Trees and the ‘Net-Zero‘ Emissions Hoax

The trees of the forest, a natural paradise of complex plant engineering under the deception of 'net zero' emissions in the Amazon. The irreconcilable contradiction between the cycles of nature and the spiralling growth of capital

Nubia Barrera Silva

he U.S., the European Union and China, the world's biggest polluters, have fallen far short of the commitments and targets in the climate change targets. These were to be achieved by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is evidenced by the 1.1°C rise in global temperatures, the highest since the end of the 19th century. The climate policies of the North are driven by the rhetoric of energy transition and a return to fossil fuels. At the same time, in the Global South, countless corporations, environmental NGOs and private investment funds are scattered everywhere to plunder the natural world. Together they are selling carbon credits to third parties at higher prices, replacing fertile agricultural land with large-scale commercial monoculture tree plantations, and selling off land, water, air and photosynthesis as part of the definition of ecosystem services.

In the Pan-Amazonian region, corporate policies of adaptation and mitigation to the climate crisis have updated old mechanisms of ethnic-peasant eviction from their territories and accelerated the destruction of vegetation cover, and native trees, including ecosystems and biodiversity as a whole. After COP27, green capitalism has swept through tropical rainforests and natural reserves for the conservation of biodiversity, as well as the oceans, water, air and photosynthesis. Among the legal instruments, the concession, another form of deterritorialisation of indigenous peoples, occupies a privileged place. This is defined as the act or effect of granting, making available, and making accessible consent or permission. This is the case of the Fundo or Fecho de Pasto communities, who are confronted with concessions in defence of their customary rights by supporting the notion of dispossession established in colonial times with renewed exploitative tools. Capital accords with local governments, its unconditional accomplices in the fragmented surrender of every component of the majestic Amazon forest to financialised capital.

From the Pan-Amazon region, we ask ourselves, will the trees at the top of plant evolution survive the sixth extinction of humanity? We do not know, but we are sure that extinction announces and also forewarns us about what to do about the coming eco-social instabilities in the making. For more than fifty years, a conflict between industrial societies and nature's biophysical limits has been predicted to engulf the Global South. We are at a turning point. Projections are distorted, and politicians are confused and make decisions contrary to the demands of their citizens in the face of an avalanche of unexpected climatic, environmental and social events. In these scenarios, the only possible reality is uncertainty. Hence sooner rather than later, rebellions will be the order of the day.


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