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.
“There is no single solution to tackling climate change. A transformation of the global energy system is needed, from electricity generation to industry and transport. Shell will play its part. Our focus on natural ecosystems is one step we are taking today to support the transition towards a low-carbon future.”
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.”
“Carbon markets have spectacularly failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions for over a decade, and it has been demonstrated that they suffer from unresolvable conceptual issues, such as the inexistence of a reliable price signal. As a result, they will never work and should be abandoned.”
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.”
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.
Before the UN climate meeting started in Katowice last week, the Polish government put out a statement about its presidency of COP24. Predictably, the Polish government’s statement makes no mention of the necessity of keeping fossil fuels in the ground in order to address the climate crisis.
On 20 November 2018, Equinor, one of the largest oil and gas firms in the world, wrote to Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The first sentence spells trouble. “The way you lead the important work to deliver solutions to the global climate challenge is of great inspiration to us,” Equinor’s CEO Eldar Sætre writes.
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.
On 16 November 2018, a public meeting will take place to discuss the California Tropical Forest Standard. The debate so far about the proposal to include REDD offsets in California’s cap and trade scheme reveals that the California Air Resources Board is heavily biased in favour of carbon trading and is not interested in addressing climate change.
On 5 September 2018, the California Air Resources Board released a draft California Tropical Forest Standard. A 191-page Draft Environmental Analysis was released on 14 September 2018. A public meeting will take place on 15 November 2018, and the California Air Resources Board is inviting comments on the Environmental Analysis before 5 pm on 29 October 2018.