Here we go again. “Plant more trees to combat climate change: scientists” is a Reuters headline from earlier this week. The article is based on a press release put out by The Nature Conservancy about a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper’s argument relies on the scientific fraud that the carbon stored in forests, soil, and landscapes is climatically the same as the carbon stored underground in fossil fuels.
Tropical forests release more carbon each year than all the traffic in the United States. That’s the alarming finding of a recent study published in Science. The report demonstrates the urgent need to protect tropical forests. It also demonstrates the complete insanity of trading the carbon stored against continued emissions from fossil fuels.
In June 2016, REDD-Monitor wrote about WWF’s partnership with Rougier, a French logging company, in Cameroon. Survival International had accused WWF of partnering with a company that is logging the forests without the consent of the local indigenous Baka communities. REDD-Monitor followed up some questions to WWF about its partnership with the loggers.
REDD is at the centre of a tense discussion in Brazil’s indigenous community. Some indigenous people support REDD, others oppose it. Ecosystem Marketplace has jumped into fray, accusing the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in the state of Acre of “intentionally sabotaging a program that has enabled [indigenous peoples] to save their forests”.
The Suruí Forest Carbon Project was the first REDD project to be developed and run by indigenous people. The Suruí’s Seventh of September territory covers an area of 248,000 hectares on the border of the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso. The chief of the Suruí, Almir Suruí, has been lauded internationally for his role in promoting the project. He’s been called the Gandhi of the Amazon. In 2013, he won a UN Forest Hero Award.
April Salumei is a REDD project in Papua New Guinea. Various companies, including Qantas, Eneco Energy Trade, and Norwegian supermarket chain Rema 1000, have bought carbon credits from the April Salumei REDD project. Should you so wish, you can buy carbon credits from the project on the USAID-funded website Stand for Trees.
World Rainforest Movement recently published a statement, signed by 26 Brazilian organisations, opposing REDD. Specifically, the statement is in opposition to the German-funded REDD Early Movers programme in the state of Mato Grosso. So far, REM has operated in the state of Acre. The NGO statement describes REM as an example of how “Foreign capital is now valuing the functions of nature, which have been transformed into ‘environmental services’.”
The social impacts of REDD on indigenous peoples and local communities who are dependent on forests has been controversial since REDD was included in the Bali Road Map at COP 13 in 2007. But over the past ten years, debate over whether REDD projects are desirable has been, to some extent at least, marginalised by a focus on how to manage the risks of REDD, and how to promote benefits through REDD.