“Good money after bad? Risks and opportunities for the Green Climate Fund in the Congo Basin Rainforests”, is the title of a new report by the Rainforest Foundation UK. The report focusses on the GCF and REDD, followed by a critical overview of the GCF’s planned projects in the forests of the Congo Basin.
By Chris Lang (REDD-Monitor) and Simon Counsell (Rainforest Foundation UK)
Unlike carbon capture and storage systems, trees do actually take carbon out of the atmosphere and store it – temporarily, at least. In theory, planting enough new trees, and allowing existing forests to grow and regenerate, could mop up some of the excess CO2 now in the atmosphere. The idea has been around since the mid-1970s, when theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson came up with the idea of planting vast areas with trees (“in countries where labor is cheap”) to soak up the CO2 that burning fossil fuels is putting in the atmosphere.
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.
In May 2019, the Congolese NGO Action pour la promotion et protection des peoples et espèces menacés (APEM) wrote to the coordinator of the World Bank’s Forest Investment Programme in the Democratic Republic. The letter followed a civil society monitoring mission of three REDD projects in Mai Ndombe province that was carried out in September and October 2018.
In September and October 2018, six local monitors trained by the Congolese NGO Action pour la promotion et protection des peoples et espèces menacés (APEM) took part in a civil society monitoring mission in Mai Ndombe province. The monitoring was carried out with technical and financial support from Rainforest Foundation UK.
“If this is all about protecting the rainforest, then, I don’t know, something has gone wrong here. Something has gone very, very badly wrong.”
Recently, ProPublica published a well researched article on the pitfalls of generating carbon credits from forest conservation: “An (Even More) Inconvenient Truth: Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing”. The article caused quite a stir and generated a series of responses from REDD proponents.
“The era of carbon offsets is drawing to a close. Buying carbon credits in exchange for a clean conscience while you carry on flying, buying diesel cars and powering your home with fossil fuels is no longer acceptable or widely accepted.”
Kaziranga National Park in the north east of India has a shoot on sight policy, used against poachers and villagers found inside the park. Violent evictions of communities who lived in the national park have taken place, and park rangers are accused of serious human rights violations. Kaziranga was the subject of a recent documentary by the Dutch documentary TV series, Zembla.