This is the text of the speech given by Danielle Hirsch on the 'Nacht van de Tegenmacht' (Night of Countervailing Power)
Over the past 15 years the production of palm oil has increased enormously, and not without reason: palm oil, pressed from the fruit of the oil palm, is cheap and is used in many different products. It is processed in ice cream, chocolate, margarine and sauces, but also in personal care products and cosmetics such as lipstick, detergent, toothpaste, soap and biofuel. Unfortunately, the large demand for palm oil has quite some negative side effects: large-scale deforestation, pollution, 'land grabbing' and above all human rights violations are common practice in countries where palm oil is produced.
For a moment it appeared that the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investments in coal fired power plants. The bank even seemed to have issued a press release on the matter. But, unfortunately, the message was not real. During the annual press conference of the bank the activists, who were the source of the fake press release, stroke again. In the name of ‘the citizens of Europe’, EIB president Werner Hoyer was awarded with the ‘World Coal Down Award’. Hoyer, who was confused for a second, did not accept the award. The EIB fiercely denied the rumors surrounding the investment stop on coal with the term 'pure nonsense'.
Everything is tradable, even the right to CO2 emissions. In the European Union this has been common practice for some years now. EU countries have agreed to a maximum amount of CO2 emissions, and this 'right' is divided amongst companies in EU countries that produce a lot of CO2. Theoretically, CO2 emissions should be reduced this way. But are they? Both ENDS, together with a number of other organizations, signed a letter calling to stop this system. Wiert Wiertsema, specialist on international capital flows, explains why.
What is the reason behind the European Investment Bank’s 500 million loan to the Brazilian development bank BNDES? The money, paid for by the European taxpayer, comes from the ‘climate funds’ intended for projects to stop climate change. Does this make BNDES the most logical choice? Anouk Franck went to Brazil to find out more about this loan.