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Three years in the making, this cinéma-vérité feature from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous “Amazon Chernobyl” case, Crude is a real-life high stakes legal drama, set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film subverts the conventions of advocacy filmmaking, exploring a complicated situation from all angles while bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus.
The landmark case takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – spent three decades systematically contaminating one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, poisoning the water, air and land. The plaintiffs allege that the pollution has created a “death zone” in an area the size of the Rhode Island, resulting in increased rates of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, and a multiplicity of other health ailments. They further allege that the oil operations in the region contributed to the destruction of indigenous peoples and irrevocably impacted their traditional way of life. Chevron vociferously fights the claims, charging that the case is a complete fabrication, perpetrated by “environmental con men” who are seeking to line their pockets with the company’s billions.
The case takes place not just in a courtroom, but in a series of field inspections at the alleged contamination sites, with the judge and attorneys for both sides trudging through the jungle to litigate. And the battleground has expanded far beyond the legal process. The cameras rolled as the conflict raged in and out of court, and the case drew attention from an array of celebrities, politicians and journalists, and landed on the cover of Vanity Fair. Some of the film’s subjects sparked further controversy as they won a CNN “Hero” award and the Goldman Award, the environmental equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Shooting in dozens of locations on three continents and in multiple languages, Berlinger and his crew gained extraordinary access to players on all sides of the legal fight and beyond, capturing the drama as it unfolded while the case grew from a little-known legal story to an international cause célèbre. Crude is a ground-level view of one of the most extraordinary legal dramas of our time, one that has the potential of forever changing the way international business is conducted. While the environmental impact of the consumption of fossil fuels has been increasingly documented in recent years, Crude focuses on the human cost of our addiction to oil and the increasingly difficult task of holding a major corporation accountable for its past deeds. www.crudethemovie.com...
The lawsuit, the largest of its kind, has lasted 16 years, pitting U.S. oil giant Chevron against residents in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador. They accuse the company of massive petro-contamination of their communities in the late 20th century and seek $27 billion in damages, an amount that has turned nervous corporate heads worldwide.
But now, three months before a verdict is expected to be handed down, Chevron is doing the accusing, filing its own action with Ecuador's prosecutor general. It charges that the Ecuadorian judge in the case should be removed because, it claims, secretly recorded videos captured him admitting that he has already decided that Chevron is guilty — and they allegedly implicate him in a scheme to snag $3 million in bribes from firms hoping to win oil-cleanup contracts after his ruling. Also implicated are high-ranking officials in the government of leftist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, an outspoken critic of the U.S.
The videos, recorded in June, show Judge Juan Nuñez in meetings with two men, an American and an Ecuadorian, who are allegedly soliciting cleanup deals. Nuñez appears to be merely explaining to them the judicial process involved in the Chevron suit. But at one point he is asked by the American, businessman Wayne Hansen, if Chevron is el culpable — the guilty party. Nuñez, off camera, answers, "Sí, señor" — "Yes, sir." Says Charles James, executive vice president of Chevron, which posted the videos on the Internet on Aug. 31: "No judge who has participated in meetings of the type shown on these tapes could possibly deliver a legitimate decision."http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1920104,00.html
08.10.09: a significant risk of a peak before 2020. The report concludes that the UK Government is not alone in being unprepared for such an event - despite oil supplying a third of the world’s energy. The report finds that we are entering an era of slow and expensive oil as resources get harder to find, extract and produce. Major new discoveries, such as those announced recently in the Gulf of Mexico, will only delay the peak by a matter of days or weeks. Simply maintaining global production at today’s level would need the equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia every three years.
According to the report’s chief author, Steve Sorrell, senior researcher at UKERC, “In our view, forecasts which delay a peak in conventional oil production until after 2030 are at best optimistic and at worst implausible. "And given the world's overwhelming dependence upon oil and the time required to develop alternatives, 2030 isn't far away.
The concern is that rising oil prices will encourage the rapid development of carbon-intensive alternatives which will make it difficult or impossible to prevent dangerous climate change.”
The report defends more optimistic estimates of the size of oil resources but notes that much of this is in smaller less accessible fields which may only be produced relatively slowly and at high cost. It also highlights the accelerating decline in production from existing fields; more than two thirds of current crude oil production capacity