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21 de septiembre de 2015 | | |

The hidden side of decarbonization: financialization of nature projects increase land grabbing

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Thomas Fatheuer is a sociologist and former head of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Brazil. In his latest book, the New Economy of Nature (Nova Economia da Natureza) he exposes the recent process of “monetization” of nature, that supposedly aims to present solutions to the climate crisis. Thomas analyzed some aspects of the new economy of nature in his presentation during the opening ceremony of the Latin American Conference on Financialization of Nature.

The writer began his presentation sharing a concern with the audience. During the recent visit of German chancellor Angela Merkel to Brazil by the end of August, both countries announced a commitment to reach the “decarbonization” of their economies by the end of the century: “What does it mean to decarbonize economies? To say goodbye to fossil fuels: mainly oil, gas and coal. It means a transition towards other sources of energy, mainly agrofuels”.

Thomas warns that decarbonization under these terms means more land grabbing to obtain more power: “Creating increasingly larger land grabbing projects behind a green sustainable discourse”. This type of projects were seen in some of the caravans held at the beginning of the conference, for instance in Acará municipality, with African palm oil monoculture plantations.

The author believes the projects continue fulfilling the usual role, but the way in which they are presented has changed: “there were always land grabbing projects; projects like these in the Amazon are not new. What´s new is that the discourse has changed completely. They no longer say: “we have to destroy to develop”, now they say “let´s keep a balance, ecology, cultivating only in degraded areas, reducing CO2 emissions, etc”.

New promises

Making money by not deforesting. This is what the market is starting to increasingly promise indigenous communities of the Amazonas state, Brazil, as a measure that supposedly aims at combating climate change: “in reality, it is an expropriation against communities”, stated Thomas. According to him: “this opens the door for another type of trade that will not be controlled by indigenous peoples, but by international consulting agencies”.

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