“Good money after bad?” A new report by the Rainforest Foundation UK is critical of the Green Climate Fund’s plans in the rainforests of the Congo Basin

“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.

Continue reading

Offsetting fossil fuel emissions with tree planting and ‘natural climate solutions’: science, magical thinking, or pure PR?

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.

Continue reading

How many “successful” REDD projects are there? Verra claims “more than 150”, but the reality is only 32 (according to Verra’s own project database)

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.

Continue reading

Guest Post: Nature-based solutions. Separating the wheat from the chaff

Recently, British journalist George Monbiot launched a Natural Climate Solutions campaign. In the spirit of encouraging debate about the dangers of offsetting emissions from fossil fuels against the carbon temporarily stored in ecosystems, I wrote a post asking the question, “Is the new Natural Climate Solutions campaign a distraction from the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground?”

Continue reading

NGOs oppose the oil industry’s Natural Climate Solutions and demand that Eni and Shell keep fossil fuels in the ground

Oil giants Eni and Shell have both recently announced plans to use trees to offset some of their ever increasing carbon emissions. Yesterday, NGOs put out a statement opposing the oil industry’s attempts to avoid its responsibility for climate breakdown. The statement is signed by six organisations (Friends of the Earth Mozambique and South Africa; Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Zimbabwe; No REDD in Africa Network; Re:Common, Italy; and Friends of the Earth International). The statement is endorsed by a further 109 organisations.

Continue reading

California’s “lenient leakage accounting” means that emissions reductions from forest offsets may never happen

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.

Continue reading

REDD is “the most ineffective and iniquitous mechanism to mitigate climate change” says El Salvador’s Climate Change Round-Table in a letter to president elect, Nayib Bukele

Last week, the Climate Change Round-Table in El Salvador, a group of civil society organisations, handed over an open letter to the country’s president-elect Nayib Bukele. The letter is critical of the environmental and climate policies of the previous government, which focussed heavily on REDD.

Continue reading

Is the new Natural Climate Solutions campaign a distraction from the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground?

Earlier this week, an international group of more than 20 campaigners wrote a letter to The Guardian in support of natural climate solutions. “The world faces two existential crises, developing with terrifying speed: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown,” they write. “Neither is being addressed with the urgency needed to prevent our life-support systems from spiralling into collapse.”

Continue reading

Natural Climate Solutions: “It really is time that governments stopped trying to find more ways to offset their fossil fuel emissions”

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.”

Continue reading

REDD funded by the oil industry cannot be “sustainable development”. Norwegian oil company Equinor continues its climate masquerade

As climate breakdown gets worse, the corporations most responsible are looking for ways to continue profiting from ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Norway’s oil company Equinor is a classic example of this. The company plans to continue drilling oil – including in the Arctic – while investing in “natural climate solutions” to offset its emissions.

Continue reading