The Somicongo REDD+ concession in Mai Ndombe province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo was, until early 2018, a logging concession covering an area of almost 300,000 hectares. As Global Witness pointed out in a 2015 report about the logging industry in the DRC, the contract, management plan, and social agreement for the logging concession were unpublished or inaccessible – in breach of DRC’s legal framework.
In April 2019, George Monbiot said, “I believe the age of offsets is over – I don’t think it should ever have begun – because it’s now clear that we have to decarbonise our economies pretty comprehensively across all sectors.” He’s written the same thing a couple more times recently.
“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.
“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.”
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.
“The technology is well known and has been available for thousands of years. Everybody knows how not to cut down a tree.” That spectacularly naive comment came from Norway’s then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg in December 2007 at the launch of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).
At 5.45 pm on 22 December 1988, Chico Mendes, Brazilian rubber tapper and trade union leader was assassinated in the doorway of his home in Xapuri, Acre. Two meetings in Xapuri this month show that Mendes legacy is disputed.
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.