SOURCE: Bloomberg News
DATE: July 4, 2020
SNIP: Land seizures. Dangerous working conditions. Mistreatment of native populations. For decades, such practices were associated in the public mind with the oil and gas industries. That perception in turn undermined confidence in fossil fuels and, as climate change worsened, helped set the stage for a widespread boom in the renewable-energy business.
Now that business is itself under scrutiny — and for some of the same practices.
According to a new report, at least 197 allegations of human-rights abuses have been leveled against renewable-energy projects in recent years, including land-grabs, dangerous working conditions and even killings. Meanwhile, many of the world’s largest publicly held solar and wind companies are failing to meet widely accepted human-rights benchmarks.
The report comes from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a London-based group that promotes human rights in the corporate world and which has been scrutinizing the renewables business for several years. In 2019, the group documented 47 attacks, ranging from frivolous lawsuits to violence, on individuals who raised concerns about human-rights abuses in the industry. That ranked fourth, behind only mining (143 attacks), agribusiness (85) and waste disposal (51).
That’s hardly the kind of company that most renewables executives want to keep, and the report offers some insight into what’s gone wrong. The group evaluated 16 of the world’s biggest public renewables companies against standards including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as against several criteria that the group developed specific to the green-energy industry. The results were not good. None of the companies had policies to “to respect land rights, to govern their process of land acquisition, or on just and fair relocation of residents.” Perhaps more worrisome, the probe found that the companies had little to no ability to identify human-rights violations in their extensive supply chains.
Those accusations come on top of some other disturbing developments. Fed up indigenous communities in Mexico are now suing the French developer of a massive new wind park after years of complaining that they’ve been harassed into approving projects, for instance, while Norway is ignoring an appeal from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to suspend a state-backed wind-power project that could harm indigenous herding communities.
[Ed Note: So-called “renewables” are a false solution to climate change, and given the mining and land requirements for these “solutions”, will never solve the climate crisis, and will only exacerbate the destruction of nature, and thus ourselves.]