A recent report by the Rainforest Foundation UK describes the potential scaling up of the International Finance Corporation’s Forest Bonds programme as “One of the most worrying evolutions of GCF activities in the Congo Basin”.
How do we know whether or not a REDD project is actually reducing deforestation and forest degradation? Satellite data is one increasingly popular answer. Computers can be trained to use the data to detect deforestation and changes in land use and plot the information on easy to read maps.
Since May 2018, if you buy ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in Wardour Street, London, you will also buy a small part of a carbon credit. For every scoop of ice cream, a penny goes to buying carbon credits from the Cordillera Azul National Park REDD project in Peru.
Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd was the name of a company incorporated in the Bahamas in October 1999. The company set up forestry projects and traded carbon credits. Its directors included Eric Bettelheim (Executive Chairman and General Counsel), Alan Bernstein (Chief Executive Officer), and Hugh van Cutsem (Director).
In 2007, the Forest Peoples Programme put out a briefing paper about reduced emissions from deforestation, or RED, as REDD was called back then. The briefing warned of the risks of the rapid expansion of avoided deforestation schemes without due regard to rights, and social and livelihood issues.
“The aim of reducing the emissions from forest destruction and degradation caused by industrial agriculture, logging, mining for fossil resources, etc. is today decisive to the survival of humankind and our planet. However, when the tool to achieve this aim is the trading of emission credits (offsets), we arrive at the wrong solutions.”
According to NASA, the Amazon is drier at the start of this year’s dry season than any year since 2002. The reason is reduced rainfall during the wet season because of El Niño. The result could be intense fires in the Amazon later this year.
In early November 2015, the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) met in Livingston, Zambia. During the meeting it approved US$168 million funding for eight projects. One of these projects aims to deforestation in wetlands on largely indigenous peoples’ territories in the province of Datem del Marañón in Peru.
On the first day of the UN climate negotiations in Paris, the governments of Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom pledged US$5 billion for REDD, between 2015 and 2020. The GNU countries say they “have signaled they will increasingly target results-based finance for countries who deliver verified REDD+ emission reductions”.
A paper published this week in Nature concludes that the Amazon is losing its capacity to absorb carbon. In the past decade, the carbon absorbed by the Amazon each year has decreased by about one-third.