Be Carbon Positive!
Keeping the oil in the ground
In 1999 the Costa Rican government signed an oil development contract with US President George W Bush’s former company Harken Energy. When a ship arrived at the port of Limón that year to set off 20,000 seismic blasts on the sea floor during the height of the annual lobster migration, local people were outraged. Thanks to strong public pressure the Government declared a moratorium on oil, gas and mining activities in the country in 2002 and set in motion efforts to repeal the controversial Hydrocarbons Law – a piece of legislation brought in as part of a World Bank loan restructuring arrangement which carved up the country into 27 land and marine exploration blocks. The moratorium is the first of its kind in the world, and was presented to the UN climate talks in Montreal in 2005, as Costa Rica’s ‘contribution to solving climate change’. Where Costa Rica leads, others can follow.
Groups like Oilwatch International and campaigns such as against BP’s Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (see [NI 361, October 2003](http://www.newint.org/issue361/)) are playing a vital role in keeping the oil in the ground.
Some campaign groups fighting against the expansion of the oil industry:
Ending climate spam
After years of campaigning on climate change in local, national and international fora, many groups began to see that the burgeoning carbon market was undermining their efforts. As a result the Durban Network for Climate Justice was formed to highlight the problems of the carbon market, support communities affected by offset projects and promote positive alternatives.
*Durban Network for Climate Justice Weblog*:
Challenging the CO2 culture
The fossil-fuel economy is something that the industry constantly needs to protect and promote. Feelgood vibes via the arts and culture are but one means to that end. Prompted in part by BP’s sponsorship of the British National Portrait Gallery and Shell’s funding of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, artist-activists have launched their own exhibitions highlighting the destructive role played by the oil industry as well as the alternatives. Artists from all over the world are welcome to submit their work to initiatives like Art Not Oil – ‘First prize is justice, second is survival. Now that’s got to be better than climate chaos.’
*Art Not Oil*
Ben Pearson, *_Market Failure: Why the Clean Development Mechanism won’t promote clean development_*, CDM Watch, November 2004.
Patrick Bond and Rehana Dada (editors), *_Trouble in the Air: Global warming and the privatised atmosphere*_, Centre for Civil Society/TNI, 2005.
CCS energyseries 1005
Platform Research/Friends of the Earth/London Rising Tide, *_Beyond Oil: The oil curse and solutions for an oil-free future*_, October 2004.
Film and audio testimonies from people in the Majority World on various issues including climate change, carbon trading and oil.
Recommended Events, Action and Initiatives
*The Camp for Climate Action (UK)*
26 August - 4 September
‘The camp will be a place for this movement to get together. It will be a place for new people, people who have never been “political” before but who want to move beyond concern into action. It will be a place for experienced activists: old and young, cynical and hopeful. We all need courage, the guts to step beyond the comfort of our concern or the borders of our group. Climate change casts a long shadow over the future. But we believe this time can be an opportunity, a moment when people come together and say “enough”.’
‘I felt then that excruciating pain which knowledge confers on those who can discern the gulf that divides what is and what could be.’
Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995), writing in Home, Sweet Home