By Chris Lang
In December 2019, the governments of Colombia, Norway, Germany, and the UK signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on REDD and promoting sustainable development in Colombia. In August 2020, Ricardo José Lozano Picón, Colombia’s minister for Environment and Sustainable Development wrote to Mary Grady at Winrock International, to tell her that Colombia would be starting its evalution of Winrock’s Architecture for REDD+ Transactions standard for REDD.
The standard, The REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES) is part of Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) which is hosted by Winrock International. ART was created in 2018 with the aim of promoting “the environmental and social integrity and ambition of carbon emission reductions from the forest and land use sector and to recognize forest countries that deliver high quality REDD+ emission reductions”.
The ART and TREES were specifically referred to in the Letter of Intent singed in December 2019.
Architecture for REDD+ Transactions was set up by an Interim Steering Committee consisting of the following: Lorenzo Bernasconi (Rockefeller Foundation); Andreas Dahl-Jorgensen (Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative); Nat Keohane (Environmental Defense Fund); and Dan Zarin (Climate and Land Use Alliance).
The ART Board consists of the following people:
Under TREES, countries and subnational jurisdictions can generate verified emissiosn reduction credits. TREES sets requirements for “accounting and crediting; monitoring; reporting and independent verification; mitigation of leakage and reversal risks; avoidance of double counting; assurance of robust environmental and social safeguards; and the transparent issuance of serialized units on a public registry”.
It is, put simply, a REDD carbon trading mechanism. ART has applied to be included in the aviation industry’s carbon trading scheme Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). CORSIA will allow emissions from aviation to continue to rise and will use carbon offsets to give the impression that the aviation industry is taking action to address the climate crisis.
CORSIA is not an attempt to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the aviation industry. Instead it is a transparently obvious distraction that will extend the pollution by one of the fastest growing drivers of the climate crisis. (Before the COVID-19 crisis the aviation industry was expanding rapidly. COVID-19 has temporarily dented its expansion plans. The climate crisis has had no impact on the aviation industry’s plans to expand.)
Below is Colombia’s letter to Winrock International about the TREES standard. Should Colombia decide to adopt this standard, Colombia’s forests could end up generating carbon credits for the rich to continue flying. As discussed in a May 2020 post on REDD-Monitor, REDD will not address the drivers of deforestation such as the oil and mining industry, industrial agriculture, and infrastructure. Meanwhile, the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and local communities living in and around the forests in Colombia will be restricted.
Dear ART Secretariat,
In December 2019 a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) was signed between the Governments of the Republic of Colombia, the Kingdom of Norway, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irelandon the Cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and on promoting sustainable development in Colombia. The partnership is structured on the basis of two modalities of cooperation which may in some cases operate simultaneously: Modality 1: Contributions for policy objectives and implementation, and Modality 2: Contributions for verified emission reductions at the national level. According to the JDI, “Colombia and Norway will intend to apply the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions and its TREES standard to Norway’s modality 2 payment (…)”.
The aim of this letter is to express the intention of the Government of Colombia to initiate the evaluation procedure of the accreditation process. For this purpose, we will continue with these roundtables constructuve discussion that we began this year.
This enlistment phase is the first step of the mentioned accreditation process. Colombia’s TREES concept will be submitted to the ART Secretariat during the course of 2020 or 2021 depending the advance of this the evaluation of the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) under its REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES) as is mentioned on the JDI 2019.
The formal decision of Colombia to participate in ART will, however, be based on an ongoing evaluation of the national benefit to Colombia and the positive results of the commentaries that Colombia submit the last November 2019.
This post is part of a series of posts on REDD-Monitor looking at REDD and environmental injustice in the Andes Amazon.