'Greenwash' Tag Archive

Aug 19 2007
1 Comment

The Myth of an Aluminium Plant at Húsavík


Hrafnabjargafoss

Is the Energy on the Doorstep?

By Dr. Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttur

Many things have been said and written about plans for ALCOA´s aluminium plant at Bakki near Húsavík. One after another, important men have praised the idea and by now the only political parties not supporting it are the Iceland Movement and the Left Green party.
The propaganda of the supporters follows these lines: “utilise the national energy potential,” “the people of Húsavík have a right to an aluminium plant,” “the plant will only use energy drawn from the land nearby Húsavík, “damming of Skjálfandafljót and Jökulsá á Fjöllum is nothing but environmental propaganda”, “Geothermal energy has a low environmental impact”, “preparation work has been exceptionally well done.”
But how much truth do those slogans contain? Is there something more that needs to be looked into? Are the people of Húsavík, politicians included pushing the issues forward without really having looked at all the facts? Read More

Aug 18 2007
4 Comments

Hydropower Disaster for Global Warming by Jaap Krater, Trouw daily


Trouw (daily), Netherlands, 21 January 2007

Large dams have dramatic consequences. Ecosystems are destroyed and numerous people are made homeless, often without adequate resettlement. But it is yet little known that large-scale hydro-electricity is a major contributor to global warming. The reservoirs could, despite their clean image, be even more devastating for our climate than fossil fuel plants.

 

narmada mapA few years ago, I spent a month in the valley of the Narmada River, to support tribal activists who have been resisting the Sardar Sarovar dam in central India for decades. These indigenous inhabitants, or adivasis, are desperate. In their struggle, inspired by Gandhi, they attempt to drown themselves when their villages are flooded. Death seems preferable to being forced to move from their valley to tin houses on infertile, barren soil. If they’re lucky, they can live on land that nobody else wants, the only available in the densely populated India. This forced resettlement, made necessary by ´progress´, is not unsimilar to what befell American Indians or the Aborigines in Australia. The consequences of mega hydro: cultures die and alcoholism, depression and violence remains. Read More

Aug 17 2007
2 Comments

Plans for oil refinery in Westfjords


ArnarfjörðurThe local council in the westfjords yesterday gave their permission to build an oil refinery in the area, to “save the community from disintegrating since people are moving away.” They hope that a factory like this would interest young people in moving back to the area.
The likeliest place for the refinery would be Arnarfjordur, a place of tremendous beauty as most places in the westfjords are.
Scientists have pointed out that oceanic iceblocks may make the sailing route to the area unsafe for bigger ships. Also, a refinery of this size would pump one million tons of C02 into the atmosphere per year, which more than exhausts Iceland´s quota according to the Kyoto agreement.
Read More

Aug 13 2007

Voice of the Wilderness – The Saving Iceland Magazine


The first issue of Saving Iceland’s magazine Voice of the Wilderness (download pdf) introduces all the key issues and speakers at the Saving Iceland 2007 Conference.

Aug 10 2007
1 Comment

A letter to ALCOA from Dr. Ragnhildur Sigurdardóttir and Gudmundur Páll Ólafsson


“The hurt many of us feel towards the developments in eastern Iceland is so great that we will never accept another aluminum smelter to be built in Iceland. We would not be surprised if the environmental NGO’s and grass root organizations would consider the proposed developments in Northern Iceland to be a serious provocation on the behalf of Alcoa.”
Read More

Aug 06 2007

Beseiged by Illness Jarloop Residents Sue ALCOA


The Sidney Morning Herald
August 6, 2007

US environmental campaigner Erin Brockovich has joined West Australian residents to examine the merits of a court case against mining giant Alcoa.

About 160 Yarloop residents have complained of respiratory problems, skin irritation, sore throats and eyes, extreme fatigue, mental dysfunction, stomach upset, blood noses, cancers and organ failure in the last 11 years.

They claim emissions from Alcoa’s Wagerup refinery are causing the ill effects. Read More

Aug 03 2007

Geysir Green Energy Acquires Shares in WGP


Iceland Review
31 July 2007

Icelandic investment company Geysir Green Energy has acquired one fifth of the shares in the Canadian geothermal company Western GeoPower Corporation. Geysir Green Energy, which specializes in investments in the geothermal energy sector, paid ISK 600 million (USD 9.79 million) for the 40 million shares it bought.

Ásgeir Margeirsson, CEO of Geysir Green Energy, will become a member of the board of WGP. In an interview with Fréttabladid daily, he declared that the acquisition was a part of Geysir’s strategy to become an influential player in the American energy sector. WGP is constructing a geothermal plant in Sonoma County in California. The capital that Geysir has provided will be used to complete the construction.

Geysir Green Energy is owned by FL Group, Glitnir Bank and VGK-Hönnun. It is the biggest shareholder in the energy company Enex which has also undertaken projects in the US. “Therefore, we have a twofold connection to the US energy market,” says Margeirsson.

Jul 18 2007

Saving Iceland Blockade Century and ELKEM Factories


Century smelterPress Release

GRUNDARTANGI – Saving Iceland has this afternoon closed the single supply road from Highway 1 to the Century/Nordural smelter in Hvalfjordur and the steel factory Elkem – Icelandic Alloys. Saving Iceland opposes the planned new Century smelter at Helguvik and the expansion of the Icelandic Alloys factory. Activists have used lock-ons (metal arm tubes) to form a human blockade on the road and have occupied a construction site crane.

Century Aluminum, a part of the recently formed Russian-Swiss RUSAL/ Glencore/SUAL conglomorate, want to build a second smelter in Iceland in Helguvik with a projected capacity of at least 250.000 metric tons per annum. The planned site is designed to accommodate further expansion. Grundartangi has this year been extended to 260.000 mtpa.

Currently, an environmental impact assessment (1) is under review for the Helguvik smelter, produced by the construction consultants HRV (Honnun/Rafhonnun/VST).

“It is absurd that an engineering company with a vested interest in the smelter construction could be considered to produce an objective impact assessment. The document makes absurd claims, such as that pollution is really not a problem because Helguvik is such a windy place that the pollution will just blow away,” says Saving Iceland’s Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson.”

“This smelter will demand new geothermal power plants at Seltún, Sandfell, Austurengjar and Trölladyngju. In addition to the Hengill area which has already been seriously damaged by Reykjavik Energy. The impact assessment does not take these into account, nor the impact of the huge amount of power lines and pylons required. The plants will ruin the natural and scenic value of the whole peninsula. Also, the recquired capacity, 400 MW, exceeds the natural capactity of the geothermal spots, and they will cool down in three to four decades (2). And Century admits it wants the site to expand further in the next decades. So it is obvious that this smelter will not just ruin Reykjanes but also need additional hydropower.”

The impact procedure seems to be completely irrelevant anyway, since the company has completed an equity offering worth $360 million to be deployed for partly financing the construction of the Helguvik smelter project (3). This indicates that Century already has high level assurances that the project is to continue no matter what.

This completely contradicts the claims the new government of Iceland, and particularly it’s environment minister Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, is opposed to new smelter projects.

Icelandic Alloys wants to expand its facility for producing ferrosilicon for the steel industry. It is in fact one of Iceland’s largest contributors to greenhouse gases and other pollutants (4).

“Expansion of Icelandic Alloys and Century considerably contribute to Iceland’s greenhouse emissions. If there are no further expansions of heavy industry beyond Grundartangi and ALCOA Fjardaal, Iceland will emit 38% more greenhouse gases than in 1990. If other expansion plans continue, levels would rise to an incredible 63% above 1990 levels. (5). That is completely irresponsible.

This shows that all the talk about ‘green energy’ from hydro and geothermal is, in reality, a lie. Icelanders have to rise up against these foreign corporations,” says Úlfhildarson. Read More

Jul 17 2007

Saving Iceland Public Meeting in Thorlakshöfn


Public Meeting in Thorlakshofn

July 15th Saving Iceland held a public meeting with inhabitants of Thorlakshöfn, accompanied by Lerato Maregele from EarthLife South Africa, struggling against ALCAN, and Attilah Springer from Rights Action, Trinidad, struggling against ALCOA. They talked about similarities in the way these companies operate in their respective countries and Iceland. Concern was expressed about pollution, climate, and the way the aluminium industry abandons towns to waste when they will close smelters in a few decades. Thorlakshöfn is named as a new smelter location by Rio Tinto ALCAN, Norsk Hydro, Arctus/Altech and Down Corning. The mayor of Thorlakshöfn has suggested his town as a location for two new smelters.

Read More

Jul 02 2007

Role of River-Suspended Material in the Global Carbon Cycle


Sigurdur R. Gislason, Eric H. Oelkers, and Árni Snorrason

Geological Society of America
Volume 34, Issue 1 (January 2006)
Article: pp. 49–52
Volume 34, Issue 1 (January 2006)
Article: pp. 49–52

Abstract:

1. Institute of Earth Science, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland, 2. Géochimie et Biogéochimie Experimentale—LMTG/Université Paul Sabatier, 14 rue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France, 3. National Energy Authority, Grensásvegi 9, 108 Reykjavík, Iceland

The reaction of Ca derived from silicate weathering with CO2 in the world’s oceans to form carbonate minerals is a critical step in long-term climate moderation. Ca is delivered to the oceans primarily via rivers, where it is transported either as dissolved species or within suspended material. The relative importance for climate moderation of riverine dissolved Ca vs. suspended Ca transport stems from the total Ca flux and its climate dependence. Data in the literature suggest that, within uncertainty, global riverine dissolved Ca flux is equal to suspended material Ca flux. To determine how these fluxes depend on temperature and rainfall, a 40 yr field study was performed on 4 catchments in northeastern Iceland: Jökulsá á Fjöllum at Grímsstadir, Jökulsá á Dal at Brú, Jökulsá á Dal at Hjardarhagi, and Jökulsá í Fljótsdal at Hóll. Suspended material Ca flux depends more on seasonal and annual temperatures and rainfall variation than does dissolved Ca flux in all four catchments. For example, the average difference between the annual maximum and minimum daily suspended Ca flux for the Jökulsá á Dal at Brú is four orders of magnitude, whereas the difference for dissolved Ca flux is only approximately one order of magnitude. Similarly, the annual dissolved Ca flux for this river varies by a factor of 2.6, whereas its annual suspended Ca flux varies by a factor of 7.1. Because suspended material Ca flux is more dependent on climate, it provides a stronger negative feedback for stabilizing Earth’s temperature through the greenhouse effect. Read More

Náttúruvaktin