The forests in the Congo Basin, the second largest area of tropical forest in the world, are receiving increasing interest. Enormous amounts of carbon are stored in these forests, meaning that REDD proponents are increasingly looking at these forests to “offset” continued pollution in the rich countries.
Last year, thousands of people protested at the European Climate Exchange in London against carbon trading. The protest was part of the Camp for Climate Action that has also targeted coal mining, coal-fired power plants and the expansion of Heathrow airport. In a statement, Camp for Climate Action explained what they were doing in London: “We were there to expose carbon trading as a financial fraud which has nothing to do with climate change.”
With apologies for stating the bleeding obvious: If REDD is going to work, it has to reduce deforestation. It also has to respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights. So why is Brazil, which claims to be serious about stopping deforestation, planning to build the world’s third largest hydropower dam?
This week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation is holding the 13th World Forestry Congress, in Buenos Aires. With the slogan “Forests in Development”, the Congress will discuss seven themes, with titles such as “forests and biodiversity”, “producing for development”, “caring for our forests” and “people and forests in harmony”. It all sounds harmless, perhaps even progressive. It is not.