The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon
After two years of consultations with indigenous leaders, environmentalists, and government representatives, the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW) has released its final recommendations on how to work international REDD+ offsets into California’s cap-and-trade program.
Last week, nearly 50 major corporations, indigenous groups and global NGOs signed a letter of support of the recommendations. Chief Almir of the Surui tribe, leader of the first indigenous people to generate REDD+ credits under the Verified Carbon Standard, believes REDD can be viewed as a way of bridging collective indigenous values and capitalist non-indigenous values.
“In the indigenous vision, the standing forest has intrinsic value that we collectively must protect, but in the vision of the non-indigenous, capitalist world, the standing forest will only be respected when it yields a result, a payment, some sort of deliverable,” says Almir while emphasizing the importance of safeguards for projects involving indigenous people.
Ecosystem Marketplace outlines the social and environmental safeguards portion of the recommendations here, which call on California to ban credits that don’t conform to international principles and to retain the right to suspend recognized credits if they are later found to be out of compliance.
At a time when California is looking to finalize its climate policy, the fate of these recommendations could have significant impact on both the international REDD+ market and the appetite to support REDD+ in the United States, where momentum is building not only in California but also at the national level with President Obama’s recent pledge to REDD+ in his Climate Action Plan.
Of the two states thus far considering to feed REDD+ credits into California’s cap-and-trade scheme – Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil – a day after the ROW recommendations came out, the State of Chiapas was inaccurately reported by Amigos de la Tierra México, the Mexican affiliate of Friends of the Earth, to have canceled its REDD+ program. The Chiapas state government has since then released a response reaffirming its commitment to jurisdictional REDD+.
We ran into another instance of misrepresentation across the Pacific, where an Indonesian organization called Greenomics claimed that the Rimba Raya Conservation Project – one of the world’s largest REDD projects, being developed by Infinite Earth in accordance with Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) guidelines – had failed to secure proper tenure rights and overstated the amount of forestland preserved. Upon further investigation, Ecosystem Marketplace found both claims to be false after learning of Greenomics’ selective referencing of government documents.
With the redesign of our Forest Carbon Portal and continued expansion of our Spanish language sister website, Ecosystem Marketplace hopes to continue to bring you this kind of fresh information in the second half of 2013! If you value what you read, consider supporting Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program by contacting Molly Peters-Stanley. We’re $75k away from being able to publish this year&ssquo;s State of the Forest Carbon Markets report in a few months’ time – can we count on your support?
For those of you developing forest carbon offset projects, we invite you to describe your project and any 2012 transactions by participating in our survey before July 31, 2013. This will be the final deadline for organizations wishing to take part in this year's State of the Forest Carbon Markets report. Submit your data here!
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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