scale and irreversible destruction of the atmosphere. As such, ENI and Shell owe a colossal climate debt to those bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate change. At the same time, deforestation poses a grievous risk to people and the planet. If we are to stand any chance of halting the inter-related crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, fossil fuels and deforestation must both come to an end.

To stop causing the climate crisis, ENI and Shell MUST stop fossil fuels and harmful energy at source. No more land grabs in Africa or anywhere!

No fossil fuels! No dirty and harmful energy! No to false forests! Yes to real reductions, No to net zero! ENI and Shell, Stop your emissions at source!

References:

(i) https://en.milieudefensie.nl/climate-case-shell
(ii) https://leftfootforward.org/2019/03/report-uk-firms-are-the-biggest-spenders-in-global-climate-change-lobbying/(iii) https://www.foei.org/news/these-eight-scandals-prove-shells-long-history-of-contempt-for-people-and-planet(iv) https://www.ft.com/content/7c4d944e-470d-11e9-b168-96a37d002cd3(v) https://www.shell.com/media/news-and-media-releases/2019/shell-invests-in-nature-to-tackle-co2-emissions.html

 

SIGNED BY:

  1. Anabela Lemos, Justiça Ambiental/ Friends of the Earth Mozambique
  2. Bobby Peek, groundwork/ Friends of the Earth South Africa
  3. Farai Maguwu, Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Zimbabwe
  4. Nnimmo Bassey and Anabela Lemos, No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN)
  5. Giulia Franchi, Re:Common, Italy
  6. Karin Nansen, Chair, Friends of the Earth International

 

STATEMENT ENDORSED BY:

S. No.

NAME OF THE PERSON

NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION SIGNING ON

1

Ricardo Navarro

CESTA/ Friends of the Earth El Salvador

2

Maggie Mapondera

WoMin African Alliance

3

Martin Galea De Giovanni

Friends of the Earth Malta

4

Helen La Trobe

Friends of the Earth Ghana

5

Richard Dixon

Friends of the Earth Scotland

6

Víctor Barro

Amigos de la Tierra (España)

7

Janet Solomon

Oceans Not Oil

8

Desmond Dsa

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

9

Nanna Clifforth

NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark

10

Tom BK Goldtooth

Indigenous Environmental Network

11

Frank Muramuzi

Friends of the Earth Uganda / NAPE

12

Kureeba David

Regional Coordinator Friends the Earth Africa

13

Maria Selva Ortiz

REDES – FoE Uruguay

14

Camila Rolando Mazzuca

EnvJustice

15

Sam Mucunguzi

Coordinator- Citizens’ Concern Africa -(CICOA) Uganda

16

Michelle Pressend

Environmental Humanities South (EHS), UCT

17

Ivonne Yanez

Accion Ecologica, Ecuador

18

Almuth Ernsting

Biofuelwatch, UK/US

19

Martin Vilela

Bolivian Platform on Climate Change

20

Cindy Wiesner

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (US)

21

Pennie Opal Plant

Idle No More SF Bay

22

Hemantha Withanage

Centre for Environmental Justice/ Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka

23

Pascoe Sabido

Corporate Europe Observatory

24

Yago Martínez Álvarez

Ecologistas en Acción, Spain

25

Alejandro Aleman

Centro Humboldt, Nicaragua

26

Mercia Andrews

Rural Women’s Assembly (southern Africa)

27

Lungisa Huna

Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) (South Africa)

28

Larry Lohmann

The Corner House, UK

29

Antonio Zambrano

Movimiento Ciudadano frente al Cambio Climático – MOCICC, Perú

30

Choony Kim

Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM/ FoE Korea)

31

Juan Pablo Orrego

ONG Ecosistemas – Chile

32

Edwin Mumbere Fanta

Kasese youth and women clean energy club, Uganda

33

Logan Moodley

KZNSFF

34

Ayumi Fukakusa

FoE Japan

35

Bori Yordanova

Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria

36

Luca Saltalamacchia

Studio Legale Saltalamacchia

37

Simon Taylor

Global Witness

38

Simon Counsell

Rainforest Foundation UK

39

Cadmus Atake-Enade

Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria

40

Marija Mileta

Zelena akcija/ FoE Croatia

41

Dickens Kamugisha

Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), Uganda

42

Anna Barkered

Latinamerikagrupperna / Solidarity Sweden-Latin America

43

Teresa Perez

World Rainforest Movement

44

Yoram Banyenzaki

Guild Presidents Forum on Governance (GPFOG), Uganda

45

Eriel Deranger

Indigenous Climate Action, Canada & member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

46

Khalid Mather

WildoceansSA

47

Judy Bell

FrackFreeSA

48

Alejandra Porras

COECOCEIBA – Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica

49

Eduardo Giesen

Colectivo VientoSur – Chile

50

Opio Christopher

Oil Refinery Residents Association, ORRA – Uganda

51

Ana Maria R. Nemenzo

WomanHealth Philippines

52

Alnoor Ladha

The Rules Foundation

53

Maxime Combes

Attac France

54

Niko van Rensburg

Animalia Learning Center, Assagay, KZN, SA

55

Ncobile Nkosi

South African Youth Climate Change Coalition, South Africa, NWU, MP

56

Wolfgang Kuhlmann

ARA, Germany

57

Godwin Ojo

Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria

58

Bishop Geoff Davies/ Vainola Makan

SAFCEI – Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute

59

Evelyn Schönheit

Forum Ökologie & Papier, Germany

60

Louise Lindfors/ Anna Ushamba

Afrikagrupperna

61

Silvia Ribeiro

ETC Group

62

Khulekani Magwaza

South African Youth Climate Change Coalition (SAYCCC)

63

Alphonse Maindo

Tropenbos DRC

64

Stella Jegher

Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland

65

Natalia Salvatico

Amigos de la Tierra Argentina

66

Robert Anderson

Noordhoek Environmental Action Group, South Africa

67

Kwami Kpondzo

Global Forest Coalition

68

Amegadze Kokou

Les Amis de la Terre-Togo

69

Mikael Sundström

Chair, Jordens Vänner – Friends of the Earth Sweden

70

Dorothy Guerrero

Global Justice Now (UK)

71

Rose Williams

Biowatch South Africa

72

Glen Tyler-Davies

350Africa.org

73

Fernando Campos Costa

FoE Brasil

74

Vanessa Black

Earthlife Africa Durban branch

75

Ernst-Christoph Stolper

BUND – Friends of the Earth Germany

76

Robert Jereski

New York Climate Action Group

77

Olga Senova

Russian Social Ecological Union – Friends of the Earth Russia

78

Howard Wood OBE

COAST, 2015 Goldman Award Recipient Scotland

79

Ka Hsaw Wa

EarthRights International

80

Rossano Ercolini

Zero Waste europe-Zero Waste Italy

81

Àlex Guillamón

Entrepueblos/ Entrepobles/ Entrepobos/ Herriarte

82

Jorge Varela Márquez

Ambiente, Desarrollo y Capacitación

83

Louise Colvin

Ward Environmental Affairs Bluff South Africa

84

Ode Rakhman

WALHI / FoE Indonesia

85

Syeda Rizwana Hasan

BELA / FoE Bangladesh

86

Kirant Kamal Samarung

Kirant Indigenous Samarung Sangpang, Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples Network SWBC Nepal

87

Sviatoslav Zabelin

Socio-ecological union international

88

Ikal Angelei

Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT)

89

Meena Raman

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia)

90

Juliette Renaud

Amis de la Terre France (Friends of the Earth France)

91

Sylvain Angerand

Canopée Forêts Vivantes – France

92

Christophe Murroccu

Mouvement Ecologique (FoELux)

93

Živa Kavka Gobbo

Focus Association for Sustainable Development, Slovenia

94

Bruno van PETEGHEM

Association Toxicologie-Chimie – FRANCE

95

Laura greco

A Sud, Italy

96

Prafulla Samantara

Lokshakti Abhiyan, India

97

Wendy Flannery

Friends of the Earth Brisbane, Australia

98

Katharine Lu / Karen Orenstein

Friends of the Earth U.S.

99

Karen Pickett

Earth First!, Calif., B.A. Coalition for Headwaters

100

Mary de Haas

KZN Monitor

101

Kristina Salmi/ Jarrah Kollei

Friends of the Earth Finland

102

Jennifer Redner

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

103

Beatriz Felipe Pérez

Enginyeria Sense Fronteres

104

James Whitehead

Forest Peoples Programme

105

Joan Deare

Amnesty International Durban, South Africa

106

Andrew Bennie

Sustaining the Wild Coast

107

Makoma Lekalakala

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg

108

Ivonne Ramos

Saramanta Warmikuna Women’s Network

109

Helena Paul

EcoNexus

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ end ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

One thought on “CLIMATE CRIMINALS: ENI and Shell, keep the fossil fuels in the ground! We don’t want your false forests!

  1. S. Fischer says:

    May bring these criminal activities finally to an end!

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