I’m in Honolulu this week, joining local organizers and activists outside the Major Economies Meeting (MEM) at the East-West Center on UH-Manoa’s campus. The 16 biggest carbon-emitting nations are here at President Bush’s request to discuss “Energy Security and Climate Change,” but the meetings are closed to the public, and hopes are not high that anything substantial will come out of these talks. As a matter of fact, this Major Economies Meeting is seen by many as the Bush administration’s diversion from any substantive agreements going forward in Bali last month.
Yesterday we were out in force in the pouring rain in front of the governor’s mansion in Honolulu, where she was holding a reception for the delegates of the MEM. The local message is that we need serious commitments to secure our climate, and no more false solutions like importing palm oil from South East Asia to fuel Hawaii’s electrical generation, which is exactly what the Hawaiian Electric Company here is proposing. They want to build two of the world’s largest biodiesel refineries on O’ahu and Maui sourcing palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia – generously supplied by our Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign’s corporate target, Cargill, and they are calling this a green energy solution. What they don’t know is that the public is savvy to the devastating impacts of palm oil on the climate and the world’s people. Read the Hawaii Palm Oil Release .
The words “People over Profit – No Palm Oil” were ringing in the delegates ears last night as they tried to sip their mai tais at the governor’s mansion. We met the delegates and the international press again this morning outside of their meeting at the East-West Center to make sure they know the whole world is watching.
This afternoon we’ll be drawing a blue chalk line in the streets of Manoa to demonstrate where the one meter rise in sea level would wipe out entire sections of Honolulu, including all of Waikiki. For people living on the front lines of climate crisis, there’s no time for useless talks with no real action.