GAIA Paris Declaration on Zero Waste for Climate Justice

Statement of GAIA participating organisations agreed in Paris on the occasion of the twenty first Conference of Parties (COP21) on the 5th December 2015.

The participating organisations of GAIA stand in solidarity with Paris frontline communities carrying the pollution burdens and health impacts associated with waste incinerators. The Ivry incinerator reconstruction project represents a step in the wrong direction for action on climate change, much needed jobs, clean air and health for the people of Paris.

As participating organisations of GAIA we declare our firm resolve and expanded commitment to work towards a safe climate future through zero waste solutions.

We welcome the global consensus that carbon based pollution is driving dangerous climate change that cannot be ignored. The existential threat that climate change represents is an opportunity for globa peace, security and unity.

We call for an end to climate finance for incineration. We stress that waste disposal practices such as incineration contributes more GHG’s and toxic air pollutants per unit of energy than the coal and gas energy sector.

We highlight the negative health impacts that incinerators impose on host communities and the environmental injustice this represents. Children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic air pollutants emitted by incinerators. These pollutants, including persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like dioxins (PCD and PCDF) adversely affect health at minute levels.

We urge all governments to remove the loopholes and gaps in GHG accounting methods and suspend allrenewable energy credits, benefits and subsidies for the waste disposal sector. In particular, so-called “waste to energy” incinerators and landfills, which entrench a linear economic model. We need a rapid transition towards a sustainable circular economy ensuring the protection of our earth’s finite resources for future generations.

We urge all governments to remove the eligibility criteria for biomass burning in all renewable energ credits, benefits and subsidies. Investment in composting practices for biomass waste delivers greater climate mitigation and ecological benefits through soil carbon sequestration, soil nutrients and is less expensive and polluting than biomass incineration. Composting biomass waste is a proven climate change solution.

We call for investment in zero waste solutions to address impending climate threats. Zero waste solutions provide the deep transformative changes needed globally to create grassroots, sustainable, circular economies and social justice. Zero waste solutions support and empower wastepickers, composters and the informal recycling sector which provides valuable waste management services that mitigate climate change, Zero waste solutions allow us to safely manage and reduce our waste and pollution impacts, protect our environment and health, create jobs, uphold intergenerational equity and provide creative ways to minimise the consumption of earth’s finite resources.