Daryl Hannah On the Cancun Talks and Deforestation
Actress Daryl Hannah went to the Cancun climate talks to campaign against the United Nations' Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program, known as REDD. She spoke with Managing Editor Susan McGinnis about her reasons for opposing the program and her views on other issues related to the talks.
REDD is a program that essentially offers countries financial incentives for refraining from cutting down tropical rainforests to create farmland. Hannah says the problem with REDD is that it turns the world's rainforests into a commodity. She says it doesn't account for them as an ecosystem or for the rights of indigenous people who live there and have been its caretakers for a long time. She believes nations should have some kind of incentives for not destroying their ecosystems, but it should not be monetary. She also calls REDD a "hidden land grab" that can lead to the forests being privatized. She believes they should be owned by the people who live there, not the national governments or corporate interests that may control them for whatever incentives they get for not cutting them down.
Hannah has also been involved in the campaign to save coral reefs from the effects of ocean acidification. She says an ocean chemist who spoke in Cancun, representing 10,000 of his colleagues, said they all agree that the world's oceans are 30 percent more acidic than at any other time. So she discounts those who argue that oceans are not becoming more acidic. She says projections indicate that in 30 years, oceans will be too acidic for coral and much of the aquatic life it supports. That could disrupt the entire food chain, and break down the natural barriers that protect major land masses from storms.
Hannah also does not believe people who argue that climate science is not settled, and that there are a lot of scientists who don't believe in climate change. She believes the vast majority of researchers believe that the science is clear. She says no matter whether people believe that climate change is real, or whether it is a problem, it only makes sense to stop using fossil fuels and chemical-industrial agriculture, and move toward clean, renewable energy. She is also concerned about the world's dwindling water resources and forests. They can be resources for medicine and other benefits for people, and there are still not enough protections in place for them.
Hannah says it's hard to believe that many delegates want to put off acting on these issues. She says most people in the world disagree, as evidenced by thousands of protests worldwide this week, all calling for an agreement. She participated in one of those protests herself. Hannah says the time for talk is over, and it's now time for action.
Last Wednesday was a big milestone for people who care about public health and a livable climate. Two utilities announced the planned closure of nine coal plants.Read more ...
Today, in the UK, the world's oldest nuclear power plant shut down.Read more ...
The U.S. led the world in clean energy investment in 2011, but China retained the top spot in the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index from Ernst & Young.Read more ...