Tag Archive for 'amazon rainforest'

Belo Monte Insurer Dropped from Sustainability Index

Photo retrieved from: www.latindispatch.com

“The construction of the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon region of Brazil has come under heavy criticism because of the impact the dam may have on the environment and local residents. Experts anticipate that it will have adverse effects on the Amazon rainforest, particularly on species diversity, and hence also on the livelihoods of the indigenous inhabitants. Due to its involvement in this project, Munich Re has been excluded from the Global Challenges Index (GCX). By agreeing to provide cover for the construction phase of the project, the reinsurer violated the GCX’s strict environmental regulations.

Investors in general have started to realize that large dams in the Amazon are so destructive, so high-risk, that even lavish public subsidies and huge insurance policies can’t cover up what is clearly a bad investment.  In fact, investments in massive dams such as Belo Monte may actually be drawing investment away from other sectors which could really benefit the public, reported this Bloomberg Markets Magazine story in April.

Investing in mega-dams in the Amazon is not only weakening Brazil’s standing as a player in international environmental sustainability and threatening the government’s compliance with international covenants such as ILO169.”

Read more: International Rivers

More Fireworks as Lawyers for Ecuador Plaintiffs Fire Back at Chevron

Highly toxic production water pours into a waste pit at an old Texaco oil facility near Dureno in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest in 1993. When Texaco left Ecuador in 1992, the company abandoned nearly 1,000 unlined toxic waste pits which continue to pollute the water in the region to this day. Photo retrieved from: www.beforeitsnews.com

“Only days after Chevron turned around and sued the victims of its abuses in Ecuador’s rainforest, accusing them of racketeering and extortion for demanding cleanup, lawyers for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs fired back. Patton Boggs, the high-profile DC law firm now representing the plaintiffs filed its own suit yesterday, accusing Chevron and its lawyers at Gibson Dunn of “tortiously interfering” with the firm’s representation of the Ecuadorians. Tortious interference is a matter of common law and is also referred to as intentional interference with contractual relations.

This is exactly where it gets into a bunch of legalistic mumbo-jumbo for most people (including yours truly) but Patton Boggs’ press release announcing the filing of its suit lays bare Chevron’s legal manipulations for the sideshow they are. The Complaint referred to in the beginning is Chevron’s latest legal assault on the Ecuadorians, their preposterous RICO suit:

What is clear from the Complaint is that Chevron has little interest in litigating the merits of the claims, brought by the indigenous people of Ecuador, that its predecessor Texaco’s conduct has caused an ecological disaster in an environmentally sensitive rainforest the size of the State of Rhode Island. Rather, Chevron wants to litigate about the behavior of the lawyers, consultants, and spokespersons who have dared to represent these people during the past 18 years. Chevron simply cannot escape three glaring facts:”

Read more: Amazon Watch

Amazon Drought May Have Bigger Impact On Global Warming Than U.S. Does In A Year

Photo retrieved from: www.huffingtonpost.com

“A widespread drought in the Amazon rain forest last year was worse than the “once-in-a-century” dry spell in 2005 and may have a bigger impact on global warming than the United States does in a year, British and Brazilian scientists said on Thursday.

More frequent severe droughts like those in 2005 and 2010 risk turning the world’s largest rain forest from a sponge that absorbs carbon emissions into a source of the gases, accelerating global warming, the report found.

Trees and other vegetation in the world’s forests soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow, helping cool the planet, but release it when they die and rot.

“If events like this happen more often, the Amazon rain forest would reach a point where it shifts from being a valuable carbon sink slowing climate change to a major source of greenhouse gases that could speed it up,” said lead author Simon Lewis, an ecologist at the University of Leeds.

The study, published in the journal Science, found that last year’s drought caused rainfall shortages over a 1.16 million square-mile (3 million square km) expanse of the forest, compared with 734,000 square miles (1.9 million square km) in the 2005 drought.

It was also more intense, causing higher tree mortality and having three major epicenters, whereas the 2005 drought was mainly focused in the southwestern Amazon.”

Read more: Huffington Post

How South America’s Rainforests Are Being Sacrificed on the Altar of Energy

Amazon Rainforest. Photo retrieved from: www.svbchemicals.com

“That estimate takes into account a 10-km strip that would be deforested along each of the roads that have to be built in order to install the transmission towers and power lines.

It does not consider further deforestation in areas already degraded by the construction of the Southern Interoceanic Highway, which will link the Amazon jungle state of Acre in Brazil with several Pacific port cities in Peru.

The study mentions a number of impacts for the Inambari and Araza river basins, such as the dams’ interruption of the migration of many species of fish upriver to their breeding grounds, which will in turn affect riverbank populations that depend on fish as a staple food.

Peru ranks fifth in the world in terms of diversity of fish species, with more than 1,000 species, around 600 of which can be found in the Madre de Dios river alone, the report says.”

Read more: AlterNet