On social media, global indigenous leadership addresses South African magnate Elon Musk, who has launched a global award for carbon sequestration projects. Up-to-date technological solution is the same it has always been: ancestral wisdom
The coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and Ecuadorian indigenous leader of the Shuar people, Tuntiak Katan, addressed South African space and electric car entrepreneur Elon Musk in a message on social media, to present a proposal for carbon capture, in response to Musk’s promotion of the $100 million X-Prize.
Musk has promised $100 million to anyone who can show how to capture large volumes of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and store the gas permanently. The X-Prize award was launched this Thursday, April 22, coinciding with Earth Day and the Leaders Summit on Climate
organized by US President Joe Biden.
The contest is organized by XPRIZE
, which promotes new technologies by awarding cash prizes for demonstrating achievements. “We want teams that build real systems that can have a measurable impact and scale to a gigaton level. Whatever is needed. Time is of the essence”, he said in February. Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
Katan, who was invited to speak at the “Nature-Based Solutions” session of the Summit, led by US Secretary of the Interior Debra Ann Haaland, has said that indigenous and local communities have a real and measurable gigaton-scale carbon removal system: the ancient wisdom of managing tropical forests, which absorb approximately 10 gigatons of carbon per year.
Capture of carbon: learn from past mistakes
On behalf of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, Katan welcomed the Biden Administration’s announcements of funding for climate action and the launch of an initiative on Lowering Emission through Accelerated Forest Finance (LEAF)
. He also invited governments and international institutions to, “learn from past mistakes and avoid depending on the same financing model that has not resulted in the expected outcomes in climate impacts and solutions”, in clear reference to the REDD + initiative and its single minded focus on the capture of carbon.
Katan noted that the findings of a recent study had reported that Indigenous and other local communities receive less than 1% of climate finance for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
“That must change, if we really want to avoid climate change,” Katan said. “The forests that are the focus of this Climate Summit are not immense empty spaces.”
“We, indigenous peoples and local communities, occupy those forests, and we are ready to contribute our forests to one of the most important challenges of our era: the restoration of the Earth”, he said. “However, real restoration can only happen with legal recognition of our rights to our territories. Without this, it will not be possible to ensure the integrity of ecosystems or climate security.”
In the 18 countries that are home to the organizations represented by the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) occupy more than 840 million hectares of land, the equivalent of 80% of the area of the United States.
“Out of those 840 million hectares, at least 400 million hectares have no recognized legal ownership rights (1),” Katan said. “We need those land rights to be recognized as the first step to ensure the integrity of ecosystems and to live according to our own rights”.
He urged the US president and other heads of state to consider investing in the $5 cost per hectare of titling the forests claimed by IPLC in tropical forest countries. Funding this proven climate solution, as calculated by experts at the Rights and Resources Initiative
and other research groups, would channel at least US$2 billion dollars into securing land rights.
“Numerous scientific studies
show the key role of indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting forests and other key ecosystems,” Katan said. “Where our rights are recognized there is less deforestation and degradation.”
At a time,”full of darkness, it is also time to wake up”, Katan said. “This is a time when Western science and our traditional wisdom are building bridges.”
For this reason, Katan said, the Indigenous leaders of the organizations represented by the Global Alliance disagree with the concept of “Solutions Based on Nature.” Instead they call on the international community to speak and act with a focus on “Nature and Community-based solutions”.
“The communities are already implementing initiatives for the sustainable management of forests,” Katan said. “We are part of the solution to climate change, and that is why recognition of our rights to land is the first step in any serious effort to tackle the climate crisis.”
He ended with the following message: “President. Biden, you have the opportunity and the historic responsibility, along with other world leaders, to make the right political decisions to stop the climate crisis.”
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Notes to editor: (1) Recent research shows that in the last 10 years, less than 1% of cooperation funds against climate change have been allocated to forest management and recognition of rights (RRI and Woodwell Climate Research Center: preliminary evidence from a forthcoming study).
ABOUT THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE:
The Global Alliance of Territorial Communities represents indigenous peoples and local communities from the Amazon Basin, Brazil, Indonesia and Mesoamerica, grouped in four territorial organizations: the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN), the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA).