California’s Air Resources Board is planning to allow REDD offsets in its cap and trade scheme, Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). Friends of the Earth USA has sent out an action alert asking people in California to tell the Chair of Air Resources Board, Mary Nicholls, to reject REDD.
If you are based in California, you can send a message to Mary Nicholls, via Friends of the Earth’s website.
In its action alert email, Friends of the Earth USA explains what’s wrong with REDD:
The pay-to-pollute scheme enables partner states and provinces in tropical regions to generate credits from their remaining tropical forests, and sell those credits to polluters in California. This ostensibly “offsets” carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels at polluting facilities in California.
But it doesn’t really work that way. Forest offset schemes are particularly dangerous because of serious questions about their on-the-ground effectiveness. They can lead to indigenous and other communities being dislocated or prevented from accessing their traditional lands.
What’s more, forest offsets greenwash fossil fuel companies — and delay the real emissions reductions we need in California.
Friends of the Earth USA’s action alert includes the following letter to Mary Nicholls:
Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols,
I write to express my concern regarding the evident predisposal of the California Air Resources Board to expand the Cap-and-Trade Program with a highly risky International Forest Sector-based Offsets scheme. As a resident of California, I believe that the exceptional social, economic, legal and environmental risks of integrating sub-national Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) offsets into California’s Cap-and-Trade program are simply too great to justify moving forward with this policy.
The imperative to protect the world’s forests could not be clearer, and I applaud our state for taking on the challenge. But there are other, less risky means for us to protect forests globally, including protecting those here at home. I believe California needs to address climate-damaging clear-cutting and other destructive industrial practices in California’s forests, as well as undertake a full accounting for the carbon emissions permitted by the State of California with the ongoing unsustainable exploitation of our forests here at home.
At the same time, it is now understood beyond doubt that in order to avert the worst consequences of human-induced climate change, and to keep atmospheric greenhouse gases within safe and agreed-upon thresholds, we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels as rapidly as possible.
This is not to ignore the very real problem of emissions from land-use change in the Amazon and other tropical regions — but to say that California can act in ways that are both more direct and less risky to address the climate emissions for which we, as a state, are responsible. An expansion of California Cap-and-Trade with an International Forest Sector-based Offset scheme will not do what is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of human-induced climate change. Indeed, adding International Forest Sector-based Offsets to the market will only make it easier for California polluters to cover-up their ongoing industrial emissions. Expanding Cap-and-Trade to include environmentally dubious, socially unjust, and economically inequitable International Forest Offsets fails to address the real economic motors of the destruction of tropical forests, as well as the ongoing degradation and carbon depletion of our forests in California.
I urge you to not move forward with the proposed rulemaking on International Forest Sector-based Offsets, and to concentrate the development of California climate change mitigation policy on efforts that will actually result in real, measurable, verifiable and permanent emissions reductions here in California, as well as demand-side measures that will reduce the burden that California’s economy has on tropical forests.
Thank you for caring for the climate.