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Friends of the Earth International releases report on combating deforestation

Posted Dec. 2, 2008 / Posted by: RConnors

On Tuesday, Friends of the Earth International released the report, REDD myths: A critical review of proposed mechanisms to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries.  I spoke at a panel event to release the publication, together with indigenous and NGO representatives from five continents. All of the panelists raised serious concerns about the potential risks of inadequate mechanisms to address deforestation.

In particular, I highlighted the fact that the current mechanisms under consideration to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) could benefit those who bear the greatest historical responsibility for deforestation, while harming indigenous and forest-dependent peoples.  Further, the creation of large amounts of carbon credits for forests based on faulty methodologies or on unsubstantiated future scenarios could undermine the carbon trading system through the creation and trading of faulty carbon credits. Much like the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States led to the current global financial crisis when large numbers of faulty mortgages fell through, speculation and gaming of "junk" carbon credits could cause a similar meltdown as a result of a carbon trading system.

Following the panel statements, a vigorous discussion took place. Responding to a comment from the audience that there are in fact REDD projects that benefit local people, Victor Hugo Vela, from the Indigenous Roundtable on Forests and Climate Change, made an intervention that the Noel Kempff project, a REDD project already underway in Bolivia, is not benefitting local peoples at all, despite what is said about it on paper, and that indigenous people in the area neither want or need this project.

Later in the day, I also participated in a side event hosted by Third World Network, where I outlined the role the United States will need to play to reach a just and equitable international agreement.

Friends of the Earth press release on REDD Myths: Giant Loophole in Forest Plans

Real World Radio report on the release of REDD Myths: Many Acronyms, Few Solutions

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