Paying to preserve rainforests may be doing more harm than good
A nine-month investigation by the Guardian, the German weekly Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, a non-profit investigative journalism organisation, has concluded that over 90% of rainforest carbon offset credits sold by a leading supplier of such credits to VCMs (voluntary carbon markets) are useless. Worse, they may even be causing harm. This shocking finding will bring more scrutiny to the already discredited forestry carbon credit business, which we consider to be nothing more than greenwashing.
What makes these rainforest carbon offsets worthless?
The rainforest carbon offset market operates like this: Companies pay a provider, typically an NGO, to prevent a piece of rainforest from being cut down. Rainforests are typically cut down to make way for cows for burgers, or soybeans or palm oil for use in a startling array of processed food products.
The problem with forestry carbon offsets
Forestry carbon offset schemes, also known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) schemes, are a type of carbon offset project that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting and restoring forests. These schemes allow individuals and organizations to offset their emissions by investing in projects that conserve or reforest areas of high conservation value or that are at risk of deforestation.
While forestry carbon offset schemes have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there are also a number of critical issues that must be considered.
First, the effectiveness of these schemes in actually reducing emissions is questionable. There are concerns that the carbon sequestered by these projects may not be permanent, as forests can be affected by natural disturbances such as fires, pests, and disease. Additionally, there is the risk that carbon stored in the forest may be released through deforestation or degradation.
Second, there are concerns about the social and environmental impacts of these schemes. In many cases, forestry carbon offset projects are implemented in areas where indigenous communities and other local populations rely on the forest for their livelihoods. These communities may be displaced or have their rights and resources restricted without proper consultation or compensation. Additionally, there are concerns about the potential for these schemes to negatively impact biodiversity and ecosystem health.
Third, there is a lack of transparency and accountability in many forestry carbon offset schemes. Many projects lack proper monitoring and verification, making it difficult to assess their effectiveness and ensure that they are delivering the promised emissions reductions. Additionally, there is a lack of standardization and consistency in the ways that these schemes are implemented, making it difficult to compare their effectiveness and ensure that they are delivering the promised emissions reductions.
Fourth, there is a risk of double-counting and leakage, which can occur when the same carbon sequestered by a project is counted as offsetting emissions in multiple locations or when deforestation is displaced to another location, rather than being avoided or reduced.
In conclusion, while forestry carbon offset schemes have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there are a number of critical issues that must be considered. The effectiveness of these schemes in actually reducing emissions is questionable and there are concerns about their social and environmental impacts. Additionally, there is a lack of transparency and accountability in many forestry carbon offset schemes, which makes it difficult to assess their effectiveness and ensure that they are delivering the promised emissions reductions. It is crucial for carbon offset schemes to be transparent, accountable and to have a clear benefit for the local communities and environment.
We love trees
We love trees and we want them to stay growing. That’s why we’re creating a totally new kind of carbon offset credit. By working with our partners who grow industrial hemp, we can measure the carbon we’re capturing, and we can do this very quickly, with full transparency and trust. If your business wants to do the right thing and not get conned, get in touch today.
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Founder and CEO at Hempoffset.com and TaoClimate.com.
Hempoffset works with hemp growers and makers worldwide, to capture and sequester CO2 at scale, while building a sustainable world.
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