Sunday, December 20, 2009

Credit Card Debt up to 15 Percent of Annual Household Income. Average Credit Card Debt in 1980 was $670 and Today it is up to $7,800. The Slimy World

Credit card companies have made it their passion to ensure that every eligible American has access to a credit card. They have also created a financial labyrinth with traps in every corner from tricky financial statements to interest rates that would make loan sharks blush. The credit card has become some form of financial rite of passage. Even colleges are plastered with credit card pushers trying to get their new batch of Americans hooked on the world of debt financing. In a way, this is an early initiation into the world of spending what you don’t have so when the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve create money out of thin air many Americans don’t find this concept foreign.

Credit card companies have expanded the scope of how many Americans actually hold the mighty plastic:


In 1965 only 5 million cards were in circulation and by 1996 some 1.4 billion cards were out floating in the market. How can this be? You have some people that have ten or more cards. As of today over 70 percent of eligible households have a credit card. This isn’t stunning since the average American needs to establish credit through this racket because of building up a FICO score. In many cases this score determines your interest rate or even whether you get a rental. How did people do it in the 1950s or before? They actually spent time vetting the person instead of deferring the hard work to some magical three digit number.

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the massive growth in credit card debt. This week Bank of America sent me a letter discussing the new changes to my credit card because of the new legislation kicking in 2010. A few key points include not being able to hike up your rates on all cards if you miss payment on one card. This is known as universal default. And another key was not being able to hike up your rate without advance notice. The letter was sent as if it were fantastic news. This is nonsense. This is like someone sending you a letter saying, “after 20 years of robbing your bank account, we have decided that we will no longer steal your money with both hands but only with one.” Is this really the kind of reform the corporate oligarchs have in mind for us?

And while this reform is coming, credit card companies are screwing as many customers as they can before the new legislation comes into effect. I made the inopportune mistake of acting in frustration and anger. One day as I arrived home after a tough day, I opened up a letter from Chase showing that my fixed rate of 4.9% was now going up to 18.99%. The letter in point 6-print stated that if I did not want this, I should pick up the phone and call some person half way around the globe to discuss a very local problem. I dialed away and told them that I wanted to completely opt out. Who in the world would say yes to this? Well as it turns out the rate shot up anyway and the card was closed because somewhere in the clause, not opting in was reason to move on the change. Furious I had my attorney draft up a letter and we sent it to Chase. They managed to get the rate back down. No late payments. Years of on time loyalty mean nothing here. Even a solid FICO score. My attorney just shook his head and said he is seeing this over and over.

Part of this comes from the massive growth in credit card debt over the years:


In 1980 the average U.S. household held $670 in credit card debt. That number today is up to $7,800. Nearly $900 billion in credit card debt is outstanding. This is money that is created out of thin air. Think about a credit card transaction. You don’t have the money technically and neither does the credit card issuer. Once you buy say a flat screen or food, you’ve just created “X” amount of money on your purchase. Yet that money wasn’t there before your purchase even though you may think your credit line is actual money. As many people are now realizing many credit card issuers are now pulling back lines to shore up their beleaguered balance sheets. Many made the critical mistake of thinking of their credit line as some form of savings account.

As you can see with the green above in the chart, for nearly 30 years each year saw more and more credit card debt. That is until this massive crisis. We have reached an apex of debt. You might say that incomes have grown during this time. That is true but more is eaten up as a percentage by credit card debt:


Back in 1980 credit card debt on average was slightly below 4% of U.S. household annual median income. Today that number is over 15 percent. This seems to be the breaking point. Let us not even couple in the massive amount of mortgage debt brought on by the gigantic housing bubble. Americans were spending more and more with debt that really didn’t connect to their actual economic status. Now, many are facing the grim prospect of paying inordinate amounts of money to credit card companies that are looking to suck every last penny out of debt holders. The same people credit card companies wooed with 0 percent 12 month offers are now getting rates jacked up and having traps setup in every imaginable path on the road. And the only legislation we can get is that they won’t scam Americans as much as they once did? Come on now.

It would be one thing if credit card companies that are connected to the too big to fail banks didn’t take any taxpayer money. Instead, the American taxpayer is backstopping the banking and corporate oligarchs to the tune of $14 trillion. And what are banks doing? They are hoarding the money:


Banks are holding onto some $1.1 trillion in excess reserves. As we saw in our earlier chart they are doing the opposite of lending by pulling money out. It isn’t that banks don’t want to lend but they rather gamble in the stock market casino and make egregious amounts of money on the backs of struggling Americans. And what do we get? A nice letter in the mail telling us they will tone down their screwing of us via outrageous credit card practices.

I did an article a few months ago talking about an insane 79.9 percent credit card offer. Some doubted this but it is no joke:

“NEW YORK (AP) — It’s no mistake. This credit card’s interest rate is 79.9 percent.

The bloated APR is how First Premier Bank, a subprime credit card issuer, is skirting new regulations intended to curb abusive practices in the industry. It’s a strategy other subprime card issuers could start adopting to get around the new rules.

Typically, the First Premier card comes with a minimum of $256 in fees in the first year for a credit line of $250. Starting in February, however, a new law will cap such fees at 25 percent of a card’s credit line.

In a recent mailing for a preapproved card, First Premier lowers fees to just that limit — $75 in the first year for a credit line of $300. But the new law doesn’t set a cap on interest rates. Hence the 79.9 APR, up from the previous 9.9 percent.”

And before you think that poor people are going out of their way to seek this kind of financial destruction, think again:

“The bank typically mails offers to subprime households, meaning those with credit scores below 700. In the third quarter, however, 84 percent of its offers were sent to subprime households, down from 91 percent the same period last year, according to Synovate.

First Premier could be cleaning up its credit card portfolio since the new regulations will limit its ability to raise interest rates. That could mean First Premier won’t issue cards as liberally to those with bad credit.”

It is enough to make your head turn. How is this beneficial to anyone? How is this even legal after we just went through an economic collapse that came close to rivaling that of the Great Depression? Credit card companies and their banking parents have absolutely no shame. Time to bust these trusts up.

A Visual Comparison of United States

Russia vs United States: A Visual Comparison

China vs United States: A Visual Comparison

Study: 'Stimulus' package helps Democrats, not the economy

A new study has confirmed that Obama's "stimulus" spending is disproportionately targeting Democratic districts and being used for partisan constituent payoffs.

The study, conducted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, found that the porkulus funds have gone to Democrat districts almost twice as often as Republican districts.

Now, as I have noted before, the worst economic disaster areas almost always are run exclusively by Democrats and have been for decades. However, as Mercatus Center scholar Veronique de Rugy explains:

If the stimulus money [were] actually spent to create jobs, there would be more stimulus money spent in high unemployment states...we don't find any correlation.

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911-War Promises

Source: NuoViso -Purchase DVD

Millions of people believe that evidence proves that Western intelligence services organized the hideous attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001. Even the mainstream media have stopped defending the official version and now prefer to ignore the issue altogether.

Distrust in Western governments grows as the wars of aggression waged by the USA and NATO continue to be justified with these “false flag” operations. Ever harsher domestic laws are being passed to crush all outrage and resistance in Western populations; at the end of the day they aim to unleash the German military on German civilians, instead of allowing morality and ethics to flow into day-by-day policy-making.

That morality and ethics long ago stopped playing a part in political decision-making is shown by the use of internationally outlawed weapons in all the wars NATO has started. At best, one has heard of “depleted uranium” after seeing the film “Deadly Dust” by award-winning Frieder Wagner. But even that film is systemically blocked out and banished, although, or perhaps because, it shows the horrific consequences of the use of these uranium weapons.

Among those aghast at the actions of NATO and the complicity of Germany in such internationally illegal wars of aggression is Christoph Hörstel, for many years foreign correspondent and editorial head of the German public broadcasting network ARD. Of like mind is Giullietto Chiesa, a Member of the European Parliament, who slams the ignorance and disinterest of most of his fellow Members.

What they don’t know is explained in the film “War promises” by insiders and whistleblowers. Annie Machon was a spy with the British MI5 and reports on false flag operations, as do Andreas von Bülow and Jürgen Elsässer, who possess enormous insider knowledge from their membership of the parliamentary committee supervising the secret services, and want to bring it to the public.

Eight years after 9/11 millions of people have linked up through the Internet to jointly rebel against this criminal system. What was still dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory until just a few month ago is now regarded as proven, raising the question how we, the people, handle this situation, in which those who govern us have on their minds anything but our well-being.

Fair or Fail: Will Bernanke keep on driving Fed Express train?

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評選活動由號稱是中國最大民間教育機構廣州信孚集團與民間智庫“政右經左工作室”主辦,入選者 大部份是近年活躍於中國的異見學者、律師和社會活動人士等,包括調查四川大地震死難學生人數的藝術家艾未未、揭露中國沙斯疫情的軍醫蔣彥永、維權律師劉曉 原等。另外,還有台灣作家龍應台、學者卜大中等。





2009中國功夫對職業泰拳爭霸賽於週六(12月19日)在黃飛鴻故鄉廣東佛山開賽。此前,泰拳挑戰少林、少林拒不應戰、峨眉主動請纓等新聞被熱炒,使得 這項比賽受到空前的關注。本次比賽,泰方派出歷屆最強陣容,個個都是現役的頂尖高手,而中國隊是以廣東散打隊為班底組成的。之前傳聞指泰拳選手口出狂言, 向少林下戰帖。不過,最後,少林、峨眉都沒有人來。(圖:中新社)







首兩局,藍桑坤利用兇狠的肘部攻擊張開印,張明顯處於下風,但第3局張突然加快進攻節奏打出 “組合進攻”,一記重拳擊中藍桑坤的面部,再一腳踢中他的胸部,最後重拳出擊,直接KO對手,完結了一場本來被認為是實力相差最大的比賽,藍桑坤被擊暈, 全場觀眾熱血沸騰,幾乎陷入瘋狂。



































































































Regulators Shut Down Banks In 6 States


Regulators on Friday shut down two big California banks, as well as banks in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Illinois, bringing to 140 the number of U.S. banks brought down this year by the weak economy and mounting loan defaults. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over all seven. Regulators shuttered First Federal Bank of California, based in Santa Monica, with $6.1 billion in assets and $4.5 billion in deposits, as was as Imperial Capital Bank of La Jolla, Calif., with about $4 billion in assets and $2.8 billion in deposits. California was one of the states hardest hit by the real estate market meltdown and many banks there have suffered under the weight of soured mortgage loans. First Federal and Imperial Capital bring to 17 the number of California banks to fail this year. Also closing their doors Friday were Atlanta-based RockBridge Commercial Bank, with $294 million in assets and $291.7 million in deposits; and New South Federal Savings Bank, based in Irondale, Ala., with $1.5 billion in assets and $1.2 billion in deposits. Citizens State Bank of New Baltimore, Mich., with $168.6 million in assets and $157.1 million in deposits, was shut down, along with Peoples First Community Bank of Panama City, Fla., with $1.8 billion in assets and $1.7 billion in deposits. Regulators also closed Independent Bankers' Bank, based in Springfield, Ill. -- a sort of wholesale bank that provided services to 450 client banks in four states -- with $585.5 million in assets and $511.5 million in deposits. OneWest Bank of Pasadena, Calif., agreed to buy all of the deposits and essentially all of the assets of First Federal Bank. All 39 of its branches will reopen on Saturday as branches of OneWest. Los Angeles-based City National Bank agreed to assume all of Imperial Capital's deposits, as well as $3.3 billion of the failed bank's assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for a later sale. All nine branches of Imperial Capital will reopen Monday as City National Bank branches. Beal Bank, based in Plano, Texas, agreed to assume the assets and deposits of New South Federal Savings Bank, which only had one branch. Hancock Bank, based in Gulfport, Miss., agreed to assume the deposits and about $1.6 billion of the loans and other assets of Peoples First Community Bank. The FDIC will retain the rest for eventual sale. The FDIC was unable to find a buyer for RockBridge Commercial Bank, so checks covering insured accounts will be mailed to retail depositors, the agency said. For Independent Bankers' Bank, the FDIC set up a temporary "bridge bank," which the agency will operate as it continues to seek a buyer. The FDIC also set up a "bridge bank" for Citizens State Bank, which will continue to operate for about 45 days to allow customers access to their deposits and open accounts at other banks. It will be operated by Huntington National Bank of Columbus, Ohio, under a contract with the FDIC. The FDIC estimates the failure of First Federal Bank of California will cost the deposit insurance fund $146.3 million and Imperial Capital's closing is expected to cost the fund $619.2 million. The failure of Citizens State Bank will cost $76.6 million; the failure of New South Federal Savings Bank is expected to cost $212.3 million; that of Peoples First Community Bank $556.7 million; Independent Bankers' Bank, $68.4 million; and RockBridge Commercial Bank, $124.2 million. RockBridge Commercial had about $2.1 million in deposits that exceeded the $250,000 per-account insured limit, an estimate likely to change after more information is gathered from customers, the agency said. Depositors with funds that exceed the insured limits become essentially creditors of the failed bank. They will eventually recover some of their money, but the amount can range from 40 cents on the dollar up to the full amount. Recovery can take months. RockBridge Commercial is the 25th Georgia-based bank to fail this year, more than in any other state. Independent Bankers' Bank was the 21st bank in Illinois to fail and Peoples First Community Bank was the 14th bank in Florida. As the economy has slumped, with unemployment rising, home prices tumbling and loan defaults soaring, bank failures have accelerated around the country. The 140 bank failures are the most in a year since 1992 at the height of the savings-and-loan crisis. They have cost the government-backed deposit insurance fund -- which has fallen into the red -- more than $30 billion so far this year. The failures compare with 25 last year and three in 2007. The FDIC expects the cost of bank failures to grow to about $100 billion over the next four years. Banks have been especially hard hit by failed real estate loans, both residential and commercial. If the economic recovery falters, defaults on the high-risk loans could spike. Nearly $500 billion in commercial real estate loans are expected to come due annually over the next few years. Last week, the Obama administration extended until next October the $700 billion financial bailout program, saying the fund was still needed to prevent further turmoil in the banking system. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said extending the rescue program also will help homeowners struggling to avoid losing homes to foreclosure and small businesses having trouble getting loans.

Iraq denies Iranian oilfield incursion

A senior Iraqi officials has denied reports that Iranian troops had crossed into Iraqi territory and briefly occupied a remote oilfield area.

Security sources in southeastern Maysan province, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iranian troops made their way onto the Fakka oilfield area, on the Iraqi side of the border, then withdrew after several hours.

Iraq's deputy interior minister, Ahmed Ali al-Khafaji, says no incursion took place.

"This news in not true. This field is disputed and now it is neglected by both sides," he said.

"There was no storming of the field. It's empty. It's abandoned. It is exactly on the border between Iraq and Iran."

According to Arabic-language television reports, Iranian troops entered the Iraqi field and raised an Iranian flag.

Ties between Iran and Iraq, which fought a bloody eight-year war in the 1980s, have improved since a Shi'ite-led government took over in Baghdad following the ousting of Sunni Arab leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Yet tensions have flared in the past in the inhospitable desert region, just one of many flashpoints where continuing disagreement over shared borders between the majority Shi'ite Muslim neighbours has fuelled a low-level public feud.

With Washington and Tehran at odds over Iran's nuclear program, the Iran-Iraq relationship is more delicate given the presence of 115,000 US soldiers on Iraqi soil.

NASA reveals first-ever photo of liquid on another world

A photo from Cassini shows sunlight reflecting from a giant lake of methane on the northern half of Saturn's moon Titan.
A photo from Cassini shows sunlight reflecting from a giant lake of methane on the northern half of Saturn's moon Titan.

(CNN) -- NASA scientists revealed Friday a first-of-its-kind image from space showing reflecting sunlight from a lake on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

It's the first visual "smoking gun" evidence of liquid on the northern hemisphere of the moon, scientists said, and the first-ever photo from another world showing a "specular reflection" -- which is reflection of light from an extremely smooth surface and in this case, a liquid one.

"This is the first time outside Earth we've seen specular reflection from another liquid from another body," said Ralf Jaumann, a scientist analyzing data from the Cassini unmanned space probe.

Jaumann said he was surprised when he first saw the photos transmitting from Cassini, orbiting Saturn about a billion miles from Earth.

"It was great because if you look at photos of planets, you mostly see nothing is happening. But in two hours we saw a glint of light getting brighter."

Titan's similarities to Earth have attracted NASA's attention for decades. It's the only body besides our own in the solar system that is believed to have liquid on its surface. Like Earth, Titan has an atmosphere which is mostly nitrogen.

Experts believe the presence of liquid on a planet or moon improves the chances that some kind of life could develop there.

The photo comes from the spacecraft Cassini, which has been searching for this kind of reflection since it began circling Saturn in 2004.

Scientists with the University of Arizona were able to use previous data from Cassini to learn details about the reflection's location on Titan.

The glint appears to be coming from the southern edge of a lake called Kraken Mare -- a massive body of methane that covers about 150,000 square miles (400,000 square kilometers). That's larger than the Caspian Sea, which is the largest lake on Earth.

The hunt for the specular reflection took five years, NASA said, because the moon's northern half had been shrouded in winter darkness.

"Next, we want to find out more about Titan's liquid," said Jaumann. "Do we have some kind of weather there? Do we have changes with seasons? Does it rain? How does the liquid methane run across the surface?"

But Jaumann sounded a note of caution regarding the prospect of life in this case.

"The temperature on Titan's surface is something like minus-180 degrees Celsius," he said. "That means it's very cold. But you never know."

The project is based out of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

This is not the first evidence of liquid on Titan. In 2008, project members used infrared technology to discover a large lake in the moon's southern hemisphere.

But this recent discovery is a sure sign that liquid exists on the moon's northern half. That region is believed to include larger basins that could hold more liquid.

Chinese debate positive side of global warming

Dynasties were more prosperous' when weather was warm

Academics in China are debating whether global warming could benefit rather than harm the country, with some historical climatologists believing the country did better during warmer periods.

They point to studies that show a drop in temperature and desertification accelerated the Mongol invasions of the 13th century.

"With the cold temperatures there was a drought in Mongolia. Since people were eating livestock, which fed on the grasslands, they needed to go south," Xie Zhenghui of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' International Center for Climate & Environmental Sciences told the Los Angeles Times.

"When there was warmer weather and more rain, the Mongols didn't need to attack the south."

Elizabeth VanderVen, a history professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said although global warming might not be a good thing overall for China, warmer weather could benefit certain crops. "The only exception would be that warmer weather is good for crops like rice and soybeans.

"During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), local farmers were concerned about occasional out-of-season cold snaps in the south as they ruined rice crops or arrested the development of young rice shoots."

Wheat, which is mainly consumed in northern China, was a crop that would suffer if temperatures rose, she said.

Scientists also cited progress during warmer periods as an indication China could prosper if the planet gets warmer.

"Historically, when the temperatures were warmer, the dynasties were more prosperous," Ms. Xie said.

"That led some people to theorize that global warming might be good for China."

However, she agreed not everyone would reap the benefits.

"Warming might be good for agriculture in the north and west, but it would be a disaster for the coastal cities and for the south where Chinese industry is located," she said.

Yunxiang Gao, a history professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, said she has seen the effects of global warming first-hand.

"I am from Inner Mongolia, right outside the Great Wall. I know global warming turned the grassland and farmland in my hometown into desert and the creek and ponds in my village totally disappeared about a decade ago," she said.

Once-crowded villages have been transformed into "ghost towns" because of the lack of rain and snow. Farmers have been driven into cities, where it is difficult for them to make a living.

Cities such as Beijing, Nanjing and Xian are plagued by smog because they were built in basins surrounded by mountains, and the warm dry weather keeps the smog around.

"It is true that Chinese civilization peaked during periods of warm weather, but I don't think now that global warming will help either Chinese agriculture or development," said Wang Yi of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Policy & Management.

He added he once believed climate change could be beneficial for China, but has since changed his mind, and said he isn't alone.

Rod Blagojevich set up by the NWO!

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A New Age Vietnam - Merry Christmas

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Gerald Celente Blacklisted Radio with Michael Vail 16 Dec 2009

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The World Bank and Climate Change: Sustainability or Exploitation?

In the name of environmental protection, the World Bank is brokering carbon emission trading arrangements that destroy indigenous farmlands around the world.

The effort to coordinate global action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions began with the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and now has been ratified by 183 nations…

In accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, many governments have established “caps,” or limits, on the greenhouse gas emissions that can be produced in their countries. Industries can respond to these government-imposed limits by responsibly reducing their emissions, or they can bypass this process entirely by purchasing “carbon credits” from other industries in other parts of the world who, through Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) investment brokered by the World Bank, trade emission reduction “credits” in order to “offset” excessive emissions. Joris den Blanken, a climate change specialist with Greenpeace, says, “Offsetting means exporting responsibilities to the developing world and removes the incentive for industry to improve efficiency or to invest in renewable energy.”

While the World Bank claims that this system “supports sustainable development . . . and benefits the poorer communities of the developing world,” the program in reality has become little more than a corporate profit-boosting enterprise. In fact, many transnational corporations are using cap and trade programs not only to avoid emissions responsibility, but to further profit by developing environmentally and socially destructive industries in less developed countries.

In Latin America, where a long history of corporate exploitation has already taken a steep toll, environmentalists and indigenous communities are beginning to speak out about the dangers of the CDM. Because of a myopic focus on greenhouse gas reduction only, and a lack of accountability to local communities, many projects are producing other environmental and social ills that are diametrically opposed to the program’s stated objectives.

Nevertheless, the United Nations Environmental Program reports that, to date, 4,364 projects have been approved for CDM funding, and the movement continues to gain momentum. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the number of new project proposals has risen drastically in just a few years, from less than ten per month in early 2005 to about 100 per month in 2007.

Wood and pulp industries have shown great interest in harnessing the carbon market to justify and finance projects that involve expropriating indigenous farm and grazing land for planting of enormous monospecific plantations. These plantations threaten the area’s biodiversity and can severely deplete water resources. Author Mary Tharin warns, “From an ecological standpoint, planting large-scale plantations of non-native species in this area is clearly a step in the wrong direction. From a societal standpoint, this could spell cultural genocide.”

According to a 2008 report by Japan Overseas Plantation for Pulpwood (JOPP), entitled “Feasibility Study of Afforestation CDM for Community Development in Extensive Grazing Lands in Uruguay,” the land that would be used for the JOPP’s “afforestation projects,” is currently used for “extensive grazing” of cattle and sheep. The report, which elaborates on “land eligibility,” makes no mention of the people who own, live on, or make a living from the use of the land in question. The only allusion to this issue is the brief assurance that all displaced cattle would be “sold on the open market.” Despite the fact that “cattle and sheep production has been the traditional rural activity in the project area and all the surrounding regions since the17th Century,” the report contends that the establishment of plantations would be a more cost-effective use for the land than pasture. The question then becomes: cost-effective for whom? [Carbon offsets are just another method of separating people from the land, a modern version of the Enclosure Act of the 18th century]

The World Bank touts the CDM as an “integral part of the Bank’s mission to reduce poverty through its environment and energy strategies.” However, in Latin America as in other parts of the developing world, the global carbon market is proving to be largely detrimental to the indigenous and the poor. With little or no input on how a project is conducted, local communities have virtually no control over how their land, water, and resources will be affected.

In a recent documentary by Carbon Trade Watch, villagers explained that the massive plantations—which cover about 100,000 acres—are diverting water from local streams, causing a sharp decrease in fishing and killing off medicinal plants. In an interview, one local woman lamented that corporate plantations “continue destroying our community, destroying our citizens, destroying our fauna, destroying our flora, and nobody does anything [to stop it].”

Lack of accountability to local populations is a fundamental flaw in the way CDM projects are presented, evaluated and implemented. The official “Project Design Document Form”—which the CDM Executive Board uses to approve or deny funding—largely disregards the impact of projects on local communities. The document contains no binding legal language, asking only for a “report on how due account was taken of any comments received” by local stakeholders. In their assessment of four CDM projects carried out in Brazil and Bolivia, the EEP found that “participation of local community members was found to be limited.”

While the World Bank pays constant lip service to the importance of sustainability and poverty alleviation in the CDM, it continually fails to deliver positive results for either the environment or disadvantaged communities in the developing world. The global carbon market is proving to be simply another weapon used by multinational corporations to accelerate their incursion on the rights of indigenous peoples and small-scale landholders in Latin America.

The irony of this situation takes on an especially tragic hue since many of the communities at risk have been living in a sustainable manner for centuries and thus should be seen as models in the fight against environmental degradation…

Janet Redman at the Institute for Policy Studies says, “Farmers [in the global south] are trading communal land rights and their ability to feed themselves for the whims and price fluctuations of the international carbon market.”

Update by Mary Therin

As governments, environmentalists, and industry leaders gear up for UN Climate Change Conference this December in Copenhagen, the debate over carbon offsets has taken center stage. Groups including the European Commission have acknowledged the many shortcomings of the Clean Development Mechanism and are calling for reform. In late April 2009, delegates from all over the world attended the Indigenous People’s Global Summit on Climate Change, producing a declaration which called on governments to abandon “false solutions to climate change that negatively impact Indigenous Peoples’ rights . . . such as carbon trading, the Clean Development Mechanism, and forest offsets.”

Unfortunately, the CDM Executive Board, instead of addressing issues of transparency and accountability, has proposed an expansion of some of the carbon offset scheme’s most problematic aspects. The board has put forth plans to expand its forestry mechanism and ease the funding application process. According to Oscar Reyes of Carbon Trade Watch, these reforms would drastically expand CDM while “lowering the already inadequate checks on environmental sustainability and social justice.”

Meanwhile, the Clean Development Mechanism continues to expand. In May 2009 alone, 132 new CDM projects were submitted for approval, marking an all-time high in the application process. At the same time, more evidence is cropping up all over the globe that many “emissions reduction” projects in the developing world are doing more harm than good. In June 2009, the UK-based Daily Mail published an exposé on a UN-funded chemical plant that has poisoned the local water supply in Gujarat, India. According to Eva Filzmoser of CDM Watch, large hyrdo and gas projects are the most damaging receivers of CDM funding. These projects, she argues, rarely save additional [GHG]emissions and in fact provide perverse incentives to expand environmentally degrading industries.

In the United States, debate over carbon offsets and cap and trade schemes has erupted since the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, was passed by the House Energy Committee in May 2009. While many environmentalist groups are heralding the bill as a huge step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, others point to the prominence of carbon offsetting in the bill… According to the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), up to 2 billion tons of carbon (about 30 percent of current US emissions) could be purchased as offsets under the legislation, half of which would come from developing countries through programs like the Clean Development Mechanism.

While most of the mainstream media and many environmental groups have jumped on the cap and trade bandwagon, organizations such as the Institute for Public Studies, Carbon Trade Watch, and CDM Watch continue to boost public awareness on the dangers of cap and trade.

From – Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010