World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


California Cap-and-trade Could Endanger Rainforest Peoples

California Cap-and-trade Scheme Could Endanger Rainforest Peoples

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Under California’s new cap-and-trade program, the state is considering allowing a controversial form of carbon credits that have been rejected by the European Union as ineffective and potentially harmful to rainforests in developing countries. Now an international coalition of environmental groups including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Sierra Club California is urging Gov. Jerry Brown to reject the so-called REDD credits, which could endanger the lives and livelihoods of indigenous forest peoples.

Since California signed a memorandum of understanding in 2010 with Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil, the state Air Resources Board has been working to forge an agreement to allow California industries, under the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), to offset their pollution by purchasing Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation credits that supposedly promote rainforest conservation in those areas.

A consulting group to the ARB recently released recommendations for the program and is accepting public comments through May 7. The environmental groups’ letter to Gov. Brown and the ARB  -- on the heels of letters of protests from Indigenous groups in Acre and Chiapas -- points out deep flaws with the proposal:

[The] proposal is not only unlikely to deliver real, additional and permanent emission reductions, but it would also prevent Californians from getting the benefits of AB 32 at home. By allowing enterprises to buy international forest offsets, the amount of industrial emissions within the state would be greater than otherwise allowed by law, exposing people here in California to greater health and environmental risks, and preventing progressive Californian companies from benefitting from new technologies and innovations.

“REDD looks like a forest protection program,” said Jeff Conant, international forests campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S., “but it’s not. It’s a carbon offset scheme.  It fails to address the real causes of both deforestation and the climate crisis.”

“We need to reduce both deforestation and industrial emissions,” said Roman Czebiniak, senior climate and forest policy analyst at Greenpeace International. “Allowing major industries to merely replace one with the other not only puts the climate at great risk but also exposes Californians to greater pollution here at home.”

Europe’s emissions trading system, the largest carbon market in the world -- itself beset by scandals and failure to reduce emissions in Europe -- does not accept REDD credits. The EU says reductions in carbon emissions from forest preservation are impossible to verify accurately, that preserving one forest in one  place may only drive deforestation to another area, and that industrial pollution remains in the atmosphere for centuries while forests are more vulnerable to short-term changes.

Tropical forests have unique social, economic and cultural significance to those who live in and depend on them for their livelihoods. But REDD projects like the one California is considering raise serious concerns about violations of the rights of forest dwellers.  

"Forest carbon projects are causing grave human rights abuses, including evictions, land grabs, jailing, persecution of activists and violations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Alberto Saldamando, a spokesman for the Indigenous Environmental Network. "California should not repeat its mistakes of the past with regard to indigenous peoples, in order to let polluters continue to pollute."

Organizations in Acre and Chiapas who sent letters to California policymakers last week denounced the proposed program as “neocolonial” and “incoherent.” Objections have also been sent by Friends of the Earth Latin America and Caribbean and Oilwatch International urging that “common sense requires that we end fossil fuel addiction, not let corporations continue to profit while setting the planet ablaze.”

Environmental justice advocates also pointed out that communities in the shadow of polluting industries, like Chevron’s refinery in Richmond and Shell’s in Martinez, see REDD as a failure to address their concerns as well.

"We have struggled to ensure that ARB addresses the needs of low-income communities and communities of color in AB 32 implementation,” said Strela Cervas, coordinator of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “But they have continued to pass harmful and ineffective offset programs that only benefit big polluters. ARB has shown little concern for communities of color here at home-- how can we expect them to ensure a California REDD program will protect the rights of communities abroad?"

“To really tackle tropical deforestation at its root,” the letter recommends, “California policymakers should consider examining how the state’s existing policies…may enable rainforest destruction through contributing to demand for petroleum, timber, soy, paper, palm oil, and other commodities.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news