When Dream Die

AvisittoOgale,GoiandBodoRiversstate(129of182)When dreams die, are people left with nothing but fear?  We need to question the inevitability of fear as the outcome of broken or dead dreams.

For this reflection, we will take a ‘dream’ to mean a cherished aspiration or a preferred ideal. It is indeed a strong proposition that when dreams die, they snuff out aspiration and cause ideals to appear unattainable. Dreams are the incubators of vision. They consolidate our hopes, beliefs, convictions and sense of possibility. Dead dreams can kill vision and hope. This applies to individuals as well as nations and even to the entire humanity.

The dream of global peace is being shattered on a daily basis not just by the loss of our sense of community, but also the loss of understanding that ‘community’ goes beyond just the community of people and encompasses the community of all beings. The dream of global peace gets broken by the erection of real and virtual walls between neighbourhoods, communities and nations. Dreams of peace recede with unnecessary sanctions by powerful nations and blatant preparations for war and increased militarism in times of peace. The intensifying arms race sees nations competing over who can build or acquire more state-of-the-art weapons of mass destruction. Dreams can die when creativity gets captured by hate. All these can birth fear and feed despair.

The love of money can trump peace and snuff the life out of dreams. We see humanity shamefully hanging its head in silent acquiescence to the supposition that life can be dispensed with, eliminated without question, provided the murderers stuff our pockets with promises of cash. This can breed fear of a loss of humanity and a descent into barbarism.

Let us consider one particular dream killer – the climate chaos. It is well known that the major source of greenhouse gasses triggering global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. Scientists sent early warnings that the tipping point (the point of no return) could be reached if action was not taken to stop or slow down the stoking of the atmosphere with carbon. National and global agencies warn political leaders that we are running out of time and that real action must be taken urgently. Still we dither.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) starkly states that the world has a mere twelve-year window to act. When some of us became active in the climate justice movement, our struggle was to ensure that nations cut carbon emissions at source in proportion to their levels of responsibility and capabilities. This is a climate debt owed by polluting nations. We insisted that the global temperature must not rise by more than 1 degree Celsius above what it was at the dawn of the Industrial Age. That target has already been reached. Today the official target is 1.5 degrees or well below 2 degrees Celsius. Advised by science, we also campaigned that the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere must not exceed 350 parts per million (ppm). By September 2016, the concentration level had already topped 400 ppm. Dreams die when we are so selfish and so short sighted that we forget that our children have a future ahead of them.

Dreams can die when we know the truth but chose to propagate a lie or vote for the lie. This is what climate deniers do. This is what polluters do. They seem to say that even if the world will burn in the coming decades, they would ensure they scrape the bottom of the barrel of all possible profits. To them, floods, droughts, heatwaves, forest fires, hurricanes, typhoons and the like, mean nothing but opportunities for exploitation, dispossession and accumulation.

Dreams die when trillions of dollars are spent on needless warfare while the climate finance purse literally runs on empty and vulnerable poor nations get battered by climate impacts and Small Island Nations watch their territories go under the sea.

Dreams die when we know that those who cause and benefit from climate harms have disproportionate influence on decisions and climate negotiations. Dreams die when these parties avoid mentioning the known sources and taking a stance on stopping further search for new fossil fuel reserves and deposits. Dreams become nightmares when expensive, ineffective but convenient actions are promoted rather than embarking on real solutions.

Dreams of safety and health die when drainage channels are clogged with plastics and sundry trash — and suddenly it thunders. Dreams die when the trees you lived off are mowed down by illegal loggers or by officials who promise never-to-be-realized infrastructure.

With rising unemployment and underemployment, workers are uncertain of the future of their jobs. Starting wages (or minimum wage) as well as pensions at the end of the job pipe are unpredictable for many, while security votes, possibly used to buy support from military governors during the era of military dictatorship, remain on the budgets.  Corporate dreams die when decisions are forever top down, returns are poor but the wisdom from below is disdained. Same could be the outcome when companies stay stuck in the industrial mode when they should shift into the digital mode.

We can count a thousand ways by which dreams die at individual and corporate levels. The truth is that the death of a dream is not the end of the road. When dreams die, fear does not have to inevitably kick in. When dreams die, we can dream again. We can indeed have better, bigger and higher dreams. It is a choice we can make. Even if you have had the most excellent dream, waking up and taking action is always the best next step. We always have a choice to wake up from a nightmare or to dream again. This is why the end of the year offers individuals and corporations opportunities to review the ebbing year and strategize for the coming ones. This is why nations hold elections at regular cycles and offer citizens the opportunities to see if their governors are leading them on dream paths or into nightmares. This is why we must survey the global terrain and see in which direction the multilateral spaces are tilting and decide if we must stay in those paths, accept palliatives or forge new dreams.

Dreams die when we can identify the dream killers and the purveyors of fear but chose to say nothing and prefer to do nothing.


First published at https://leadership.ng/2018/11/30/when-dreams-die/


Red Card for Climate Inaction

Breakfree2Red Card for Climate Inaction. The Climate alarm could not have been much louder than the special report (SR15) that has just been released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). While the Paris Agreement presented the famous target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or well below 2.0 degrees, the special report shows that such a range may actually be political wishful thinking. The Special Report clearly shows that a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels will bring about severe changes compared to current extreme weather events.

Professing a diagnosis is easier than providing a solution, especially when you do not wish to ruffle feathers. Most scientists and laymen agree that although global warming has risen and abated in the past, what has happened since the industrial revolution is a vertical climb that shows no sign of reversion. It is also generally agreed that the catastrophic rise is largely systemic – caused by the exploitative economic system that the world is locked on. It is this rigged system that blocks the routes to the needed climate action.

Is it not known that the problem is about the continual burning of fossil fuels that stokes the atmosphere with greenhouse gases? Why is the world reluctant to stop the extraction and burning of fossil fuels even though these are known to be detrimental? The answer is simply that the powers-that-be prefer profit to people and the planet. So, business as usual continues and disaster brings even more profit through displacement of poor people and the grabbing of resources that the poor and the vulnerable are unable to access or return to.

The world will cringe at the dire prognosis of the report, and then go right ahead to dig up more coal, more crude oil and proceed with more fracking. Governments will still dig for coal and destroy forests in the process, despite loud alarms raised by forest protectors such as the ones at the Hambach Forest in Germany. And in Nigeria, the flaring of associated gas will continue and the dream of a superhighway through the last pristine forest will persist in Cross River State.

Happily, the appeal court at The Hague sided with Urgenda in the case against the Dutch government and declared that the government has a duty to take adequate climate action as a means of protecting the citizens from climate impacts and for securing the human rights. Interestingly the court also discounted the Dutch government’s argument that the carbon being pumped into the atmosphere today will be sucked out in future. We note that SR15 also acknowledges that the carbon-sucking technologies being bandied about are unproven.

The IPCC report diagnosed the problem and raised the alarm urging politicians and economic leaders to act. However, some of the suggested actions are equally alarming and will likely add more problems for the poor, the unprotected and the vulnerable, in the unfolding climate chaos.

The voluntary, nationally determined contribution of the Paris Agreement is clearly not the solution. It is time for nations to step up and accept legally binding emissions reduction based on historical and current carbon emissions. The alarm has been sounded. It is no more time to sleep.

We are told that the window for halting the chaotic climate march is a narrow twelve years. It is stated that by 2030, the global emissions of carbon dioxide must be cut by 45 percent from 2010 levels. It is also estimated that by 2050 renewables should provide 85 percent of global electricity.

So, what is to be done? When the IPCC says that action must be taken to ensure that the store of carbon in the atmosphere is brought to net zero, what is meant is that the amount of carbon released from excessive consumption and burning of fossil fuels and the like must be equal to the amount of carbon that is captured and stored somewhere, locked in sinks or deflected by some other means. These proposed actions, the hallmark of market environmentalism, are the real alarm bells that we should wake up to.

And, we cannot forget that about 7 million square kilometres will be needed for so-called energy crops.  That sounds nice, no? The more understandable names for those crops are biofuel and agrofuel crops. These are crops grown to feed machines or to provide biomass for some synthetic processes. An uptake of that massive size of land away from food crops will definitely bring profit to industrial farmers; promote genetically engineered crops and attendant agrotoxics while raising global hunger and diverse social malaise. Also, more forests will be designated as carbon sinks with corresponding exclusion of communities from enjoying and managing their common heritage.

It is estimated that up to $2.4 trillion would have to be invested in energy systems in the next two decades to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is at a time that the world cannot raise $10 billion for Climate Finance.

Catastrophe is not inevitable if we can wake up from slumber and face reality.

Polluting and capturing and locking up pollutants in some carbon prisons, is not a new idea. It is a brilliant marketing spin. It allows business as usual, permits climate irresponsibility and delivers heavy cash to the polluters. For example, oil companies that use associated gas to literally scrape the bottom of oil wells will claim they are engaged in carbon capture and sequestration – even though they release the carbon in the first instance by drilling for oil. Companies engaged in geoengineering will don their beautiful badges as climate engineers and work to deploy an array of climate-interfering planetary experiments – including cloud whitening, solar mirrors in the sky, other forms of solar radiation management as well as ocean fertilization. Yes, with net zero carbon targets we can keep cranking up global temperatures but hope that “we have the technologies” to handle the problems.

Humankind’s techno optimism gives policy makers that assurance and also that the oceans and genetically engineered trees can suck carbon from the atmosphere. It assures them that we can ape volcanoes and release particles into the sky that would block the sun and cool the earth. Suddenly it is as though our planetary systems are not interconnected and one part can be tweaked without a corresponding result elsewhere. But, who would really care if the negative impacts can be deflected on those destined for the slaughter?

Catastrophe is not inevitable if we can wake up from slumber and face reality. Life style changes and alternative investment patterns can no longer be delayed. Investment in socialized forms of renewable energy cannot be postponed. Fossil fuels must be seen as stranded or bad assets and left in the ground. Agroecological food production cools the planet, so investment and support must be extended to that and to small scale producers.

The cost of inaction or bad action is extreme. Temperature increases will make it impossible for certain crops, including maize, rice and wheat to be cultivated. Millions more will be hit by flooding. Sea level will rise and coastal erosion will be more dramatic. With the suite of negative changes, the tide of climate refugees will rise.

The voluntary, nationally determined contribution of the Paris Agreement is clearly not the solution. It is time for nations to step up and accept legally binding emissions reduction based on historical and current carbon emissions. The alarm has been sounded. It is no more time to sleep.

Read your Eco-Instigator #20

AA8EB60C-09EB-4BBE-B281-BF6E63FB4206The June 2018 edition of Eco-Instigator is available online. In this edition, we serve you reports, stories and articles on hunger and fossil politics. There is a report from an agroecology workshop held in Thika, Kenya, which brought together farmers and advocacy organizations to interrogate the concept of agroecology as the path to sustainable agricultural practice with local-knowledge based science.
We have had occasion to denounce the permitting nature of the Nigerian National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA). We regret that rather than improving, the agency continues to slide and at the close of 2017 endorsed the importation of genetically modified maize that had earlier been impounded and ordered to be repatriated by the importers. Shocking? We bring you our statement: When GMO applications are mere formalities.
False solutions orchestrated by greedy corporations and backed by allied promoters alike are being propagated as remedies to the food crisis. They all claim they want to feed hungry Africans. Their thinly veiled neocolonial arguments are unfortunately bought by governments that ought to protect our peoples rather than the profit profiles of these entities. We serve you articles that urge that we tread with caution in order not to compound our food production problems. We bring you an interesting article: Science with Caution: Why GMOs are a Bad Idea to challenge your thinking and provoke corresponding actions.
For over one year, Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil capital has been blanketed by soot from a variety of hydrocarbon pollution sources. We bring you report from an #EndtheSoot rally that was held in Port Harcourt to raise the awareness of the impact of the down pour of soot, its attendant effects and to demand that the polluters are brought to book.
We also bring a concise and highly informative paper on oil pollution in South Sudan. It is written by the executive director of our partner organisation in that country. Read Environmental and Public Health Catastrophe in the South Sudanese Oil fields: Oil, Wealth, and Health.
As usual, we serve you interesting poems from renowned poets and also books you should read.

Download and read your copy Eco-Instigator #20
Until victory!


Decolonise, Revive, Transform. Eco-Instigator #17 now online

Eco-Instigator #17 cover

It has been a very eventful year and HOMEF is happy to serve you a menu of key environmental reports. These events cover our work with communities of fisher folks as well as our connections to fishermen elsewhere. As an organisation that treasures knowledge generation and sharing, we keep on learning from our interactions with communities.

The struggle for safe food continues. Our cover story brings you Africa’s first Earth Jurisprudence graduates. See the article Decolonise, Revive, Transform.

Download full edition here: Eco-instigator #17

Stand with Acción Ecológica

accion-ecologicaAcción Ecológica presents evidence 7 PM GMT today on why the government of Ecuador should not shut down the organisation. Join and watch the live streaming by clicking here at that time.

Acción Ecológica is an Ecuadorian ecological organization that has worked to defend nature for 30 years and is also an integral part of the International Federation for Human Rights – FIDH. Acción Ecológica is convinced that it is only by defending the territories and peoples that we can support Nature’ reproduction of life as well as the rights of humans.

The group has been remained strong in the defence of the rights of Nature and peoples despite periodic persecution by authorities. Their work has inspired many activists and communities around the world. They are central to the work of Oilwatch International in pushing for the urgent transition from fossil fuels if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming.

They will not give, because according to then: ‘We will continue defending human rights and nature because “We are like the chaff of the moor that starts and grows again …”.’

As a mark of solidarity, we call on everyone to log on and watch the presentation by Acción Ecológica at 2 PM Ecuadorian time or – 7.00 pm GMT today 6 January 2017.


Rising Martyrdom of Earth Defenders


Eco-Instigator #13 reflects on GMOs in Nigeria, the rising martyrdom of Earth defenders; the upcoming Ogoni clean-up and other critical issues. We bring you books you should read. And poetry!

This edition has two key articles on environmental justice – one is on the rising martyrdom of earth defenders written by Hannibal Rhoades of Gaia Foundation. The second article is on what it means to to fight for environmental justice in the Maghreb. That article is penned by none other than Hamza Hamouchene – an outstanding Algerian activist and writer.

We serve you with reports from the ongoing debates on the genetically modified organisms (GMO) debacle in Nigeria. We also bring you the submission by key activists against gene drive technology to the recently concluded conference of the IUCN.

Ogoni/Niger Delta Clean–up is picking up and there are concerns about the methods of tackling the resurrected militancy that stop Niger Delta. Will wielding the military big stick (Operation Crocodile Smile) solve the problem?

In Books You Should Read, we highlight Living in Fear, by Juan Lopez Villar. It is a book on the unending Wars, conflicts and natural resources in central Africa. It is one book that you should do all you can to read.

Do you have a story to tell? A poem, photograph or an article/report to share? We are waiting for you.

Until victory!

Down load eco-instigator-13 here

The Bite of Biafra

We all BiafransThe Bite of Biafra*


The name, Biafra has been around as the name of a bight far longer than the brief moment during which Eastern Nigeria took it on. The Bight of Biafra is that part of the Gulf of Guinea renamed the Bight of Bonny by Nigeria in 1975, possibly in an effort to snuff Biafra out of memory. Some names simply stay stuck even after they may have been dropped officially. Many unyielding street names attest to this phenomenon also. It is a lesson of history.

Current contestations have pushed Biafra in our faces and we simply have to deal with it. Chido Onumah in the title article of his book, We Are All Biafrans admonishes, “while I believe Nigeria is negotiable, I do not think any attempt to negotiate Nigeria can and should be done solely on the basis of ethnic, religious or cultural affinity. That is my position on the Biafran issue.”[1] We agree with him. These cleavages cannot define who we are or under what political architecture we chose to live in.

Earlier in the chapter of the same book titled 2015: Why Buhari matters, Chido writes and I quote:

“The improvement of millions of our country men and women, the wanton abuse of rights, the unmitigated corruption, alienation, internal colonisation and exacerbation of the fault lines of the country, are not issues that the current political order can tackle.”[2]

These fault lines are not only socio-economic or political, they are also physical. They are pervasive and democratically distributed across the land.

Permit me to reiterate that we are indeed all Biafrans. Consider the forces of displacement that pushed some Nigerians into the geographical zone that took that name. Today, the forces may not be the same, but Nigerians are being displaced, marginalised and pushed into conflicts of various degrees of viciousness. There are enclaves of Biafra everywhere in Nigeria. You may not like the name, you may even change it, but Biafra sticks to us like our shadows.

Accepting the inevitability of our identity may well help us to find the glue that would hold us together, or give us the boldness to accept to live together in a state of flexibility. Rigidity often leads to collapse. And that is why forced codes of relationships cannot build trust, solidarity or cohesion. Our fractiousness and selfishness speak to this reality.

The dispossessed, the displaced and the marginalised are found all around us. They are voiceless and easy to overlook. Like vermin, they can be crushed underfoot.

Desertification threatens to swallow up the slim tracts that pass for the heritage of our compatriots. Water stress, including the shrinkage of Lake Chad to less than 10 per cent of the size it had at independence, displaces millions of herders and fisher folks. Toxic effluents from tanneries and sundry industrial outfits and wastes from power plants turn our rivers into adversaries.

The dispossessed, the displaced and the marginalised are found all around us. They are voiceless and easy to overlook. Like vermin, their lives count for little.

Gully erosion challenges the notion of Biafra. It also reinforces it. These huge gullies have literally become insatiable mouths that swallow everything in its path that does not scamper away on time. Farmlands, homesteads, sundry infrastructure disappearing before our eyes.

The dispossessed, the displaced and the marginalised are found all around us. They are voiceless and easy to overlook. Like vermin, they should be glad to have the earth provide them graves.

Some fellow countrymen and women think they can hide away under trees in thick forests, living with nature and communing with other species, our relatives. But we need superhighways with internet backbones; we need shopping malls and we need top notch hotels. Highways chalk up cheap political points for making first, second or third year anniversaries. So, deforestation defrocks forest communities. Who needs monkeys or chimps when we can make ourselves spectacles for the rich.

The dispossessed, the displaced and the marginalised are found all around us. The are voiceless and easy to overlook. What is the purchasing power of a forest dweller? What do they add to our GDP?

Coastal erosion and subsiding lands. Sea level rise. If the guns cannot silent dissent, these will swallow them up. Add unrelenting pollutions and infernal gas flares and we will soon be pumping fists of victory in the toxic air.


The dispossessed, the displaced and the marginalised are found all around us, and our challenges can be traced to similar roots. Games of power and reckless exploitation and accumulation. One powerful truth is that the oppressed in one are the same as the oppressed in the other. That defines our all being Biafrans. Being pressed into the borders called Nigeria, we ignore that pressure at our peril.

We could push ahead in fear or hate. We could also choose to sit together and deliberate on how to ease the shocks, overcome the odds, build love and solidarity and introduce some flexibility that considers the possibility of the bight in the Biafra in which all Biafrans live. It is a choice. Inaction may shut the bight but usher in the bite of Biafra.


*A reflection by Nnimmo Bassey on Chido Onumah’s We Are All Biafrans- A participant-Observer’s intervention in a country sleepwalking to disaster. The book was presented at Shehu Musa Yar’Arua Centre, Abuja, on 31 May 2016



[1] Onumah, Chido (2016), We Are All Biafrans, Lagos, Parresia Publishers Ltd, p.162

[2] Ibid p.10

In Defence of Life – a new Documentary by Gaia Foundation

In Defence of Life“It’s about grabbing a part of the Earth and placing a mark of ownership on something that actually owns you. It doesn’t add up.”

In this interview poet, Earth Defender and Right Livelihood Award Winner Nnimmo Bassey challenges the assumptions at the very root of the mining industry- that we need to and should mine more. Discussing the vast damage and poverty oil extraction has brought to his home country of Nigeria, Nnimmo argues that even the most ‘responsible’ mining operations leave behind irreparable harm. His message is that, though it seems unthinkable to many, we must move away from an extractive relationship with the planet. Watch Nnimmo’s interview here: vimeo.com/155553521

This interview accompanies In Defence of Life, a documentary that follows the trials and triumphs of four communities fighting back against mining giants. Watch it here: vimeo.com/162669257

Filmed by Jess Phillimore
Edited by Joseph Lambert
For The Gaia Foundation

From Gaia Foundation



Proposal from Oilwatch International for COP21, Paris, December 2015

The purpose of this document is to present the commitments and efforts of the peoples, nationalities, and communities against the extraction of oil, gas, or carbon, as a contribution to avoid climate disaster.

In addition to these commitments, we present our petition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and member governments to recognize, respect, promote, and protect these actions as a goal to protect climate and life on the planet.

Group Annex 0: A way to recognize and respect real commitments and efforts

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, executed at the Rio Summit in 1992, divided member states in two groups: Annex I that included industrialized countries of the North plus such countries with economies in transition; and Non Annex I that essentially included the countries of the global South. Later came Annex II that included the members of Annex I that were obliged to provide financial and technical resources to allow the countries of the South to undertake activities to reduce emissions and perform adaptation initiatives. Oilwatch states that, since the nineteenth century the capitalist development drive for the countries of Annex I and II has been carbon, oil, and gas exploitation, and that they have done everything in their power to stop any decision that may lead to specific and binding actions to reduce the consumption of these fossil fuels. After more than 20 years of international negotiations, global warming continues in rise with no effective and real solutions to stop it.

In this scenario, one of the obstacles has been the direct influence that corporations linked to fossil fuels have on the Convention’s decisions. At present this corporate sector is part of the promoters of false solutions that aggravate greenhouse effect rise, such as the carbon market, agrofuels, REDD, geo-engineering, and oil technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), among others. Simultaneously, they expand their territorial scope to the so-called new frontiers: deep seas and “non-conventional” deposits where the malignant fracking.

If this were not enough, the limited vision of the United Nations, focused on promoting negotiations between parties, which are states, has allowed the northern industrialized countries not to comply with their climate obligations, while in unfair and neocolonial scenario, such responsibilities are transferred to the peoples and nations of the South, when it is precisely this side of the world that has the majority of nations and subnational regions or localities and, above all, indigenous peoples, peasants, and traditional fishermen and communities that are striving to protect the climate – although they are the most affected by climate change. The peoples’ initiatives are being neglected and, in many cases, criminalized, although their efforts to stop fossil hydrocarbons extraction should be awarded.

We can see that, in practical terms, besides the national states, there are other decisive stakeholders with capacity and interests in accelerating the transformations required to protect global climate that must be acknowledged by the Convention on Climate Change Convention, for example, the indigenous peoples and nations, provinces, states, or subnational regions or localities that have taken sound steps against hydrocarbons extraction from the ground. Therefore, Annex 0 Group must be created to include these peoples and territories because they are resolving the causes of the problem: the addiction to fossil fuels.

It is time to focus on the problem’s determining causes

It was mainly after World War II that the industrial bases of a capitalism addicted to fossil fuels and a culture based on an endless, extensive, expansive and destructive energetic and material consumption pattern was consolidated. Highly oil-consuming large-scale mining and industrial agriculture expanded as part of this model. This addiction to fossils is not only affecting the climate, but is causing degenerative and lethal diseases to millions of peoples, flooding the planet with non-degradable waste, and exterminating hundreds of traditional cultures – by displacing healthy and ecological uses and customs – and it continues generating economic, social, political, environmental crisis aimed to capital expansion and accumulation. An institutionalized and global capitalism with the most decadent and lethal features demands a global action to confront it.
Meanwhile the corporate and financial sectors decide how much, where and what type of oil is extracted, sold and at what price, and based on the incapacity of “traditional” oil deposits of supplying the exponential demand of concentrated sectors, the industry, and governments, lately they have advanced with the so-called “non conventional” extraction. With more expensive and degrading techniques, such as fracking, they seek to keep the dependency on fuel oils, strengthen the accumulation process, the appropriation and dispossession of territories, and violation of the rights of the peoples.
Leaving oil and other fossil fuels in the subsoil is the most direct and concrete way of achieving results related to climate, as well as to confront capitalism, the exploitation of human beings, and privatization of nature at the global level.

What metrics, scenarios, and models should we work with?

The member states of UNFCCC set the goal of adopting a new global agreement on climate change in Paris 2015. The rhetoric says that is aimed to keep the planet from exceeding the warming limit of 2°C in relation to preindustrial temperature. This limit allegedly sets the line between a changing climate to which we can adapt and a climate unbalance of unforeseeable and irreversible consequences.

To reach this figure, both UNFCC and the experts of the Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have always used carbon dioxide concentrations as a standard measure stating emission reduction but not the amount of fossil fuels that should not be extracted. Talking about amounts of oil, gas, or carbon would enable visualizing the responsibilities and necessary actions to prevent a climate crisis.

According to official figures, to reach a maximum figure of 2°C in temperature (IPCC scenario RCP2.6) by 2100, at least 2/3 of the known oil, gas and carbon reserves should remain in the soil. Therefore, of the 1,700,000 million barrels that are still in the ground, 1,190,000 million should remain there; of the 187 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, 131 trillion should not be extracted; and of the 892,000 million tons of carbon, 624.000 should remain in place. The goal now is to decide where and how to start leaving them in the soil. By using these figures we are not attempting a merchandisable quantification or evil equivalences in the environmental services market or other ways of commercial compensation, but a way of determining the magnitude of the efforts needed for a post-oil civilization.

This means going from a centralized large-scale energy production model to models with cleaner, renewable, decentralized, diverse, sovereign, and ecological energies. To this end, there is a need of changing the concept of energy, which includes knowing what type, how much and who needs it, as well as a reflection on energies in the territories and for the peoples.

Protection, recognition, and incentives for the countries, nations, subnational spaces, localities, and territories of Annex 0

The initiatives qualified as part of Annex 0 must be protected and supported with a series of international incentives and recognitions based on solidarity, unattached technological exchange, and the existence of an ecological debt associated to climate. The creation of Annex 0 will also incentivize new commitments and specific efforts focused on confronting the decisive causes of climate change.

The indicators for these initiatives will be:
1. Fossil hydrocarbons maintained in the ground
2. Forms of life based on a respectful dialogue with the natures
3. Struggles against carbon and other mining due to their effect on the climate and for consuming elevated amounts of fossil fuels
4. Steady steps towards a debate on the type of energies required – for what, for whom, how much – and on the exercise of sovereignty of the peoples and territories
5. Repudiation to mechanisms such as carbon market, REDD+, and other false solutions to climate change
6. Clear commitments to non-extraction and emancipation from fossil fuels by the peoples.


Protection of the peoples and territories:

• Stop the criminalization of whoever promotes leaving oil, gas, or carbon in the ground, and active advocates of land and territories against fossil fuel extraction.• Stop the intervention of corporations, State repression systems, and invasion of territories for fossil hydrocarbons extraction in places where the local population rejects it, areas appointed as natural or highly fragile reserves.

Recognition through an international award:

• for whoever makes sound steps against hydrocarbons extraction in their lands and territories;

• for whoever keeps sovereign energy and food models that do not depend on fossil fuels and respect nature.
Incentives such as:
• technological exchange
• forms of contribution and direct support observing sovereignty, with good-faith dialogues and no transfer of responsibilities.

Counter-incentives such as:

• withdrawal of State subsidies to industry related to fossil fuels

• divest in shares, bonds, or investment funds linked to oil.


OILWATCH states that no country is really ready to support a catastrophic climate change. Additionally, the nations that suffer the worst consequences contribute less to global warming, and frequently take strong measures to stop it. We believe that the time has come for the United Nations to confront the climate crisis by creating Annex 0 in the Convention on Climate Change, as a group of the peoples or nations acknowledged for their contributions and as an incentive for others to join the mission of leaving fossil hydrocarbons in the ground. We’ve had enough talking about abstract things like CO2 emissions – let’s talk about oil, gas, or carbon, join the commitments of Annex 0, and make efforts in our organizations by supporting these initiatives and resistance initiatives and struggles.We require the United Nations, the national governments, and social organizations and movements to acknowledge, protect, and disseminate true commitments and efforts that contribute soundly to prevent climate disaster!

OILWATCH July 2015