Outsourcing Hot Air

The push for sub-national REDD offsets in California's carbon market from Mexico and beyond

Publication - 23 September, 2012
The success of REDD+ depends on its ability to deliver real, additional and permanent reductions in deforestation and forest degradation in a manner that protects biodiversity and fully respects the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. However, current preoccupation with sub-national REDD+ offset schemes risks wasting finite resources on a policy mechanism that will not deliver real benefits for the climate, forests or people - and could make matters even worse.

REDD was proposed as an incentive for developing countries to reduce their national deforestation emissions in order to address a vital source of global emissions driving climate change.

The Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), initiated by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a collection of states and provinces in Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Peru and the US that promote sub-national approaches to REDD+. GCF member states have the opportunity and the responsibility to address the major industrial drivers of forest destruction, and the GCF is well positioned to play an important role in convening and advising sub-national governments essential to the effort to halt deforestation. To date, however, the GCF has been more focused on creating sub-national REDD+ offsets for large industrial polluters in California than on promoting and adopting effective, people-centred forest protection policies among its members.

In this report, we first examine the misdirected sub-national REDD+ offset approach promoted by the GCF. This is followed by a preliminary examination of the State of Chiapas' REDD+ programme and an analysis of the problems of carbon forestry projects in the region. Finally, we provide recommendations as to how a redirected GCF could shift from an obstance to an ally in the battle to combat climate change and protect forests and forest people's rights.

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