Archive for January, 2010

Jan 29 2010

No Joint Assessment Needed in Reykjanes


Power LinesIn September 2009, the Ministry of Environment overruled the Planning Agency’s verdic which stated that no joint Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is needed for the S-West Power Grid and the industry that it’s going to be providing for. The case was sent back to the Planning Agency for a more substansial treatment.

This ruling caused uproar amongst pro-indistrialists, who went so far as to claiming that Svandís Svavarsdóttir, the minister of environment, was guilty of both treason and terrorism against the people og Reykjanes, especially all the unemployed. All the medias jumped on the wagon with the industrialists, citing union bosses worrying about the unemployment rate, economists painting a bleak picture of a bankrupt future and interviews with unemplyed people worrying about their mortages. And all of it was Svandís’s fault.

Yesterday the Ministry of Environment confirmed the Planning Agency’s second verdict. The verdict’s the same, no joint EIA is needed for the projects on the SW peninsular. This means that all the balls are in the industrialists court now and the media is backing them up with quotes and interviews with indistrial workers and union bosses dreaming of a better future now that the way has been paved for projects like the enlargement of the Reykjanes Power Plant, Bitra Power Plant, Hverahlíða Power Plant, various data storages and an aluminium smelter and a silicon factory in Helguvík.

Read More

Jan 28 2010

Friðrik Sophusson Still at Large


The professional environmental saboteur, Friðrik Sophusson, former president of Landsvirkjun (Icelandic National Energy Company) and before that the financial minister under the Independent Party’s reign of terror, has now become head of the board of directors of Íslandsbanki, one of the government owned banks since the collapse of the bank system in 2008. The bank is now mostly in the hands of it’s creditors and the board of directors, which has been expanded to 7 members, are now mostly foreign experts in the financial sector.

Íslandsbanki also owns majority in the geothermal energy company Geysir Green Energy and controls all of it’s board members. Geysir Green Energy, in return, owns a majority stake in HS Orka (Southern Peninsula Geothermal Energy Company), or 57,4% stock after acquiring 34% stock from the municipality of Reykjanes Town and selling 8,6% to the Canadian Magma Energy Corp.

So Sophussons years in meddling with Icelands resources and energy companies are obviously far from over, and now he’s got his dirty fingers down in the money jar as well, where he can apply the needed pressure on these companies, owned by his bank, to further his dream of a totally harnessed Iceland.

Jan 28 2010

Greenwashing Hydropower


by Aviva Imhof & Guy R. Lanza

DamBig dams have a serious record of social and environmental destruction, and there are many alternatives. So why are they still being built?

On a hot May day, a peasant farmer named Bounsouk looks out across the vast expanse of water before him, the 450-square-kilometer reservoir behind the new Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos. At the bottom of the reservoir is the land where he once lived, grew rice, grazed buffalo, and collected forest fruits, berries, and medicinal plants and spices. Now there is just water, water everywhere.

Read More

Jan 15 2010

Green is the New Spectacle


By Jason Slade
Originally published in the Nor easter

The Spectacle

Environmental issues can oftentimes be very complex. Some issues directly relate to climate change, and some do not. However, it is very important to connect the dots between issues because almost all environmental problems are caused, at their base, by capitalist expansion, commodification and privatization. Corporations have used the climate crisis and growing public concern about environmental issues to their advantage. They have learned to use the rhetoric of environmentalism to justify extremely oppressive projects whose sole purpose is to increase their power and to continue the cycle of production and consumption. Incredibly destructive projects, such as hydrofracture natural gas extraction in Upstate New York, are marketed as clean. This absurd spectacle must be stopped.

In Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, he writes, “The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification … The spectacle grasped in its totality is both the result and the project of the existing mode of production. It is not a supplement to the real world, an additional decoration. It is the heart of the unrealism of the real society. In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life … It is the sun which never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the world and bathes endlessly in its own glory.” And now the light of that sun is green. The green spectacle is confronting the climate crisis with hollow solutions presented to us in a pleasant, prefabricated package that can be bought if we can afford them and allow us to pollute in good conscience. In an absurd twist, these corporate false solutions cause the poor, and those who resist these schemes, to be blamed for destroying the planet. “It is not the oil companies who are to blame for climate change, but the poor who do not buy carbon offsets when they travel.” Thus, the climate crisis becomes another way to make money and increase corporate power. Read More