Global Anti Incineration Alliance [1] [2] - Alert! Dirty Industries Attempt to Hijack Global Climate Talks!

3rd December 2009 - Copenhagen: As the world's governments convene here in Copenhagen to solve the unfolding climate crisis, polluting industries are putting up a fight. The incinerator industry, one of the world's dirtiest, is trying to repackage itself as a “climate solution” in order to grab climate subsidies meant to support the development of clean technologies.

 The incinerator industry are gathering today for the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) / Danish Komptencecenter for Waste, Waste and Climate Change conference in Copenhagen where they will launch a white paper on climate change and create their message for COP15.

 Global Anti Incineration Alliance (GAIA) are strongly advising delegates to demand that recycling, reuse and waste prevention are placed high on the ISWA message to COP15 and to recognise that Zero Waste is the 'real' solution to climate change and not incineration. The climate talks about to take place over the next 2 weeks, are a crucial time to come to a solution on climate change and climate justice particularly in the south, there should be no place for hijacking and promotion of bad solutions.

"The idea that we can burn our way to climate stability is nothing short of ludicrous," said Neil Tangri from GAIA "We need to reduce, recycle and compost, not burn waste.” 

Musa Chamane, groundWork’s Waste Campaign Manager works with people who reclaim materials from waste landfill sites throughout South Africa: "Recycling is not only commonplace in the developing world, it also provides employment to millions of poor people. These jobs, and the climate benefits of recycling, are threatened by the incinerator industry's push to burn waste"

Recycling is up to 30 times more effective at reducing emissions than incineration [3] and it provides employment to approximately 15 million people worldwide. [4] [5]

ISWA is an international organisation which promotes the development of this unsound solution to dealing with waste.  For example ISWA signed an agreement with the Plastics Institute PLASTIVIDA to develop and promote waste-to-energy technologies for plastics in Brazil.  

In many countries, ISWA organizes pro-incineration conferences for governments, bringing incineration companies from the North to promote their expensive, wasting and polluting technologies to the South.  Such companies who are major sponsors of the event, such as Veolia, Covanta,  Ramboll, Vestforbraending and Amagerforbraending, have a reputation as  big players in the energy from waste sector. As part of the ISWA climate  change task force who have developed the white paper and the event,  they will be pushing the misconception and poorly researched view that  energy from waste (other than anaerobic digestion)  is the waste sectors  solution to climate change.

Jeni Mackay from GAIA said: "With the conference being dominated over two days by energy from waste companies and on developing the issue of incineration, it is hard to see where ISWA itself, can claim to promote an independent perspective and works in the publics interest to promote and develop international sustainable waste management."

GAIA will be monitoring the out comes of the ISWA conference over the next 2 days.


For more information call:

Neil Tangri, GAIA , +4550105822; (present in Copenhagen)


Musa Chamane, groundWork, +27-33-342 5662, +27-82-589 7928, or  


[1] The Global Anti Incineration Alliance is a worldwide alliance of more than 600 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 82 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration.

[2] groundWork is a member of the Global Anti Incineration Alliance.  groundWork is a environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa and increasingly in Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Air Pollution, Waste and Environmental Health.

[3] According to a recent study: ‘Cooling Agents’ by Chintan, a New Delhi-based NGO.  For more information see

[4] According to the World Bank.

[5] See research done in South Africa by groundWork on waste reclaimers here.