By Chris Lang, January 31, 2014. Source: REDD-Monitor
“It is a mistake to think that emissions from fossil fuels can be negated by increasing or protecting the storage potential of forests and other land based carbon.”
So says a new report from Brussels-based NGO FERN. The report exposes the myth that fossil fuel emissions can be offset by planting trees or preserving forests. Titled, “Misleading Numbers: The Case for Separating Land and Fossil Based Carbon Emissions”, the report can be downloaded here.
The report summarises the difference between greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and those from land use change:
Land use change, through both natural causes and human impact, accounted for approximately 12 per cent of annual global CO2 emissions over the past decade. However, there are fundamental differences between ‘terrestrial’ and ‘fossil’ carbon pools and their impact on the climate. Emissions from fossil carbon are irreversible for all practical purposes as it will be millennia before fossil carbon released by human activity is removed from the terrestrial carbon cycle. Land-based carbon stocks such as forests, on the other hand, are highly reversible: their carbon is held for years or centuries at the most, and is easily returned to the atmosphere. In addition, while immense volumes of fossil carbon are held in the earth, there is a natural limit to the amount that can be held at any one time by terrestrial ecosystems. Continue reading
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition.
Simone Lovera is co-founder and executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations. In this guest post, she describes the REDD deal that came out of COP19 in Warsaw as “the weakest text any international forest-related body has ever adopted”.
Following the June 2013 negotiations in Bonn, GFC described the emerging REDD package as the “whatever approach”. What came out of Warsaw is no improvement. “All the REDD decisions adopted are pathetically vague and non-sensical from a legal point of view,” Lovera writes.
Lovera points out that drivers of deforestation are not addressed in the REDD deal. No finance was agreed for REDD in Warsaw, and unlike existing forest policies, “REDD+ is 100% dependent on financial support”. Governments will be allowed to produce summaries of information on safeguards. The decision on reference levels is “weak”. Lovera writes that, “such texts are an insult to international law”
-Chris Lang, REDD Monitor, December 3, 2013
By Simone Lovera, December 3, 2013. Source: REDD Monitor
On 12 November 2013, the Global Forest Coalition made the following intervention during the negotiations in Warsaw on methodologies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+):
“The Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide coalition of 54 NGOs and Indigenous peoples’ organizations promoting rights-based forest policies shares the concerns of our NGO and IPO colleagues about the extremely weak draft decisions that have been developed in the areas of drivers of forest loss and safeguards. We particularly wonder what we are doing here if this body, and the REDD+ mechanism it is designing, is not capable of addressing the real drivers of forest loss, most of which are linked to international commodity trade. Frankly, if REDD+ is not about addressing the real drivers of forest loss, we don’t think it is a mechanism that should be supported. So we strongly urge governments to focus on developing more effective non-market based approaches to address the international drivers of forest loss, and if they feel they cannot do that within the framework of the REDD mechanism, we urge them to do so within other Frameworks for Various approaches.”
Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, REDD, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19
Note: Once again, the markets are creating and contributing to utter climate chaos. As natural gas prices plummet, the amount of cheap coal available for export rises. At the same time, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme – designed to allow the market to efficiently reduce emissions, but destined to fail – has all but collapsed, driving down the price of CO2 permits. It is due time to abandon the market, before we abandon any hope for avoiding the complete unraveling of the global climate.
-The GJEP Team
By Fiona Harvey, July 25, 2013. Source: The Guardian
Eggborough coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Photo: Murdo MacLeod
A surge in the burning of coal to generate Britain’s electricity last year helped reverse years of steadily declining carbon dioxide emissions, according to data released on Thursday.
Coal produced 39% of the UK’s electricity in 2012, the Department ofEnergy and Climate Change said, up from 29% in 2011, as cheap supplies and the collapse of the price of carbon permits sent power firms rushing back to their ageing coal-fired stations.
With industrial and domestic use added into the figures, overall coal consumption was up by a quarter over 2011. In the same period, carbon dioxide emissions rose by about 4%, after years of steady falls. This will make it harder to achieve the government’s climate change targets.
July 3, 2012. Source: Friends of the Earth Sydney
The Australian aid agency AusAID has effectively axed its $47 million forest carbon experiment in Kalimantan, KFCP, ahead of Australia’s Prime Minister Rudd’s visit to Indonesia this week.
Friends of the Earth groups criticise the Federal government and its implementing partners for their failed approach to deforestation and the land rights issues in Indonesia.
The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP) began in 2008 as part of a program to demonstrate that ‘forest carbon offsets’ were a viable way to reduce carbon emissions. The KFCP pilot project began with big promises to demonstrate policy and program activities capable of reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation in Indonesia, and incentivise sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
Deddy Ratih from WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) said:
‘AusAID and the KFCP staff have failed to support conservation programs that are environmentally effective and sensitive to the rights of indigenous people in rural Indonesia.’
Note: As the failing EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) continues its slow, agonizing death, the EU Commission is scrambling to save it…by penalizing China and India for non-compliance. The EU ETS is the model emissions trading scheme, and the model shows that carbon markets don’t work. The EU ETS has been plagued by fraud and mismanagement of permits, as the article below points out: “The system was established eight years ago, initially to cover heavy industry in Europe, but it has lately been on the verge of collapse. That is in large part because the weak European economy has somewhat curtailed emissions- producing activity, weakening demand for the permits.”
Thats right: The cap-and-trade carbon market doesn’t work to lower emissions. In large part, this is because a shrinking industrial economy (less factories, less energy produced and consumed) is more effective than a market-based approach aimed to keep the polluting industries in business. Gee, imagine that!
-The GJEP Team
By James Kanter, May 16, 2013. Source: NY Times
Photo: Wang Zhao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The European Commission said Thursday that Air China and Air India were among 10 Chinese and Indian airlines facing the prospect of fines and exclusion from airports in the European Union for refusing to comply with rules aimed at regulating greenhouse emissions.
The carriers are accused of not providing emissions data, as required by the European rules, and not participating in a permit system that entitles airlines to emit greenhouse gases in European airspace.
The volume of carbon dioxide that the European Commission said the 10 carriers emitted through their jet engines in Europe last year was comparable to the emissions from burning about 130 rail cars of coal.
The commission said the eight Chinese carriers could face fines totaling €2.4 million, or $3 million, and the two Indian airlines face total fines of €30,000.
By Chris Lang, May 6, 2013. Source: redd-monitor
A new report by Carbon Trade Watch takes a detailed and critical look at REDD from the perspective of land enclosures. “REDD+ will not stop deforestation,” the report argues. Rather than addressing the root causes of deforestation, REDD promotes the argument that environmental destruction in one location can be ‘compensated’ in another. As such, REDD reinforces underlying causes of deforestation.
The report, titled “Protecting carbon to destroy forests: Land enclosures and REDD+”, can be downloaded here (pdf file, 1.3 MB). The report is edited by Transnational Institute, FDCL and FIAN.
The report points out that rather than putting pressure on corporations to clean up their acts or support local struggles, REDD,
gives forest destroyers a way to legitimize their actions as environmentally ‘friendly’ or ‘carbon neutral’. Far from positioning itself as an ally to the many local groups that have preserved forested lands most strongly, REDD+ tends to silence debates about the unjust realities surrounding corporate pressures on land tenure regimes.
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD
Note: A special “economic zone” in China is unveiling the country’s first emissions trading scheme. Considering the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme or the CDM, this newly created market is bound to be a failure of epic proportions, and will do little to reduce actual emissions from the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Another market-based solution, and another false impression of doing anything to seriously address climate change.
-The GJEP Team
April 5, 2013. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Shenzhen, a Special Economic Zone designed to promote market policies in China, will start emissions trading on June 17, the first announced start date among the country’s regional carbon exchanges.
Mayor Qin Xu announced the schedule in an interview with the Shenzhen Daily newspaper. While Beijing and Shanghai may also start their carbon markets in June, Shenzhen is the first to set a specific date, according to analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
China, the world’s biggest emitter, has approved pilot programs to cap and trade emissions in seven manufacturing centres as part of its plan to reduce emissions per economic unit by as much as 45 per cent before the end of the decade. The nation will regulate 800 million to 1 billion metric tons of emissions by 2015 in the world’s biggest cap-and-trade program outside of Europe, New Energy Finance forecasts.
“This is a clear sign that Chinese carbon-trading regions are actually starting their programs, paving the way for more to begin this year,” said Milo Sjardin, the Singapore-based head of Asia-Pacific analysis for New Energy Finance.
Note: This decision is very bad news, both for communities in California living under the shadow of polluting industries, and the communities in places like Chiapas that face forced relocations so that the forests they live in can be used to supposedly “offset” that pollution. And the cherry on the sundae is that it will also not do a damn thing to stop climate catastrophe. A losing scenario all the way around.
-The GJEP Team
By Karen Gullo and Lynn Doan, January 28, 2013. Source: Bloomberg
California environmental regulators running the nation’s first economy-wide carbon cap-and-trade program defeated a lawsuit that claims the system contains a loophole so companies can avoid reducing carbon emissions.
State court Judge Ernest Goldsmith in San Francisco rejected claims by two environmental groups challenging the way the program allows polluters to buy greenhouse gas emission credits from entities that aren’t part of the program.
“The court’s decision is welcome news for one of California’s most important clean energy and clean environment regulations, and provides a bright green light for further investment in pollution reduction projects,” Timothy O’Connor, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, said today in an e-mailed statement. The defense fund sided with state regulators in the case.
Citizens Climate Lobby and Our Children’s Earth Foundation sued California’s Air Resources Board claiming the offsets are a loophole because the projects aren’t new efforts to lower carbon and would occur even without investments from polluters. The complaint sought a court order repealing and invalidating the offset program and prohibiting the state from using offsets as a compliance instrument in the cap and trade program.