On 19 September 2019, the California Air Resources Board voted 7-4 to approve the Tropical Forest Standard. CARB is determined to convince us that this is not an approval of REDD offsets in California’s cap-and-trade scheme. In a presentation about the Tropical Forest Standard CARB staff point out that, “Endorsement of the Standard Does Not … Establish tropical forest offset credits for use in the California Cap-and-Trade Program”.
California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) is set to consider an updated Tropical Forest Standard at a public meeting on 19 September 2019. CARB invited comments. Larry Lohmann of The Corner House sent in a comment that explores the “bottomless cesspit of intellectual corruption” that is today’s world of climate change politics:
“The TFS [Tropical Forest Standard] approach risks producing a landslide of false credits due to the challenges with ensuring credited reductions are permanent, non-leaking, and additional, and the inherent possibility that other jurisdictions buying and selling TFS credits will interpret the TFS’ protections liberally. California should not lend its name to these efforts nor commit to the implausible project of monitoring other governments’ use of the TFS going forward.”
Earlier this week, REDD-Monitor received an email from Brian Smith (name changed). Brian explained that about seven years ago he’d been scammed into buying carbon credits as an investment. Recently, Brian received an email from John Miles at a company called Verified Carbon Solutions. Miles said he was acting as a broker for Kentisbury Trust, a company looking to buy five million carbon credits.
California’s cap-and-trade scheme has resulted in payments of hundreds of millions of dollars to forest owners. But a recent policy brief by Barbara Haya at the University of California, Berkeley argues that California may have exaggerated the emissions reductions of these forestry projects by as much as 80 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Last week, six Members of the European Parliament wrote to the California Air Resources Board urging the ARB to reject the proposed California Tropical Forest Standard. In November 2018, the ARB held a public meeting about the proposed Tropical Forest Standard. But the Board failed to reach a decision at that meeting.
From the beginning, REDD proponents described saving rainforests as the “low-hanging fruit”. When he launched Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) in December 2007, Norway’s then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg told us that, “Through effective measures against deforestation we can achieve large cuts in greenhouse gas emissions – quickly and at low cost.”
The COP24 climate negotiations in Katowice are following the same predictable path that the UN climate meetings follow every year. After the first week, the negotiators are arguing, apparently unable to agree on anything much. Over the second week, as ministers arrive, everything will seem hopeless. Then, after a couple of late-night sessions at the end of the second week, an agreement will be found, and the Katowice Compromise can be applauded. The world will breathe a collective sigh of relief.
At the end of last week, California’s Air Resources Board held a public meeting to consider the endorsement of the California Tropical Forest Standard. After several hours and dozens of testimonies for and against the Tropical Forest Standard, the Board decided to postpone making a decision until April 2019.