By Chris Lang
This week’s REDD notes. Follow @reddmonitor on Twitter for more links to news about forests, the climate crisis, natural climate solutions, the oil industry, greenwash, carbon offsetting, etc.
While the rationale and mechanism of REDD+ seem straightforward, the implementation and the results have been unsatisfactory and mired in controversy. Twelve years of REDD+ have been unable to significantly reduce deforestation. In places like Mai-Ndombe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), REDD+ has failed to both halt deforestation and benefit local communities.
He notes that others have labelled REDD “CO2lonialism”. Africa generates 3% of global greenhouse gases. “At the core of REDD+ are neoliberal and corproate-friendly ideas,” Mulungu writes. These ideas allow polluters to continue polluting, while marginalising the lives of forest depending communities.
Mulungu writes that,
Solutions arrived at in the big conference halls of the West, implemented in developing countries without the full participation of the people, are bound to fail. New ideas that explicitly involve the forest-dependent communities are imperative.
Last week, the Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the World Bank signed an emissions reduction purchase agreement (ERPA). Under the deal the Carbon Fund will pay Vietnam US$51.5 million if the provinces of Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng_Bình, Quảng Trị, and Thừa Thiên-Huế reduce CO2 emissions by 10.3 million tonnes between 2018 and 2024.
In a press release, Carolyn Turk, the World Bank’s country director for Vietnam said,
Vietnam has shown tremendous leadership in developing robust programs to deliver forest emission reductions at scale. This agreement marks the beginning of a new chapter for Vietnam, where new and significant incentives for forest protection and improved management are now in place to help the country meet its ambitious climate targets.”
Nikkei Asia’s report on the deal included a comment from REDD-Monitor:
But such arrangements do not really cut emissions, said Chris Lang, founder of the REDD-Monitor blog….
“In order to address the climate crisis, we have to stop burning fossil fuels,” Lang told Nikkei. “Carbon trading makes the climate crisis worse by giving the oil, gas, and coal industries a new lease on life.”
Peru and Switzerland have signed a bilateral offsets agreement under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Under the deal, Switzerland will continue to pollute and will finance “sustainable development” in Peru.
Gilles Dufrasne, policy officer at Carbon Market Watch, told Climate Change News that the agreement had “several good elements”. It doesn’t. Any emissions reduced in Peru will be cancelled out by continued emissions in Switzerland.
The Swiss KliK Foundation will buy the offsets for Switzerland. KliK Foundation was set up by the Swiss Petroleum Association (since renamed as Avenergy Suisse) to offset part of the emissions from motor fuels. So Peru reduces its emissions while the Swiss can continue driving around in their BMWs.
The EU has announced that as part of its biodiversity strategy for 2030, it will plant three billions trees. “It is time to fix our broken relationship with nature. Climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the spread of devastating pandemics demand it,” the EU’s website states.
Euronews comments that, “While massive reforestation grabs the headlines, experts say tree-planting actually does little to stop what is really messing up the climate, the rampant burning of fossil fuels.”
Sini Eräjää, Greenpeace EU agriculture and forest campaigner, told Euronews,” The potential climate and biodiversity benefits to planting trees are limited, but the risks of greenwashing are endless. Companies are quick to claim credit for the carbon stored in trees planted but reluctant to reduce emissions in the first place.” Exactly.
A new study published in Global Environmental Change finds that climate scientists take “significantly” more flights than other academics. Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester, hasn’t flown since 2006. In 2014, he wrote, “To reduce my own carbon footprint I decided eight years ago that I could no longer justify flying.”
Anderson was not involved in the study. He said that the study made for “uncomfortable” reading:
“This paper must be a catalyst for rapid change. We need to take a long hard look in the mirror, reflect on our research, and rapidly transition to an academia fit for the 21st Century. Perhaps then governments, businesses and wider civil society would take more note of our research and conclusions.”
The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) reports that lowland forest fires in the regions of Santa Cruz, Beni, La Paz and Cochabamba are even worse than last year.
“Between the 1st of January and the 31st of July this year , the number of forest fires had increased by 35 per cent in the national territory in comparison with the same time last year. Knowing this has generated an alert, because the numbers show that we are in a process of repeating the tragedy from last year,” Miguel Vargas Delgado, director of the Center for Legal Studies and Social Research (CEJIS) based in Bolivia, said.
CEJIS has established the Center for Autonomous Territorial Planning (CPTA) to monitor the territorial situation of Indigenous communities in the Bolivian lowlands. CPTA reports that 2.1 million hectares in the lowlands were burned by August 2019. “One of the main factors that led to the drastic increase in fires is the expansion of the agricultural frontier,” IWGIA writes.
Alejandro Parellada, IWGIA senior advisor, said, “The recent national elections in Bolivia open a new political scenario where, apart from the re-establishment of a democratically elected government, we hope that there will be greater willingness to meet the demands of Indigenous Peoples, especially in the protection of their territories.”