Asian Development Bank Must Stop Undermining Climate and Health Goals: Withdraw from Waste-to-Energy Incinerators, Now!

Manila – The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) – Asia Pacific condemns the continued promotion and commitment of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to invest in Waste-to-Energy (WTE) incinerators. It has also relentlessly shaped country and regional energy and climate policies and guidelines to include this polluting technology as a renewable or clean source of energy. 

The ADB has conducted the last four days of the  Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) as a virtual marketing platform for the WTE industry and its backers to sell this technology to governments and development planners.  While WTE promoters enjoyed speaking spaces to promote its false solutions,  there was no space provided for communities and grassroots organizations to challenge the purported promises of environmental, social, and financial opportunities from WTE incinerators and to be heard on how these technologies impact their health, jobs, and their environment. In summary, the ACEF has been nothing but an arena for industry polluters in shaping the narrative of what a low-carbon energy mix should look like for the region. 

Investing in WTE incinerators undermines national and global goals to keep temperatures at 1.5 degrees and achieve resilience amid the urgency to act strongly on climate, health, and fiscal emergencies in the region. Incinerators are dirtier than the rest of the grid. Per unit of electricity output, they emit 3.8 times as much greenhouse gases — 1.9 times as much carbon dioxide, 15 times as much nitrous oxide and methane, and 66 times as much biogenic carbon dioxide as the grid average. WTE incinerators are also known to create persistent organic pollutants as byproducts of their operations. 

The ACEF’s silence on the impacts of WTE incinerators on poor and marginalized communities. WTE incinerators are always placed beside low-income communities that cause long-term, multi-generational health impacts from toxic air and groundwater pollution. WTE also threatens informal workers in the waste sector and poses a threat to the generation of green jobs as these facilities wipe out opportunities by burning waste that should have been up for recycling. WTE destroys the resilience of the poor and marginalized communities and should have no place in the just transition. 

Instead of bringing toxic energy and unsustainable debts, we urge the ADB to invest more in environmental waste management priorities which begins with waste reduction, reuse, to recycling instead of incinerating precious and finite resources.

The ADB, as a development bank, whose aim is to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development in the region should also cease in shaping the narrative that industry polluters are the drivers of innovation on energy, waste, and inclusion. This narrative negates the existing Zero Waste practices and communities that sustainable waste management patterns in the Asia Pacific.

We are also deeply concerned that the newly-adopted ADB Energy Policy 2021, which states that investments in WTE incinerators shall flow only after meeting the following requirements 1)  after careful consideration of their political, social, and environmental contexts and in accordance with international conventions, 2)  provided that the feedstock for combustion results from a prudent order of waste management priorities, and lastly 3) first reducing waste generation, then exploiting the options for reusing and recycling materials, remains to be an empty promise. To date, we have not seen any guidance framework to ensure that these precautionary measures and priorities are in place. We strongly call for the immediate implementation of this policy requirement immediately. 

We call on the ADB to stop undermining national and global development objectives and align its investment policy to the requirements of the Paris Agreement, international instruments, and other development objectives for a truly just and resilient path to net zero. ####

Media Contact:

Sonia Astudillo, GAIA Asia Pacific Communications Officer sonia@no-burn.org, +63 917 5969286

Campaign Contact:

Yobel Novian Putra, GAIA Asia Pacific Climate & Clean Energy Associate yobel@no-burn.org 

Why climate finance for the cement industry is a terrible idea
In 2003, Lafarge Cement took over a 130-year-old cement plant in Trbovlje and began burning petcoke. (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

by Claire Arkin, Global Communications Lead

When Uroš Macerl took over the family farm, nestled in the small hilltown of Trbovlje, Slovenia, he was in for an unpleasant surprise. The world’s biggest cement producer, Lafarge, soon took over the local cement plant and started to burn “green alternative fuels,” aka 100 tons of hazardous industrial waste a day. Uroš and his community became deeply concerned about the threat of worsening air pollution. The existing emissions from the plant already made growing crops impossible, and Uroš had to switch to raising sheep. Children who lived in the area were twice as likely to suffer from chronic respiratory illnesses than the rest of the country. 

The cement industry has been progressively switching from burning traditional fossil fuels like petcoke to burning waste, which still emits greenhouse gases, along with a host of other toxic pollutants. Their main interest is economic, as they profit from carbon credits (in Europe), and from “tipping fees” from municipalities and businesses for burning waste. Moreover, the cement industry claims that burning waste is part of their decarbonising strategy on the grounds that they are avoiding the use of fossil fuels – so it’s also a greenwashing strategy to appear to be working on its carbon footprint.  

Now the cement industry is poised for another major win: Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), a think tank that aims to “mobilise global capital for climate action,” according to their website, is considering recommending that governments and financial institutions give climate funding to cement kilns to burn waste. This is great news for the industry because it means that they’re going to get paid to burn toxic trash to power their kilns, instead of actually confronting the devastating climate costs of their business model.

The climate cost of the cement industry is staggering. If the industry were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world. The full scope of this industry’s cost to humanity and the planet is next to impossible to truly fathom, but the Guardian’s Jonathan Watts does a fair job of it: “In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the global building industry will have poured more than 19,000 bathtubs of concrete,” he writes in his 2019 investigative report: “Concrete: the most destructive material on earth.” “In a single year, there is enough to patio over every hill, dale, nook and cranny in England.” Take a moment to let that sink in. It truly gives life to Joni Mitchell’s famous lyric, “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.” 

In many ways, the cement industry is very much like the fossil fuel industry– both are taking massive subsidies to fuel their devastating business models. Both are hellbent on burning as much as possible despite (in some cases quite literally) the planet being on fire. Both are getting richer and richer by polluting low-income and marginalized communities. (Uroš’s largely working class community lived under the shadow of the coal and cement industry for generations.) And both industries have long had governments and financial institutions in their pockets. Desperate to be heard by the Slovenian government, Uroš and other activists lay down in the road that the Prime Minister was set to traverse through the region. “Run over us and step on us,” he dared the Prime Minister. “We will sit here and you can continue to treat us as you’ve always had.”

With help from legal experts at Eko Krog, a local environmental group, Macerl challenged Lafarge in Slovenian and European courts. (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

Telling the cement industry to swap out coal with waste is like telling an alcoholic to swap out vodka for tequila– it’s still going to wreck the alcoholic’s liver, and in this case, it’s still going to wreck our planet. Much of the waste cement kilns want to burn is plastic, and plastic is made of 99% fossil fuels, so it’s just substituting one fossil fuel for another. 

Bizarrely, the technical review board responsible for developing CBI’s cement kiln financing criteria decided to completely ignore emissions from burning waste, because apparently, “their use leads to equivalent emissions reductions in the waste management industry.” This is puzzling logic, because it seems to be unaware of the emissions that it takes to create the plastic in the first place. By 2050, it is estimated that the greenhouse gas emissions from the entire plastic life cycle could reach over 56 gigatons—10-13 percent of the entire remaining carbon budget. 

And of all the ways to “manage” plastic waste, burning it is the worst option, from a climate perspective, as it releases the embedded carbon into the atmosphere, to the tune of 1.1 tons for every ton of waste burned, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. As if that weren’t bad enough, the cement industry also releases an equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions from limestone as it is heated to form the glue that holds concrete together, so changing the fuel source is failing to get to the root of the problem. 

To make matters worse, cement plant emissions are often not well-regulated; heavy metals, particulates, and semi-volatile persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins and furans (PCDD/PCDF) are released when waste is burned. POPs are what scientists call “forever chemicals”– once they’re released, they are with us forever, traveling long distances and accumulating in our food chain. You can’t put this cat back in the bag. 

Unlike CBI, many are not fooled by this cement industry greenwashing scheme– GAIA delivered a letter to CBI signed by a community of scientists, practitioners in the field of waste management, policy-makers, and 175+ environmental NGOs in 35+ countries, stating their opposition to CBI’s move. Communities across the world impacted by cement kilns are standing in solidarity with one another to fight against this gross mismanagement of climate funding. Ricardo Navarro of Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology, El Salvador, a group that has long fought cement kilns, has a message for CBI: “Giving climate bonds to the cement industry for co-generation [co-incineration] is the moral equivalent of giving awards to people who have committed a crime.” 

Enormous amounts of climate finance investments are needed to create the essential just transition as the world faces up to impacts from climate change. In fact, developed countries’ commitment to provide $100 billion a year up to 2025 to do climate reparations to those most affected but least responsible for climate change in the global south is far from being met. There is a stark need to build up climate funds and ratchet up climate action to stay below 1.5 degree Celsius global temperature rise, but it’s important to get it right. This means that we can’t keep giving money to some of the world’s most polluting industries to tinker around the edges, while the problem is at the core. 

Macerl took over his family’s farm, but began raising sheep when air pollution made growing crops impossible. (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

CBI and other climate financing institutions have a tremendous responsibility to cut through the industry greenwashing and make sure funding is going to the right place, and they are failing. If they approve this draft financing criteria for the cement industry, their reputation is on the line and they will appear to be an industry puppet instead of the independent judge that they are claiming to be. The cement industry, as one of the most polluting industries on the planet (with a long track record of human rights abuses), should not be incentivized to tinker at the margins. That’s the same as subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to make “slightly less polluting” gasoline. 

The solutions to both waste, the cement industry and climate change are right in front of us, and they are fast, cheap and affordable; switching to reusable alternatives, funding innovation in green building materials, and financing better separate collection, recycling, and composting can all have a tremendous impact on our climate. 

Big Cement likes to make it seem like their industry is as solid, inevitable, and immovable as the concrete walls that are increasingly closing in on us. But this is simply not true, and Uroš Macerl can prove it: after years of battling in the courts, national authorities ordered Lafarge to halt production in Zasavje in 2015. Since the plant’s shutdown, the spruce trees are growing again on Uroš farm. Migrating birds that hadn’t been spotted in the region in decades have since returned. 

Let’s put our money on a liveable future, not a concrete block. 

If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest GHG emitter in the world. To make matters worse, the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), an organization that recommends where money should go to fight climate change, is considering supporting burning waste in cement kilns instead of financing green building alternatives. Far from fixing the industry’s climate impact, financing cement kiln waste-burning would just replace one fossil-based fuel with another (plastic waste is made of fossil fuels), causing toxic pollution that threatens public health, human rights, and the planet. If CBI moves forward as planned, millions of dollars meant for climate mitigation will prop up one of the world’s most climate-polluting industries. A public letter signed by a community of scientists, practitioners in the field of waste management, policy-makers, and environmental NGOs demands that CBI not move forward with this disastrous plan.


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175+ Civil Society Organizations Speak Out Against CBI Climate Financing Criteria

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 25 APRIL, 2022

New York, NY, USA– Today, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) released a public letter signed by over 175 civil society organizations in 35+ countries denouncing the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) for considering the inclusion of burning of waste as “alternative fuels” in cement kilns (often called  waste co-incineration or co-processing in cement kilns) as part of its climate financing recommendations. If CBI moves forward as planned, millions of dollars meant for climate mitigation will prop up one of the world’s most climate-polluting industries. 

“Once again, the Climate Bonds Initiative has revealed itself as a polluting industry puppet rather than a reliable voice that can drive a rapid transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy. We urge the CBI to take our input into account and stop providing climate-friendly credentials to waste incineration in cement kilns, which is exactly the opposite of what climate action should look like,“ says Mariel Vilella, Director of the Global Climate Program at GAIA. In January 2020, Ms. Vilella publicly resigned from CBI’s Waste Management Technical Working Group (TWG) in protest of its refusal to exclude waste incineration from its financing criteria outside the EU. 

The letter submitted to the CBI, signed by a community of scientists, practitioners in the field of waste management, policy-makers, and environmental NGOs, presents the main reasons why climate bonds should not be given to waste incineration in cement kilns:

  • Burning waste in cement kilns creates toxic pollution and climate injustice. Cement plants do not have the means to filter volatile heavy metals or persistent organic pollutants. Frontline communities (predominantly low-income communities, communities of color, and communities in the Global South) suffer the most severe impacts of cement kiln pollution. 
  • Burning waste in cement kilns would replace one form of fossil fuel with another, therefore failing to reduce GHG emissions. The type of waste cement kilns want to burn is plastic, and plastic is made of 99% fossil fuels. 
  • Giving incentives to burn waste in cement kilns will make the world more wasteful. Providing climate bonds will legitimize the cement industry’s reliance on waste-burning as a business model, perversely creating a consistent demand for waste.

The cement industry has a notorious climate footprint– 45% of all GHG emissions from the industrial sector are from making cement. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest GHG emitter in the world. 

 To be serious about reducing the GHG footprint from the cement industry, the Climate Bonds Initiative must explore financing all available low-carbon construction alternatives for cement. 

GAIA members representing communities suffering from the impacts of the cement industry have a message for CBI: “Giving climate bonds to the cement industry for co-incineration is the moral equivalent of giving awards to people who have committed a crime,” states Ricardo Navarro of Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology, El Salvador. 

Contact

Claire Arkin, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), claire@no-burn.org 

###

As organizations addressing climate change around the world, we urge the Climate Bond Initiative to adopt a new approach to climate bonds for cement kilns. Rather than promoting waste burning and other ineffective adaptations that will fail to reduce the tremendous climate footprint of the cement industry, we ask Climate Bond Initiative to use its clout to develop standards for innovative, toxic-free, low-carbon construction materials and approaches as an alternative to cement.

Disappointingly, the Climate Bond Initiative (CBI) has proposed climate financing criteria for the cement industry that encourages municipal waste, including plastic, to be burned in cement kilns as an alternative fuel. However, a substitution of fuels will not solve the threat that the cement industry poses: at least half of the cement industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are released from limestone as it is heated to form the glue that holds concrete together.[1] Tinkering around the edges, like burning municipal waste as fuel, will simply not achieve the GHG reductions needed for this sector.

The climate impacts from cement production are staggering: 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide is from cement production.[2] As described in the new IPCC report, “Cement and concrete are currently overused because they are inexpensive, durable, and ubiquitous, and consumption decisions typically do not give weight to their production emissions.”[3] At the same time, the new IPCC report has given dire warnings that “the human toll of climate change is unequivocal and growing”. To be serious about reducing the greenhouse gas footprint from the cement industry, we must urgently explore all available low-carbon construction alternatives for cement. Otherwise, cement will continue to be one of the largest industrial greenhouse gas contributors.

However, the approach of certifying waste burning (especially plastic waste) in cement kilns will only deviate the building sector from the critical transformation to low-carbon building material:

  • Widespread burning of waste in cement kilns would replace one form of fossil fuel with another. Plastic is a key component of the waste stream that the cement industry seeks to burn, and 99% of plastic is made from fossil fuels. The carbon footprint of plastic from extraction, production, and burning of plastic waste is essential to consider: “By 2050, the greenhouse gas emissions from plastic could reach over 56 gigatons—10-13 percent of the entire remaining carbon budget.”[4] Furthermore, just as coal which has to be mined and transported to the kiln, the energy used to produce and process waste is tremendous.
  • Widespread burning of waste in cement kilns would create a “lock-in effect” for waste generation itself, thus affecting global waste reduction targets and deep decarbonization targets. The cement industry’s reliance on waste-burning as a business model will create a consistent demand for waste and therefore lock in a wasteful economy (and the climate footprint that comes with it. Widespread use of waste to fire cement kilns would perpetuate plastic production and resulting climate pollution. Furthermore, sourcing waste is an unfair business model for governments. While the economics vary, governments would likely need to provide subsidies or payments for producing or using waste-derived fuels.
  • Burning waste creates toxic pollution with the most severe impacts to the public health and environment of vulnerable communities, in a clear exacerbation of climate injustice. From communities in Cameroon,[5] India,[6] Brazil,[7] Slovenia,[8] and Mexico,[9] to Australian plastic waste exports bound for burning in Indonesia,[10] communities around the world have documented extensive pollution threats from waste burning in cement kilns. Cement plants do not have the means to filter volatile heavy metals (mercury, thallium, cadmium, etc.) present in waste, nor persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins and furans (PCDD/PCDF), which are toxic and persistent in the environment, traveling long distances and accumulating in the food chain.

It is for all these reasons that we urge the Climate Bond Initiative to adopt a new approach to the cement industry. Wholesale movement into low carbon building materials is a crucial path to ending the cement industry’s disastrous climate-forcing carbon footprint.

Signed:

Organizations:

12 Pueblos Originarios de Tecámac 

350 Pilipinas

Abibinsroma Foundation

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia

All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM)

All Our Energy

Alliance for Zero Waste Indonesia

Amigos de la Tierra

Animals Are Sentient Beings Inc

Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance (APPA)

ASD-Bangladesh

Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l’Environnement (ANSEN)

Bali Waste Platform

Ban SUP

BAN Toxics

Barranquilla+20

Bay Area – System Change not Climate Change

Beyond Extreme Energy

Beyond Plastics

Bio Vision Africa (BiVA)

BIOS

Blue Dalian

Bye Bye Plastic Bags

Californians Against Waste

CAMINANDO POR LA JUSTICIA ATITALAQUÍA

Caminando por la justicia Atitalaquia 

Carbon Market Watch

Censat Agua Viva – Amigos de la Tierra Colombia

Centre de Recherche et d’Education pour le Développement

Changing Markets Foundation

Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG)

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition

Clean Air Action Network of Glens Falls

Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena-Coeymans

CleanAirNow

Climate Action for Lifelong Learners (CALL)

Colectivo Ecologista Jalisco, A.C.

Colectivo Región Tolteca

Colectivo VientoSur

Colectivo Voces Ecológicas COVEC

COMITE PRO UNO

Consumers’ Association of Penang

CUMA MEXICO 

Deer Park Institute

Dibeen for Environmental Development

Dovesdale Action Group

Downwinders at Risk

Earth Ethics, Inc

Eco Sitio

Ecology Center

ECORE

ECOTON

Ecowaste Coalition of the Philippines

Eko krog

Ekologi brez meja

Environics Trust

Environment and Social Development Organization

Environmental Defence Canada

Environmental Education Center (PPLH Bali)

Environmental Protection Society Malaysia

Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area

Florida Rising

Food Empowerment Project

Frente de Comunidades Unidas de Tizayuca 

FreshWater Accountability Project

Friends of the Earth U.S.

Friends Of The Earth Slovakia

fundacion Aguaclara

Fundación Apaztle

Fundación El Árbol

fundación Lenga

Fundación para la defensa del ambiente (FUNAM)

GAIA/BFFP

Gallifrey Foundation

Gita Pertiwi

Grassroots Environmental Education

GREEN AFRICA YOUTH ORGANIZATION

Green Knowledge Foundation

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

Greenpeace USA

GreenRoots, Inc

Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart

Grupo Atotonilli

Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia

Health Environment and Climate Action Foundation (HECAF360)

HECAF 360

Humusz Szövetség

Indonesian Center for Environmental Law

Inland Ocean Coalition

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Instituto ATEMIS Brasil

Instituto Pólis 

International Rivers

Kagad Kach Parta Kashtakari Panchayat

Khanchendzonga Conservation Committee KCC

Korea Zero Waste Movement Network

KRuHA – people’s coalition for the right to water

LIDECS

Living Laudato Si’ Philippines

Locust Point Community Garden

Long Island Progressive Coalition

M H K Electrical

Mcag

Methane Action

Midlothian Breathe

Montana Environmental Information Center

Mother Earth Foundation Philippines

MoveOn.org Hoboken

Nagrik Chetna Manch

Nexus3 Foundation

NGO Forum on ADB

Noarc21

North american Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE)

North Range Concerned Citizens

Núcleo Alter-Nativas de Produção da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum

Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE)

Pelican foundation

Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plataforma antiincineracion de Montcada I Reixac 

Pragya Seeds Nepal

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

PROSALUD APAXCO

RAPAL Uruguay

Red de Acción por los Derechos Ambientales RADA

Red Regional de Sistemas Comunitarios y Comités por la Defensa del Agua ( la Escuelita del Agua) .

Réseau Action Climat

Revista Brújula MX

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia)

Sahabat Laut (Friends of the Sea)

Sistema de Agua Potable de Tecámac Estado de México, AC?

Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York

Society for Wetland Biodiversity Conservation Nepal

Solar Wind Works

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

Stree Mukti Sanghatana

Sunflower Alliance

Surfrider Foundation

Sustainable Environment Development Initiative

Sustainable Thornton Heath

SWaCH

Taller Ecologista

Terra Advocati

The Corner House

The Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement – Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik

The Last Beach Cleanup

The Last Plastic Straw

The People’s Justice Council

Trash Hero Indonesia

Turtle Island Restoration Network

United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN)

Valley Watch, Inc.

VšĮ “Žiedinė ekonomika”

Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) / Friends of the Earth Indonesia

WALHI Jawa Barat

WALHI North Sumatra

Waterway Advocates

West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs

Westchester Allliance for Sustainable Solutions

Woman And Child Development Organization (APARAJITA)

WomanHealth Philippines

Work on Waste USA (AEHSP)

Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB)

Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria

ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável

Zero Waste Association of South Africa

Zero Waste Europe

Zero Waste France

Zero Waste Ithaca

Zero Waste Latvija

Zero Waste Montenegro

Zero Waste North West

Zero Waste USA

Zero Waste Washington

Individuals:

Alida Naufalia, YPBB

Ann Fahey

Babet de Groot, University of Sydney

Carole Shorney

Chitra Agarwal

Christine Primomo, Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena Coeymans

Claudia Marquez

Colin Vettier

Consuelo Infante

Desmond Alugnoa, Green Africa Youth Organization

Dr. Katie Conlon

Edward Swayze, TC Democratic Committee, Zero Waste Ithaca

Héctor Cordero

Ian Morris, Sustainable Thornton Heath

Jane Leggett, Stop the Edmonton Incinerator

Jean Ross, Vote Climate

John alder, build back better

Jorge Daniel Hernandez

José Arquimidez Aguilar Rodríguez

Karl Held, The Climate Mobilization, Montgomery County MD Chapter

Laura Haider, Fresnans Against Fracking

Lauriane Veillard, Zero Waste Europe

Lisa Ross, Zero Waste Columbia

Louise Krzan

Maeve Tomlinson

Maeve Tomlinson

Mai The Toan, Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment

Marco Ramirez navarro

María Merced  González

Marie Hallwirth, Zero Waste Austria

Maritza mendoza, GreenLatinos

Mark Webb

Martin Franklin

Melly Amalia, Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB)

Moniva Rosas

Navin Rao, Birla Institute of Management Technology

Parus Shah

Patrice Gallagher, Frederick Zero Waste Alliance

Paty Gonzalez

Prashant Vaze , Senior Fellow of Climate Bonds Initiative

Prerana Dangol, HECAF 360

Pushpan Murugiah

René Romero

Riikka Yliluoma, Climate Strategies Lab

Rosi Martínez

Sangeetha Pradeep, Thanal

Sher Zaman, Democratic Commission for Human Development

Shrawasti Karmacharya, HECAF360

Shyamala Mani, Public Health Foundation of India and National Institute of Urba

Sikshu Dewan Sikshu ESPAY

Sister Joan Agro, Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York

Sophia Mahoney-Rohrl, Sunrise Bay Area

Souleymane OUATTARA, Climate Action Network West and Central Africa

STEPHANIE SUSSMAN, Zero Waste Columbia

Susan Park, University of Sydney

Suzannah Glidden, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)

Sydney Charles

Xuan Quach, Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance

~ENDNOTES~
[1] NRDC (2022), Cut Carbon and Toxic Pollution, Make Cement Clean and Green, https://www.nrdc.org/experts/sasha-stashwick/cut-carbon-and-toxic-pollution-make-cement-clean-and-green
[2] BBC (2018), Climate change: The massive CO2 emitter you may not know about, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46455844
[3] IPCC (2022), Sixth Assessment Report, Chapter 11 – Industry, p 7, https://report.ipcc.ch/ar6wg3/pdf/IPCC_AR6_WGIII_FinalDraft_Chapter11.pdf
[4] CIEL (2019), Plastic and Climate, p 1, www.ciel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Plastic-and-Climate-Executive-Summary-2019.pdf
[5] Greenpeace Switzerland (2010), HolcimReport: A scandal research, https://www.greenpeace.ch/static/planet4-switzerland-stateless/2020/11/306f5644-lafargeholcimreport-gp_execsummaryen_greenpeace_4nov2020.pdf
[6] Greenpeace Switzerland (2010)
[7] Greenpeace Switzerland (2010)
[8] Goldman Prize (2017), 2017 Goldman Prize Winner Uroš Macerl, www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/uros-macerl/
[9] Zero Waste Europe (2017), In Mexico: time to end ‘sacrifice zones,’ zerowasteeurope.eu/2017/12/in-mexico-time-to-end-sacrifice-zones/
[10] Nexus3 and IPEN (2022), Refuse-Derived Fuel In Indonesia, ipen.org/documents/refuse-derived-fuel-indonesia

Como organizaciones que se ocupan del cambio climático en todo el mundo, exhortamos a la Iniciativa de Bonos Climáticos a adoptar un nuevo enfoque para los bonos climáticos de los hornos de cemento. En lugar de promover la quema de residuos y otras adaptaciones ineficaces que no lograrán reducir la tremenda huella climática de la industria del cemento, pedimos a la Iniciativa de Bonos Climáticos que utilice su influencia para desarrollar normas para materiales y enfoques de construcción innovadores, libres de tóxicos y bajos en carbono, como alternativa al cemento.

Por desgracia, la Iniciativa de Bonos Climáticos (CBI) ha propuesto criterios financieros climáticos para la industria del cemento que fomentan la quema de residuos municipales, incluido el plástico, en los hornos de cemento como combustible alternativo. Sin embargo, una sustitución de combustibles no resolverá la amenaza que representa la industria del cemento: al menos la mitad de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero de la industria del cemento proceden de la piedra caliza cuando se calienta para formar el pegamento que mantiene unido el hormigón. La quema de residuos municipales como combustible, simplemente no logrará las reducciones de GEI necesarias para este sector. 

El impacto climático de la producción de cemento es asombroso: El 8% del dióxido de carbono del mundo procede de la producción de cemento. Como se describe en el nuevo informe del IPCC, “el cemento y el hormigón se utilizan actualmente en exceso porque son baratos, duraderos y omnipresentes, y las decisiones sobre su consumo no suelen tener en cuenta sus emisiones de producción.” Al mismo tiempo, el nuevo informe del IPCC ha advertido de forma funesta que “el coste humano del cambio climático es inequívoco y creciente”. Si nos tomamos en serio la reducción de la huella de gases de efecto invernadero de la industria del cemento, debemos explorar urgentemente todas las alternativas de construcción con bajas emisiones de carbono disponibles para el cemento.  De lo contrario, el cemento seguirá siendo uno de los mayores contribuyentes industriales de gases de efecto invernadero. 

El planteamiento de certificar la quema de residuos (especialmente los residuos plásticos) en los hornos de cemento sólo desviará al sector de la construcción de la transformación crítica hacia un material de construcción bajo en carbono:

  1. La quema generalizada de residuos en los hornos de cemento reemplazaría una forma de combustible fósil por otra. El plástico es un componente clave del flujo de residuos que la industria del cemento pretende quemar, y el 99% del plástico se fabrica con combustibles fósiles. Es esencial tener en cuenta la huella de carbono del plástico procedente de su extracción, producción y quema: “Para 2050, las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero procedentes del plástico podrían alcanzar más de 56 gigatoneladas — 10-13% de todo el presupuesto de carbono restante.” Además, al igual que el carbón que hay que extraer y transportar al horno, la energía utilizada para producir y procesar los residuos es tremenda. 
  2. La quema generalizada de residuos en los hornos de cemento crearía un “efecto de bloqueo” para la generación de residuos en sí misma, afectando así a los objetivos globales de reducción de residuos y a los objetivos de descarbonización profunda. La dependencia de la industria del cemento en la quema de residuos como modelo de negocio creará una demanda constante de residuos y, por lo tanto, fijará una economía derrochadora (y la huella climática que conlleva). El uso generalizado de residuos para alimentar los hornos de cemento perpetuaría la producción de plástico y la consiguiente contaminación climática. Además, el abastecimiento de residuos es un modelo de negocio injusto para los gobiernos. Aunque los aspectos económicos varían, es probable que los gobiernos tengan que conceder subvenciones o pagos por producir o utilizar combustibles derivados de residuos.
  3. La quema de residuos genera una contaminación tóxica con graves impactos para la salud pública y el medio ambiente de las comunidades más vulnerables, en un claro agravamiento de la injusticia climática. Desde las comunidades de Camerún,  India, Brasil,  Eslovenia, y México, hasta las exportaciones de residuos plásticos australianos destinados a la quema en Indonesia,  las comunidades de todo el mundo han documentado amplias amenazas de contaminación por la quema de residuos en los hornos de cemento. Las fábricas de cemento no disponen de medios para filtrar los metales pesados volátiles (mercurio, talio, cadmio, etc.) presentes en los residuos, ni los contaminantes orgánicos persistentes (COP) como las dioxinas y los furanos (PCDD/PCDF), que son tóxicos y persistentes en el medio ambiente, recorriendo largas distancias y acumulándose en la cadena alimentaria.

Por todas estas razones, exhortamos a la Iniciativa del Bono Climático a adoptar un nuevo enfoque para la industria del cemento.  El cambio masivo hacia materiales de construcción con bajas emisiones de carbono es un camino crucial para acabar con la desastrosa huella de carbono de la industria del cemento.

Signed:

Organizations:

12 Pueblos Originarios de Tecámac 

350 Pilipinas

Abibinsroma Foundation

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia

All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM)

All Our Energy

Alliance for Zero Waste Indonesia

Amigos de la Tierra

Animals Are Sentient Beings Inc

Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance (APPA)

ASD-Bangladesh

Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l’Environnement (ANSEN)

Bali Waste Platform

Ban SUP

BAN Toxics

Barranquilla+20

Bay Area – System Change not Climate Change

Beyond Extreme Energy

Beyond Plastics

Bio Vision Africa (BiVA)

BIOS

Blue Dalian

Bye Bye Plastic Bags

Californians Against Waste

CAMINANDO POR LA JUSTICIA ATITALAQUÍA

Caminando por la justicia Atitalaquia 

Carbon Market Watch

Censat Agua Viva – Amigos de la Tierra Colombia

Centre de Recherche et d’Education pour le Développement

Changing Markets Foundation

Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG)

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition

Clean Air Action Network of Glens Falls

Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena-Coeymans

CleanAirNow

Climate Action for Lifelong Learners (CALL)

Colectivo Ecologista Jalisco, A.C.

Colectivo Región Tolteca

Colectivo VientoSur

Colectivo Voces Ecológicas COVEC

COMITE PRO UNO

Consumers’ Association of Penang

CUMA MEXICO 

Deer Park Institute

Dibeen for Environmental Development

Dovesdale Action Group

Downwinders at Risk

Earth Ethics, Inc

Eco Sitio

Ecology Center

ECORE

ECOTON

Ecowaste Coalition of the Philippines

Eko krog

Ekologi brez meja

Environics Trust

Environment and Social Development Organization

Environmental Defence Canada

Environmental Education Center (PPLH Bali)

Environmental Protection Society Malaysia

Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area

Florida Rising

Food Empowerment Project

Frente de Comunidades Unidas de Tizayuca 

FreshWater Accountability Project

Friends of the Earth U.S.

Friends Of The Earth Slovakia

fundacion Aguaclara

Fundación Apaztle

Fundación El Árbol

fundación Lenga

Fundación para la defensa del ambiente (FUNAM)

GAIA/BFFP

Gallifrey Foundation

Gita Pertiwi

Grassroots Environmental Education

GREEN AFRICA YOUTH ORGANIZATION

Green Knowledge Foundation

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

Greenpeace USA

GreenRoots, Inc

Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart

Grupo Atotonilli

Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia

Health Environment and Climate Action Foundation (HECAF360)

HECAF 360

Humusz Szövetség

Indonesian Center for Environmental Law

Inland Ocean Coalition

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Instituto ATEMIS Brasil

Instituto Pólis 

International Rivers

Kagad Kach Parta Kashtakari Panchayat

Khanchendzonga Conservation Committee KCC

Korea Zero Waste Movement Network

KRuHA – people’s coalition for the right to water

LIDECS

Living Laudato Si’ Philippines

Locust Point Community Garden

Long Island Progressive Coalition

M H K Electrical

Mcag

Methane Action

Midlothian Breathe

Montana Environmental Information Center

Mother Earth Foundation Philippines

MoveOn.org Hoboken

Nagrik Chetna Manch

Nexus3 Foundation

NGO Forum on ADB

Noarc21

North american Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE)

North Range Concerned Citizens

Núcleo Alter-Nativas de Produção da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum

Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE)

Pelican foundation

Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plataforma antiincineracion de Montcada I Reixac 

Pragya Seeds Nepal

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

PROSALUD APAXCO

RAPAL Uruguay

Red de Acción por los Derechos Ambientales RADA

Red Regional de Sistemas Comunitarios y Comités por la Defensa del Agua ( la Escuelita del Agua) .

Réseau Action Climat

Revista Brújula MX

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia)

Sahabat Laut (Friends of the Sea)

Sistema de Agua Potable de Tecámac Estado de México, AC?

Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York

Society for Wetland Biodiversity Conservation Nepal

Solar Wind Works

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

Stree Mukti Sanghatana

Sunflower Alliance

Sustainable Environment Development Initiative

Sustainable Thornton Heath

SWaCH

Taller Ecologista

Terra Advocati

The Corner House

The Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement – Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik

The Last Beach Cleanup

The Last Plastic Straw

The People’s Justice Council

Trash Hero Indonesia

Turtle Island Restoration Network

United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN)

Valley Watch, Inc.

VšĮ “Žiedinė ekonomika”

Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) / Friends of the Earth Indonesia

WALHI Jawa Barat

WALHI North Sumatra

Waterway Advocates

West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs

Westchester Allliance for Sustainable Solutions

Woman And Child Development Organization (APARAJITA)

WomanHealth Philippines

Work on Waste USA (AEHSP)

Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB)

Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria

ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável

Zero Waste Association of South Africa

Zero Waste Europe

Zero Waste France

Zero Waste Ithaca

Zero Waste Latvija

Zero Waste Montenegro

Zero Waste North West

Zero Waste USA

Zero Waste Washington

Individuals:

Alida Naufalia, YPBB

Ann Fahey

Babet de Groot, University of Sydney

Carole Shorney

Chitra Agarwal

Christine Primomo, Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena Coeymans

Claudia Marquez

Colin Vettier

Consuelo Infante

Desmond Alugnoa, Green Africa Youth Organization

Dr. Katie Conlon

Edward Swayze, TC Democratic Committee, Zero Waste Ithaca

Héctor Cordero

Ian Morris, Sustainable Thornton Heath

Jane Leggett, Stop the Edmonton Incinerator

Jean Ross, Vote Climate

John alder, build back better

Jorge Daniel Hernandez

José Arquimidez Aguilar Rodríguez

Karl Held, The Climate Mobilization, Montgomery County MD Chapter

Laura Haider, Fresnans Against Fracking

Lauriane Veillard, Zero Waste Europe

Lisa Ross, Zero Waste Columbia

Louise Krzan

Maeve Tomlinson

Maeve Tomlinson

Mai The Toan, Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment

Marco Ramirez navarro

María Merced  González

Marie Hallwirth, Zero Waste Austria

Maritza mendoza, GreenLatinos

Mark Webb

Martin Franklin

Melly Amalia, Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB)

Moniva Rosas

Navin Rao, Birla Institute of Management Technology

Parus Shah

Patrice Gallagher, Frederick Zero Waste Alliance

Paty Gonzalez

Prashant Vaze , Senior Fellow of Climate Bonds Initiative

Prerana Dangol, HECAF 360

Pushpan Murugiah

René Romero

Riikka Yliluoma, Climate Strategies Lab

Rosi Martínez

Sangeetha Pradeep, Thanal

Sher Zaman, Democratic Commission for Human Development

Shrawasti Karmacharya, HECAF360

Shyamala Mani, Public Health Foundation of India and National Institute of Urba

Sikshu Dewan Sikshu ESPAY

Sister Joan Agro, Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York

Sophia Mahoney-Rohrl, Sunrise Bay Area

Souleymane OUATTARA, Climate Action Network West and Central Africa

STEPHANIE SUSSMAN, Zero Waste Columbia

Susan Park, University of Sydney

Suzannah Glidden, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)

Sydney Charles

Xuan Quach, Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance

~ENDNOTES~
[1] NRDC (2022), Cut Carbon and Toxic Pollution, Make Cement Clean and Green, https://www.nrdc.org/experts/sasha-stashwick/cut-carbon-and-toxic-pollution-make-cement-clean-and-green
[2] BBC (2018), Climate change: The massive CO2 emitter you may not know about, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46455844
[3] IPCC (2022), Sixth Assessment Report, Chapter 11 – Industry, p 7, https://report.ipcc.ch/ar6wg3/pdf/IPCC_AR6_WGIII_FinalDraft_Chapter11.pdf
[4] CIEL (2019), Plastic and Climate, p 1, www.ciel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Plastic-and-Climate-Executive-Summary-2019.pdf
[5] Greenpeace Switzerland (2010), HolcimReport: A scandal research, https://www.greenpeace.ch/static/planet4-switzerland-stateless/2020/11/306f5644-lafargeholcimreport-gp_execsummaryen_greenpeace_4nov2020.pdf
[6] Greenpeace Switzerland (2010)
[7] Greenpeace Switzerland (2010)
[8] Goldman Prize (2017), 2017 Goldman Prize Winner Uroš Macerl, www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/uros-macerl/
[9] Zero Waste Europe (2017), In Mexico: time to end ‘sacrifice zones,’ zerowasteeurope.eu/2017/12/in-mexico-time-to-end-sacrifice-zones/
[10] Nexus3 and IPEN (2022), Refuse-Derived Fuel In Indonesia, ipen.org/documents/refuse-derived-fuel-indonesia

Para su publicación inmediata: 25 de abril, 2022.

Más de 175 organizaciones de la sociedad civil se manifiestan contra los criterios de financiamiento de la Iniciativa de Bonos Climáticos (CBI).

Hoy, la Alianza Global por Alternativas a la Incineración (GAIA)  publicó una carta abierta firmada por más de 175 organizaciones de la sociedad civil de más de 35 países en la que denuncian a la Iniciativa de Bonos Climáticos (CBI) por considerar la inclusión de la incineración de residuos como “combustibles alternativos” en los hornos de cemento (a menudo llamada coincineración de residuos o coprocesamiento en hornos de cemento) como parte de sus recomendaciones de financiación climática. Si la CBI sigue adelante como está previsto, millones de dólares destinados a la mitigación del cambio climático apoyarán una de las industrias más contaminantes del mundo. Más de 175

“Dar bonos climáticos a la industria del cemento para la cogeneración [coincineración] es el equivalente moral de dar premios a personas que han cometido un delito”, afirma Ricardo Navarro, del Centro Salvadoreño de Tecnología Apropiada, de El Salvador.

“Una vez más, la Iniciativa de Bonos Climáticos se ha revelado como una marioneta de la industria contaminante en lugar de una voz confiable que pueda impulsar una rápida transición hacia una economía baja en carbono y resiliente al cambio climático. Instamos a la CBI a que tenga en cuenta nuestros aportes y deje de considerar la incineración de residuos en hornos de cemento como amigable con el medio ambiente, ya que es exactamente lo contrario de lo que debería ser la acción climática”, afirma Mariel Vilella, Directora del Programa Climático Global de GAIA. En enero de 2020, Vilella dimitió públicamente del Grupo de Trabajo Técnico de Gestión de Residuos (GTT) de la CBI en protesta por su negativa a excluir la incineración de residuos de sus criterios de financiamiento fuera de la UE.

La carta presentada a la CBI, firmada por una comunidad de científicos, profesionales del ámbito de la gestión de residuos, legisladores y ONG medioambientales, presenta las principales razones por las que no deben concederse bonos climáticos a la incineración de residuos en hornos de cemento:

  • La incineración de residuos en hornos de cemento genera contaminación tóxica e injusticia climática. Las plantas de cemento no tienen medios para filtrar los metales pesados volátiles ni los contaminantes orgánicos persistentes. Las comunidades de primera línea (predominantemente comunidades de bajos ingresos, comunidades de color y comunidades del Sur Global) sufren los impactos más graves de la contaminación de los hornos de cemento. 
  • La incineración de residuos en hornos de cemento sustituiría una forma de combustible fósil por otra, por lo que no se reducirían las emisiones de GEI. El tipo de residuo que los hornos de cemento quieren incinerar es el plástico, y el plástico está hecho en un 99% de combustibles fósiles.
  • Dar incentivos a la incineración de residuos en hornos de cemento hará que el mundo use más recursos. Proporcionar bonos climáticos legitimará la dependencia de la industria del cemento de la incineración de residuos como modelo de negocio, creando perversamente una demanda constante de residuos.

La industria del cemento tiene una importante huella climática: el 45% de todas las emisiones de GEI del sector industrial proceden de la fabricación de cemento. Si la industria del cemento fuera un país, sería el tercer mayor emisor de GEI del mundo.

Para tomarse en serio la reducción de la huella de gases de efecto invernadero de la industria del cemento, la Iniciativa de Bonos Climáticos debe explorar el financiamiento de todas las alternativas de construcción con bajas emisiones de carbono disponibles para el cemento.

Los miembros de GAIA que representan a las comunidades que sufren los impactos de la industria del cemento tienen un mensaje para CBI:

“El coprocesamiento de residuos en hornos de cemento permite a los contaminadores continuar con sus operaciones altamente intensivas y derrochadoras a expensas del clima y la salud pública”, afirma Aileen Lucero, Coordinadora Nacional de la Coalición EcoWaste, Filipinas. 

Tal como se está haciendo una transición a energías renovables para detener las emisiones perjudiciales para el clima del sector eléctrico, tenemos que hacer una transición hacia materiales de construcción sin cemento”, afirma Jane Williams, Directora Ejecutiva de California Communities Against Toxics.   

Contactos de prensa

  • Camila Aguilera, Comunicaciones GAIA América Latina y el Caribe camila@no-burn.org 
  • Claire Arkin, Global Communications Lead, GAIA claire@no-burn.org 

###

GAIA es una alianza mundial de más de 800 grupos de base, organizaciones no gubernamentales e individuos en más de 90 países. La organización trabaja para catalizar un cambio global hacia la justicia medioambiental mediante el fortalecimiento de los movimientos sociales de base que promueven soluciones a los residuos y la contaminación.

Amid the industry hype for plastic-to-fuel schemes, this advocacy brief highlights the climate, environmental, and health risks from these processes that outweigh any supposed benefits.

 

GAIA US Canada’s Community Tools for Anti-Incineration Organizing resource is designed to support community organizers and advocates in both new and existing incineration campaigns. The toolkit is informed by the experiences of GAIA members around the world who have mobilized their own communities and allies to fight for a world without waste-burning. 

 

It includes detailed information on: 

  • The history of incineration and its ongoing environmental, health, and safety impacts
  • How to find out crucial information about your incinerator, including how it works and who controls its continued operation 
  • Strategies and timelines for organizing your community to shut down your incinerator and guide a just transition for workers and residents
  • Case studies of two communities fighting incineration and landfilling, which can provide blueprints for your own campaign