Guardian: Ecological decline ‘far worse’ than official estimates


Richard Moore

Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2002 11:35:34 -0400
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Aaron Koleszar <•••@••.•••>
Subject: S18-20, QC: protest OECD/WB / OECD Admits Ecological Decline
  'Far Worse' Than Official Estimates

From September 18-20, the World Bank and the OECD are
meeting at Laval University (Quebec City) to discuss
their vision of tomorrow’s university (productivity and

The website for the mobilization is
After the following article, the CALL TO MOBILIZATION
(english translation) is copied.


Ecological Decline 'Far Worse' Than Official Estimates

Leaked paper - OECD's grim warning on climate change

by John Vidal in Johannesburg
The Guardian (UK)

The real level of world inequality and environmental
degradation may be far worse than official estimates,
according to a leaked document prepared for the
world's richest countries and seen by the Guardian.

It includes new estimates that the world lost almost
10% of its forests in the past 10 years; that carbon
dioxide emissions leading to global warming are
expected to rise by 33% in rich countries and 100% in
the rest of the world in the next 18 years; and that
more than 30% more fresh water will be needed by 2020.

The background paper for last month's Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development pre-Johannesburg
meeting on sustainable development draws on many
previously unseen UN, World Bank, World Trade
Organization, and academic papers.

Although the governments of the world's 22 richest
nations who make up the OECD have seen the document,
many of the calculations are new and considerably
different from their own.

It calculates that less than 0.1% of of the average
income of the 22 members of the OECD actually finds
its way to the world's low income countries and just
0.05% went to the least developed countries. Recent US
and EU initiatives, it says, "will not meet targets at
any time soon".

Donor assistance for environmental protection and
basic social services has declined to less than 15% of
all aid compared with 35% at the time of the last
earth summit in 1992.

The OECD paper calculates that rich countries now
subsidize their industries by up to $1,000m a year,
including more than $300bn in agriculture. This, it
says, is having increasing effects on the development
of poor countries. and on environmental degradation.
If unrestricted market access were given to just the
four richest economies in the world, it would increase
per capita incomes of more than 2 billion people in
the world's most populated countries by 4% a year.

Meanwhile, the paper finds that foreign assistance
from western European countries, including private
funding and direct investment encouraged through
national policies, was more globally oriented in 1900
than it is today.

It says that if the EU, Canada, Japan and the US
allowed migrants to make up 4% of their workforce, the
returns to poor countries could be $160bn to 200bn a
year - far more than any debt relief could provide.

The paper's calculations of environmental degradation
suggest the many conventions, treaties and
intergovernmental agreements signed in the past decade
have had little or no effect on stopping the rush for
timber and mineral resources in the developing world
and that extinction of species is now reaching 11% of
birds, 18%-24% of mammals, 5% of fish, and 8% of

Over the next 18 years, says the report, global energy
use is expected to expand by more than 50%, and by
more than 100% in China, east Asia and the former
Soviet Union. Transport is by then expected to account
for more than half of global oil demand.

"The non-renewable fossil fuel resource base is
expected to be sufficient to meet demand to 2020
though problems beyond that point are foreseen for
natural gas and possibly oil," the report says.

It adds that OECD countries subsidize the emission of
global warming gases by $57bn - almost exactly what
the report estimates it would cost to meet
international targets. The paper suggests that
investing the money in reducing climate change
emissions would have next to no effect on the global
economy. "Through the provision of subsidies on fossil
fuels governments are effectively subsidizing
pollution and global warming as more than 60% of all
subsidies flow to oil, coal and gas."

Environment and development groups yesterday reacted
to the report with horror.

"The rich world knows this is happening," said the
chair of Friends of the Earth International, Ricardo
Navarrez. "We in poor countries have always known the
climate is changing, aid does not come, and the poor
are getting poorer. The richest countries are here in
Johannesburg to keep the system going."

Depleted resources: Key facts from OECD report

    * Nearly 50% of all fish stocks are fully exploited,
      20% are overexploited
    * Only 2% of global fisheries is recovering from
    * On current trends by 2025 15% of all forest species
      will be extinct
    * 60% of the world's population lives in ecologically
      vulnerable areas
    * 3 million people die each year due to air pollution
      and 5 million due to unsafe water
  Foreign investment
    * 80% of global finance flows went to rich countries
      in 2000, with the entire African continent receiving
      less than 1% of direct foreign investment
    * In 1914 40% of western European investment went to
      Africa, Latin America and Asia. In 1990 less than 20%
      went to those regions
    * Global water withdrawals are expected to rise 31% by
    * Most groundwater resources are being replenished at
      a rate of between 0.1% and 0.5%

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002


Summit meeting to enslave education to the market laws

Next September, representatives of universities and
"prestigious" institutions such as the World Bank and
OECD will meet in Quebec to discuss their vision of
tomorrow’s university. This vision, directed by needs
of productivity and competitiveness inherent to
capitalism, is incompatible with the project of a
critical, emancipating, accessible and egalitarian
education. Join us for three days of action and popular
education against an education controlled by the
requirements of private corporations and for
elaboration of alternatives. From September 18 to 20 of
2002 Laval University campus (Québec) Unfolding of the
event will be as follows:

*       Wednesday September 18:
*       Welcoming action in opposition to the official symposium
*       Alternative symposium on education

*       Thursday September 19:
*       Alternative symposium on education
*       Bed-in (Laval University Campus) – workshops and militant area

*       Friday September 20:
*       Huge Manifestation
*       Punk music by night

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