- 12/12/15: COP21: What’s happened so far? (REDD Monitor)
- 12/12/15: COP21 Paris snapshot #2: No REDD!
- 11/18/15: Double-counting: What if both Brazil and California want Acre’s REDD credits?
- 11/18/15: La REDD+ et sa finance carbone ne résoudront pas la crise climatique
- 11/18/15: REDD and carbon trading will not resolve the climate crisis
REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a false solution to climate change[ii] that privatizes and sells nature and the very air we breathe. A carbon offset mechanism, REDD+ allows industrialized countries to use Africa’s forests, agriculture, soils and even water as sponges for their carbon dioxide pollution instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at source. REDD+ turns Africa into a dump for Northern pollution. Outraged by the rampant land grabs and neocolonialism of REDD+, Africans at the World Social Forum in Tunisia took the historic decision to launch the No REDD in Africa Network to defend the continent from the REDD onslaught.[iii]
In Africa, REDD+, carbon credits, agrofuels and export crops, are driving massive land grabs.[iv] Experts are warning that three-quarters of Africa’s population and two-thirds of its land are at risk[v] and that REDD+ may create “generations of landless people.”[vi] REDD+ is emerging as a new form of colonialism,[vii] economic subjugation,[viii] impoverishment[ix] and a driver of land grabs[x] so massive that they may constitute a Continent Grab.[xi] Carbon trading companies have applied for rights over one-third of Mozambique, to sell REDD credits.[xii] More than 40% of Cameroon’s forests – almost 20% of the country- may be slated for REDD-type projects[xiii] and 20% of Liberia's forests were almost grabbed for a billionaire carbon scam.[xiv] According to Reuters, an Australian carbon trading company claimed to have signed a contract to do REDD in all of the 2,345,000 square kilometers of the entire national territory of Democratic Republic of Congo,[xv] which was subsequently declared illegal.[xvi] It is important to recall that REDD+ now includes not just forests but plantations, soils, agriculture and even water ecosystems. Therefore, past land grabs for plantations, agrofuels and export crops could soon become REDD projects as well.[xvii] Vast tracts of Africa are being labeled “unused,”[xviii] “degraded”[xix] or in need of “conservation,”[xx] afforestation or “reforestation,”[xxi] to justify the advent of Carbon Colonialism. [xxii]
UGANDA: Massive repression: 22,000 evicted
Over 22,000 peasants with land titles were violently evicted from the Mubende and Kiboga districts in Uganda to make way for the UK-based New Forests Company to plant trees, to earn carbon credits and, ultimately, to sell the timber.[xxiii] According to The New York Times, “New Forests Company (NFC), grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad.”[xxiv] The New York Times also reports that “…[V]illagers described gun-toting soldiers and an 8-year-old child, [Friday Mukamperezida], burning to death when his home was set ablaze by security officers.[xxv] New Forests Company is 20% owned by the HSBC bank, and investors in the project include the World Bank. Evicted successful farmers are reduced to becoming poorly paid plantation peons on the land they were evicted from. “Homeless and hopeless, Mr. Tushabe said he took a job with the company that pushed him out. He was promised more than $100 each month, he said, but received only about $30.”[xxvi] NFC has been certified under the Forest Stewardship Council since 2009.[xxvii]
KENYA: Threats to cultural survival
Despite Amnesty International’s recommendation to “stop immediately the practice of forced evictions,”[xxviii] as Kenya’s Mau Forest was made “ready” for a UNEP-funded REDD+ project, members of the Ogiek People suffered violent evictions, and Ogiek activists were attacked for protesting land grabs.[xxix] Minority Rights Group International includes the Ogiek People in their list of “Peoples Under Threat” from genocide, mass killings or violent repression[xxx] and this latest wave of evictions threatened the cultural survival of the Ogiek People. In March 2013, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued provisional measures to ensure that the Ogiek cannot be evicted while the case is before the court.[xxxi]
MOZAMBIQUE: Carbon Slavery
Envirotrade’s N'hambita Community Carbon Project,[xxxii] a REDD project in Mozambique, constitutes multi-generational carbon slavery. For seven years, farmers receive an annual payment for as little as $63 per family to plant and tend trees to offset pollution in Europe and the US, but the contract stipulates that they must continue to do so for 99 years. In the event that the farmers die, their children and their children’s children have to continue to take care of the trees for free.[xxxiii] The Africa Report calls the N’hambita project “a clear case of carbon slavery.”[xxxiv] Furthermore, farmers are “growing” carbon instead of growing food. According to Via Campesina, this can undermine food security in the area, as farmers will dedicate time, labor and land to trees instead of sustenance. According to REDD Monitor, one of the two founders of Envirotrade, Robin Birley, was denounced by the South African Truth and Conciliation Commission “for arming and training a paramilitary group that was involved in destabilizing South Africa’s first democratic election.” A warrant for his arrest was issued in relation to a stockpile of weapons obtained from Eugene de Kock, a colonel in the apartheid-era South African police. Birley was also “president of the Mozambique Institute in the early 1990s, which supported RENAMO, the South African-backed force that systematically committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the civil war in Mozambique.” The other founder of Envirotrade, Phillip Powell bankrolled the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s luxurious bail residence while his extradition from the United Kingdom was pending for charges of crimes against humanity. Nonetheless, the N’hambita Project has not been sanctioned but hailed as an inspiring model on the United Nations Rio+20 website[xxxv] and certified under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard’s Gold Level standard.[xxxvi]
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Servitude
According to “The DRC Case Study: The impacts of carbon sinks of Ibi-Batéké Project on the Indigenous Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo” published by the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, Batwa Pygmies suffer “servitude”[xxxvii]on the World Bank Ibi-Batéké Carbon Sink Plantation.[xxxviii]An employee of the project says “this must not be understood…as if it were slavery.”[xxxix] This REDD-type forest carbon plantation for fuel wood and charcoal is the DRC’s first Clean Development Projectand claims to contribute to sustainable development and climate change mitigation.[xl] The World Bank hails it as a model for all of Africa.[xli] However, Pygmy leaders have repeatedly denounced the World Bank for funding deforestation of their ancestral forests, which not only releases emissions but also violates their rights, leads to the destruction of their livelihood and causes social conflict.[xlii] Furthermore, according to “Advance Guard” published by the United Nations University,[xliii] “Indigenous Peoples’ rights, experiences, and cultural and spiritual traditions are being ignored. Nothing to ensure the Pygmy’s preliminary consent, which was mandated within the framework of the project, has been done since consultation began."
SELLING AFRICA’S AIR
The carbon market is estimated to eventually generate 1-3 trillion dollars a year.[xliv] In 2010, it was an estimated at $120.9 billion.[xlv] Two African carbon “stock markets” are already buying and selling “Made in Africa” carbon offsets: the African Carbon Exchange (ACX)”[xlvi] in Kenya and the African Carbon Credit Exchange (ACCE)[xlvii] in Zambia. These exchanges hope to profit from carbon offsets generated in Africa,[xlviii] be they under the Clean Development Mechanism[xlix] or REDD. In addition, there is an annual trade fair for selling African air called the African Carbon Forum.[l] There are also plans to create an exchange exclusively for African REDD credits in Senegal. The Anglo African Energy Group, notorious for its environmental destruction, “is looking to develop a Senegal-based exchange where the forestry offsets can be traded.”[li] Using Africa as a supposed sponge for its pollution suits the big polluting industrialized countries just fine. According to the Director of NASA, James Hansen, the world’s most distinguished climatologist, “industrialized countries could offset 24-69% of their emissions via the CDM and REDD… thus avoiding the necessary domestic cuts that are required to peak emissions around 2015 in line with avoiding dangerous climate change”[lii] and the incineration of Africa.[liii]
LIBERIA: Billion Dollar Carbon Scam
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf established a commission to investigate a proposed forest carbon credit deal between the West African nation's Forest Development Authority (FDA) and UK-based Carbon Harvesting Corporation, which aimed to secure around a fifth of Liberia's total forest area — 400,000 hectares — in a forest carbon concession. Police in London arrested Mike Foster, CEO of Carbon Harvesting Corporation, last week. Global Witness said the project potentially exposed the Liberian government to more than $2 billion in liabilities.[liv]
CHEVRON was sued for murder of Nigerians and does REDD with ARMED GUARDS in Brazil
Chevron was sued for participating in the murder, shooting and subsequent torture of Nigerian villagers engaging in environmental protest against the oil giant.[lv] For its destruction of the Amazon, Chevron was recently ordered by an Ecuadorian court to pay $19 billion in damages.[lvi] Now, Chevron uses armed guards for a REDD-type project in Brazil. Chevron, The Nature Conservancy, General Motors, American Electric Power and the Society for Wildlife Research and Environmental Education have implemented the Guaraqueçaba Climate Action Projectin the ancestral territory of Guarani People with uniformed armed guards called “Força Verde” or “Green Force” who intimidate and persecute local communities; jailing and shooting at people who go into the forest as well as forcibly entering and searching private homes without due authorization [lvii] “…[T]he project has caused devastating impacts on the local communities…”[lviii] and raises the specter of REDD militarization.
GREENWASHING SHELL’S ATROCITIES
Two of the biggest greenhouse polluters on the planet oil giants, Gazprom and Shell, infamous for the genocide of the Ogoni People and environmental destruction in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, bankroll the Rimba Raya REDD project in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.[lix] The project is also supported by the Clinton Foundation and approved by the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VSC) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA). Nnimmo Bassey, the former Director of Environmental Rights Action (FoE-Nigeria) and Winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize, says, “We have suffered Shell’s destruction of communities and biodiversity as well as oil spills and gas flaring for decades. Now we can add financing REDD for greenwash and profits to the long list of Shell’s atrocities.”[lx] Oilwatch recently denounced that Shell is trying to use REDD to “roast the planet.”[lxi] The Rimba Raya REDD project is more controversial than ever - even REDD promoters are fighting among themselves.[lxii] Meanwhile, Shell is buying up and renaming forests in Canada as “Shell Forests”[lxiii] and pretending to offset its pollution for its refinery in Martinez, California with forests in the state of Michigan. [lxiv]
NIGERIA: Persecution and criminalization of activists
REDD is already contributing to the persecution and criminalization of activists, including in Cross River State, Nigeria where the World Bank, UN-REDD and the State of California[lxv] intend to do REDD projects.[lxvi]Odey Oyama, Executive Director of the Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC) in Cross River State, Nigeria suffered harassment and intimidation from state security agents and had to flee his home for several weeks in the months of January and February 2013 for opposing REDD activities (aimed at extracting more forest estates from indigenous communities) and other similar land grab operations (e.g. for large scale plantation farming). “One of the activities placing me in confrontation with the Cross River State Government of Nigeria is my stand against the REDD programme. My reason for rejecting the REDD programme is because it is geared towards taking over the last vestiges of community forest that exist in Cross River State of Nigeria,” denounced Mr. Oyama.[lxvii]
UGANDA: Carbon colonialism
In Uganda, a carbon credit tree plantation project in the Mount Elgon National Park to absorb European pollution may have violently evicted as many as six thousand people,[lxviii] including the Indigenous Benet People,[lxix] and destroyed crops and homes. The project entailed the Dutch FACE Foundation[lxx] and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) proposing to plant 25,000 hectares of trees to supposedly offset emissions from air travel and a 600 MW coal-fired power station in the Netherlands.[lxxi] By 2006, only 8,500 hectares had been planted. Despite promises of employment, only a few seasonal jobs were created.
Evictions occurred both for the national park and for the carbon offset project.[lxxii] After one of the evictions, “the evicted people were forced to move to neighboring villages where they lived in caves and mosques.”[lxxiii] According to a report in a local newspaper, in 2004, “Park rangers killed more than 50 people.”[lxxiv] Local communities have suffered evictions, human rights violations, loss of land, food, (including the traditional fare malewa (bamboo shoots)), income and livelihood. In 2002, the contracted assessor of the carbon offset project, Société Générale de Surveillance Agrocontrol (SGS), stated that in order for the tree-planting project to continue, “more people will have to be evicted.” They even recommended that “more speed may be required to ensure the evictions are carried out successfully.”[lxxv] The evictions from the National Park continued while the project was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. [lxxvi]
According to World Rainforest Movement, “Villagers… have been beaten and shot at, have been barred from their land and have seen their livestock confiscated by armed park rangers guarding the ‘carbon trees’ inside the National Park… The ‘offset’ project sold carbon credits to Greenseat, a Dutch company with clients including Amnesty International, the British Council and the Body Shop.” [lxxvii] “[C]ommunities deliberately destroyed the trees – for them a symbol of their exclusion from land that was once theirs”[lxxviii] and planted corn to eat.[lxxix] In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of communities vindicating their rights to live on their land and continue to farm.[lxxx]
TANZANIA: Conflict and corruption
The Tanzanian government has been “called to resolve land quarrels between two villages of Muungano and Milola Magharibi in Lindi District after their residents threatened to fight each other over benefits from forests. Speaking to The Guardian in Lindi recently, the villagers said their land disputes erupted after the Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network (TCFCN) introduced a project on forest conservation in the area. The misunderstanding came to the surface after the organizers of the project announced that the village that will conserve a large area of the forest will get more money for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD).”[lxxxi] However, REDD isn’t just causing conflict in Tanzania, it is also rife with corruption as the scandal about Norwegian REDD funding vividly illustrates.[lxxxii]
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Losing rights to forests
Even Mickey Mouse is getting in on REDD. According to the World Rainforest Movement,[lxxxiii] the Walt Disney Company, Conservation International and Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International are promoting a REDD pilot project on the Tayna Gorilla Reserve (RGT) and the Kisimba-Ikobo Primate Reserve (RPKI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Kisimba and Ikobo, the REDD project is being developed against a backdrop of social conflicts sparked by opposition to the creation of the Kisimba-Ikobo Primate Reserve itself. The establishment of the reserve stripped local communities of their customary rights over the land and forests within its borders. Local communities such as the Bamate, Batangi and Bakumbule communities are losing their rights and control over their ancestral forests. Decisions related to the project are being made almost entirely without the knowledge of the local communities, who are supposedly meant to be the primary beneficiaries. Despite their right to free, prior and informed consent, communities may play only a marginal role in the decision-making process of the REDD project. The situation of women is even more troubling, because they are even less informed than the men and therefore cannot express any opinions or demands.
SENEGAL: REDD in the OCEAN? - Blue Carbon, Wet Carbon
REDD+-type projects are beginning to also be done in mangroves, wetlands, oceans and marine protected areas.[lxxxiv] Even whales have been cited as possible carbon sinks![lxxxv] UNEP’s Blue Carbon Initiative[lxxxvi] is quick to point out that the ocean stores about 93% of the planet's carbon dioxide[lxxxvii] and should be included in carbon trading. “Blue carbon” pretends to use the plankton, sea grasses, algae and mangroves of the ocean as carbon sinks to generate carbon credits. “Wet carbon” pretends to do something similar with wetlands. According to WWF, “in 2009, the Danone Fund for Nature, a partnership of the Danone Group, IUCN and Ramsar, launched an initiative to finance projects that preserve and restore wetlands – so-called wet carbon – to offset the carbon emissions of some of Danone’s brands (e.g. Evian). The fund has already supported a first pilot project for mangrove planting in Senegal.” [lxxxviii] So a company that privatizes and bottles drinking water is also privatizing water ecosystems. Blue Carbon: The Opportunity of Coastal Sinks for Africa shows that all of Africa whether it is land or sea or water may be used as a sponge for pollution.[lxxxix]
REDD AGRICULTURE: SOIL CARBON – Selling the Earth
REDD+ is not just done with forests and plantations,[xc] but with soils, fields and agriculture as well. Agricultural carbon offsets also called Climate Smart Agriculture could threaten communities, farms and food security, cause hunger and even make climate change worse. According to La Via Campesina, the world’s largest peasant movement, “soil carbon markets could also open the door to offsets for genetically modified crops and large-scale biochar land grabs,[xci] which would be a disaster for Africa. Africa is already suffering from a land grab epidemic – the race to control soils for carbon trading could only make this worse.”[xcii] “The voluntary soil carbon market will be just another space for financial speculation, and while farmers receive pennies, speculators will make any real profits. This is just another way for polluting industries and countries to evade real reductions in emissions. If we as farmers sign a soil carbon agreement we lose autonomy and control over our farming systems. Some bureaucrat on the other side of the world, who knows nothing about our soil, rainfall, slope, local food systems, family economy, etc., will decide what practices we should use or not use. It is inseparable from the neoliberal trend to convert absolutely everything (land, air, biodiversity, culture, genes, carbon, etc.) into capital, which in turn can be placed in some kind of speculative market.” [xciii]
Even organic farming and agroecology are now being used for carbon credits. The World Bank is promoting a carbon credits project in Kenya with 60,000 small-scale farmers to reduce pesticide use and encourage sustainable agricultural practices[xciv] and sell the resulting carbon credits. The United States government is urging polluters to buy carbon credits from African soil carbon projects.[xcv] According to the Global Alliance against REDD, Climate Smart Agriculture is dumb and could result in a counter-agrarian reform.[xcvi] The implications of Climate Smart Agriculture for peasants and food sovereignty include the expropriation not just of land, but the commodification, perversion, privatization and patenting of entire sustainable and organic agricultural knowledge systems.[xcvii] It is also a way to divert attention from the massive carbon emissions produced by industrial farming and agribusiness, especially in the North, and place the burden of reducing emissions on peasants in the South.[xcviii]
According to the Gaia Foundation, “Farming carbon credits is a con for Africa.” [xcix] REDD Agriculture could be particularly bad for women who grow as much as 80% of food in some African countries. The Assembly of Rural Women of Southern Africa wasted no time in condemning REDD+ and the use of soils as carbon sinks. Furthermore, “the aim to expand carbon markets onto African soil is thus about shifting the blame and responsibility for addressing climate change from rich countries onto African farmers, even though they are not the ones who have caused it.”
[i] REDD-type projects are not necessarily official REDD projects but they are relevant to understanding potential impacts of REDD insofar as they involve forest or agricultural carbon credits.
[ii] Huntington News, Launch of Indigenous Peoples Guide – False Solutions to Climate Change , See section on REDD http://archives.huntingtonnews.net/columns/090422-staff-columnsclimatechange.html
[iv] Mugo Mugo , Patrick Africa for Sale: The Land Grab Landmine, “Professor Noble, a research associate in food security and community development, blames the land rush on the increasing demand to acquire fertile land by a corporate global minority seeking bio-fuel crops and the new frontier; the need for carbon credits has now turned into a lucrative business.” http://www.monitor.upeace.org/innerpg.cfm?id_article=877
Peasant Studies Journal on Green Grabbing http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fjps20/39/2#.UgWoWEbvx0t
[v] Rights and Resources International, African land grabs hinder sustainable development,” Of the 203 million hectares of land deals reported worldwide between 2000 and 2010, two-thirds were in Africa. The acquisitions are dispossessing millions of Africans of their land, to make way for expansive forestry and mineral projects and plantations…”“The global report shows the scale of the issue as never before: three-quarters of Africa’s population and two-thirds of the landscape are at risk,” says Andy White, who coordinates the RRI.” “But international efforts at sustainable development are also threatening these areas. Biofuels are made from crops that are often planted on former forest or marsh land, and carbon-offset projects can result in the eviction of inhabitants of wooded areas that are bought up in exchange for carbon credits. Although the official carbon market made little progress in last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, the voluntary carbon market is still dispossessing local custodians of their lands. For example, Green Resources, a forestry company based in Oslo, has bought up hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests in Mozambique, threatening the food security and livelihoods of local populations by denying them access to their traditional lands and food sources. The company has also expanded to Uganda, Tanzania and southern Sudan. A Dutch firm’s carbon-offset project in Uganda’s Mount Elgon National Park became unmarketable after sustained conflict with local farmers who contest the group's right to the land.” http://www.nature.com/news/african-land-grabs-hinder-sustainable-development-1.9955
[vi] “REDD+ is now driving a race for land in Mozambique…The map below represents areas where a company with British capital wants to ‘invest’ in REDD+ projects. The total area identified is 150 000 Km2, equivalent to 15 million ha or 19% of the country’s surface. The selection of areas for this private ‘investment’ was based on the proposed REDD+ pilots… Am I witnessing the creation of generations of landless people in Mozambique and Africa in general?” International Institute for Environment and Development, Nhantumbo, Isilda, REDD+ in Mozambique: new opportunity for land grabbers? http://www.iied.org/blogs/redd-mozambique-new-opportunity-for-land-grabbers
[vii] McAfee, Kathleen The Contradictory Logic of Global Ecosystem Services Markets , “Application in international conservation policy of the market model, in which profit incentives depend upon differential opportunity costs, will entail a net upward redistribution of wealth from poorer to wealthier classes and from rural regions to distant centres of capital accumulation, mainly in the global North.”
Bracking, Sarah, How do Investors Value Environmental Harm/Care? Private Equity Funds, Development Finance Institutions and the Partial Financialization of Nature-based Industries, “Private equity funds, mostly domiciled in secrecy jurisdictions, are dominant investors in the resource-based economies of Africa. Some of the investments that these funds make have been speculative and based on perceived high-value ‘futures’ in biodiversity, bio-fuels and land, carbon capture or strategic minerals. However, private equity funds are also heavily invested in mining, energy and infrastructure, which also generate wealth from the non-human world; ‘old’ markets alongside the ‘new’ markets for discovered nature-based commodities…[T]hese calculative devices assist in legitimizing private equity funds as institutional leaders in pre-existing power structures which exploit natural resources in Africa for the benefit of money-holders. These propositions roughly correspond to the technical, empirical and theoretical dimensions of a socio-technical arrangement applying to nature-based accumulation, which, overall, performs a political process of
[viii] Global Justice Ecology Project, Timberwatch et al, No REDD papers, volume 1, The REDD+ Trojan Horse, “If REDD-style schemes are allowed to be imposed on African forestland, fields and grasslands, it could mean the economic subjugation of the entire continent...REDD and CDM schemes will probably be no more than a form of re-colonisation, and the final drive to commodify the remaining spaces of Africa left in indigenous hands after the first round of formal colonialism.” http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/sites/thecornerhouse.org.uk/files/No%20REDD%20papers%20One.pdf
[ix] McAfee, Kathleen The Contradictory Logic of Global Ecosystem Services Markets, “Commodification and transnational trading of ecosystem services is the most ambitious iteration yet of the strategy of ‘selling nature to save it’. The World Bank and UN agencies contend that global carbon markets can slow climate change while generating resources for development. Consonant with ‘inclusionary’ versions of neoliberal development policy, advocates assert that international payment for ecosystem services (PES) projects, financed by carbon-offset sales and biodiversity banking, can benefit the poor. However, the World Bank also warns that a focus on poverty reduction can undermine efficiency in conservation spending. The experience of ten years of PES illustrates how, in practice, market-efficiency criteria clash directly with poverty-reduction priorities. Nevertheless, the premises of market-based PES are being extrapolated as a model for global REDD programmes financed by carbon-offset trading. This article argues that the contradiction between development and conservation observed in PES is inevitable in projects framed by the asocial logic of neoclassical economics. Application in international conservation policy of the market model, in which profit incentives depend upon differential opportunity costs, will entail a net upward redistribution of wealth from poorer to wealthier classes and from rural regions to distant centres of capital accumulation, mainly in the global North.”
[x] “The mere prospect of deforestation credits being recognized in a new US climate bill has been enough to spark a REDD land grab in Central Africa.” Point Carbon, Firms Targets US Buyers with African REDD credits, 20 July 2009 http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.1166150 Massive carbon scam alleged in Liberia “Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf established a commission investigate a proposed forest carbon credit deal between the West African nation's Forest Development Authority (FDA) and UK-based Carbon Harvesting Corporation, reports Global Witness… which aimed to secure around a fifth of Liberia's total forest area — 400,000 hectares — in a forest carbon concession. Police in London arrested Mike Foster, CEO of Carbon Harvesting Corporation, last week.” http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0610-carbon_scam_liberia.html
[xi] Africans Unite against New Form of Colonialism http://bailiffafrica.org/africans-unite-against-new-form-of-colonialism-no-redd-network-born/
[xii]Carbon traders want access to 1/3 of Mozambique under REDD+ – but MICOA says no
“Carbon trading companies have applied for rights over one-third of Mozambique, to sell carbon credits generated by emissions reductions caused by reduced deforestation. But the Ministry of Environment (MICOA, Ministério para Coordenação da Acção Ambiental) is resisting pressure from companies, the Council of Ministers, and the World Bank to speed the process.” http://www.cip.org.mz/bulletin/en/ On August27, 2013 the legislation that will allow the implementation of REDD+ projects in Mozambique was being approved in a session of the Council of Ministers session.
[xiii] These may be conservative estimates. There is at least 8,905,978 hectares or 89,059.78 km sq of REDD-type projects that are active, proposed or have been completed in Cameroon. Cameroon has 199,160 km sq of forests, so the area affected by REDD-type projects is 44.7% of Cameroon’s forests. Cameroon is 475,442 km sq so the area affected by REDD-type projects is at least 18.7% of the national territory.
[xiv] Mongabay, Carbon Scam in Liberia http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0610-carbon_scam_liberia.html
[xv] REDD Monitor, Shift2Neutral’s big REDD deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo http://www.redd-monitor.org/2010/08/27/shift2neutrals-big-redd-deal-in-the-democratic-republic-of-congo/
[xvi] Although the contract was subsequently declared illegal and void, this incident serves to illustrate the dishonesty and ambition of some carbon traders. REDD Monitor, Shift2Neutral Agreement in DRC “illegal” http://www.redd-monitor.org/2010/10/06/shift2neutral-agreement-in-dr-congo-illegal/
[xvii] “Existing large-scale plantations in Niassa and Nampula are also taking advantage of REDD+ and the Clean Development Mechanism, by seeking to certify the plantations as carbon sinks.” International Institute for Environment and Development, Nhantumbo, Isilda, REDD+ in Mozambique: new opportunity for land grabbers? http://www.iied.org/blogs/redd-mozambique-new-opportunity-for-land-grabbers
[xviii] REDD for Communities and Forests et al, A one-step guide to making the national REDD strategy more pro-poor , “The draft National REDD strategy justifies the classification of 49 % of forests as being on general land by stating that, ‘General Land as used here means all public land which is not reserved or village land including unoccupied or unused village land.’ On the same page, the strategy also states, ‘Forests in General Land are ‘open access’, characterized by unsecured land tenure, shifting cultivation, annual wild fires, harvesting of wood fuel, poles and timber, and heavy pressure for conversion to other competing land uses, such as agriculture, livestock grazing, settlements and industrial development. ’Confusingly, in these two definitions, land that communities use for agriculture, harvesting of wood products, grazing and even settlement is defined as ‘unused’.” http://climatecapacity.org/files/RC%20REDD%20and%20forestry/Tanz_Policy_Brief_Land_Issues_REDD.pdf
[xix] The Ecologist, Lack of forest definition ‘major obstacle’ in fight to protect rainforests , “In the second in our series examining REDD we report how ambiguous forest definitions are putting the future success of forest protection schemes in doubt and allowing logging companies to destroy biodiverse habitats - The current lack of a working definition of what degraded forest or land is ‘plays into the hands’ of logging companies, say forest campaigners. The companies claim to responsibly develop ‘only on degraded land’, but in reality this can actually mean they are clearing forests and peatlands.” http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/640908/lack_of_forest_definition_major_obstacle_in_fight_to_protect_rainforests.html “Over 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found within Indigenous peoples’ lands and territories Indigenous peoples represent approximately 350 million individuals in the world and make up approximately 90% of the world’s cultural diversity. We use our highly specialized, traditional knowledge to care for and conserve the interconnected web or “Circle of Life” known as “biodiversity.” Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism http://www.ipcb.org/issues/agriculture/htmls/2003/ien_food_sec.html Conversation International, REDD+, “Two immediate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are to halt the destruction of remaining tropical forests and to plant trees in degraded areas.” http://www.conservation.org/learn/climate/solutions/mitigation/Pages/climate_REDD.aspx Redd Forests Pty ltd is a “profit for purpose” business designed to apply commercially viable methodologies to replace activities which degrade or destroy the world’s forests http://www.reddforests.com/
[xx] Dowie, Mark, Conservation Refugees -When protecting nature means kicking people out http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/161/
[xxi] Friends of the Earth International, REDD Myths, http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2008/redd-myths
[xxii] The term Carbon Colonialism may have been first coined by Harald Eraker in his report Carbon Colonialism: Norwegian Tree Plantations, Carbon Credits and Land Conflicts in Uganda www.norwatch .no/download-document/19- co2lonialism.html http://www.fivh.no/norwatch/english/Reports/uganda.htm This may lead to a new form of colonialism.”- Trygve Refsdal, advisor to the Ugandan forest authorities, quoted by Harald Eraker, April 2000
[xxiii] The Guardian, (2011) Ugandan farmer: 'My land gave me everything. Now I'm one of the poorest' http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/22/uganda-farmer-land-gave-me-everything The Wall Street Journal, (2011) African Land Acquisitions Comes Under Scrutiny http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904563904576584673419328758.html
[xxiv] New York Times, (2011) In Uganda, Losing Land to Planted Trees – Slide Show http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/09/22/world/africa/22uganda-3.html
[xxv] New York Times, In Scramble for Land, Group Says, Company Pushed Ugandans Out http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/22/world/africa/in-scramble-for-land-oxfam-says-ugandans-were-pushed-out.html?_r=1
[xxvii] REDD Monitor, Ugandan farmers kicked off their land for New Forests Company’s carbon project http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/09/23/ugandan-farmers-kicked-off-their-land-for-new-forests-companys-carbon-project/#more-9681
[xxviii] Amnesty International: Kenya: Nowhere to Go: Forced Evictions in Mau Forest “Incidents of forced evictions have been reported in different areas of the Mau Forest since 2004, affecting thousands of families.” http://www.amnesty.org/fr/library/info/AFR32/006/2007 p.1-2
[xxix] See: International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (2011), Kenya’s ‘Forest People’ in Bitter Fight for their Ancestral Homes, April 15 2011.
Minority Rights Group International (2011), Minority Rights Group Condemns Targeted Attacks on Ogiek Activists, March 7, 2011.
First Peoples International (2011), In new Kenya, old guard ‘land-grabbers’ attack key leaders -Ogiek land activists survive assaults.
Interim Coordinating Secretariat, Office of the Prime Minister on behalf of the Government of Kenya, Rehabilitation of the Mau Forest Ecosystem.
Los Angeles Times (2010), Kenyan tribe slowly driven off its ancestral lands.
Survival International (2010), Kenyan tribe’s houses torched in Mau Forest eviction 8 April 2010.
REDD Monitor (2009), Ogiek threatened with eviction from Mau Forest.
[xxx] The Standard http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=1144018627&catid=16&a=1
[xxxi] African Court issues historic ruling protecting rights of Kenya’s Ogiek Community http://www.minorityrights.org/11822/press-releases/african-court-issues-historic-ruling-protecting-rights-of-kenyas-ogiek-community.html
[xxxii] Also referred to as the Sofala Comunity Carbon Project www.forestcarbonportal.com/projects
[xxxiii] Mozambique : Carbon Trading and REDD+: farmers ‘grow’ carbon for the benefit of polluters
[xxxv] Commission on Sustainable Development Rio+20 website: http://uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&type=998nr=328menu=62
[xxxvi] “The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) say it meets their Gold Level standard for project design.” http://www.fern.org/sites/fern.org/files/Nhambita_internet.pdf Sofala Community Carbon Project. Project Design Document. According to CCB and Plan Vivo Standards. April 2010. https://s3.amazonaws.com/CCBA/Projects/Sofala_
[xxxvii] International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, “Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: Vulnerabilities, Adaptation, and Responses to Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol,” (2007) Makelo, S., “The DRC Case Study: the impacts of carbon sinks of Ibi-Batéké Project on the indigenous Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo” p.45-74 especially 62-64 http://www.international-alliance.org/documents/Climate%20Change%20-%20DRC.pdf The human rights violations against Pygmies are grave throughout the country. See “Pygmies beg UN for aid to save them from Congo cannibals” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article1135111.ece
[xxxviii] World Bank “DRC Ibi Bateke Carbon Sink Plantation” http://wbcarbonfinance.org/Router.cfm?Page=Projport&ProjID=43647 World Bank documents claim no Indigenous Peoples affected on pages 4 and 8 http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2009/06/04/000333037_20090604015605/Original/487470ISDS0rev1i0Bateke0Box338924B0.doc Four million dollar investment from World Bank Carbon Finance: http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?Projectid=P096414&Type=Financial&theSitePK=40941&pagePK=64330670&menuPK=64282135&piPK=64302772 Forest Carbon Inventory Project http://www.forestcarbonportal.com/inventory_project.php?item=294
[xxxix] International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, “Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: Vulnerabilities, Adaptation, and Responses to Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol,” (2007) Makelo, S., “The DRC Case Study: the impacts of carbon sinks of Ibi-Batéké Project on the indigenous Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo” p.64 http://www.international-alliance.org/documents/Climate%20Change%20-%20DRC.pdf
[xl] Reuters: World Bank to buy carbon credit from Congo Project http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE57409I20090805
[xli] World Bank, Congo community to use carbon payments to put kids through school http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCARBONFINANCE/Resources/Ibi_Bateke_registration_DRC_final.pdf
[xlii] World Bank Inspection Panel - Request for Inspection from Pygmy Organization for harm caused by World Bank funding to forestry sector in DRC http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/files/Congo_CDR__NoR.pdf
[xliii] McLean, Kristy Gallowy, “Advance Guard, Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, Mitigation and Indigenous Peoples”, p.45 http://www.unutki.org/downloads/File/Publications/UNU_Advance_Guard_Compendium_2010_final_web.pdf
[xliv] Public Radio International, http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=09-P13-00023&segmentID=3
[xlv] Think Africa, Mar 24, 2011 http://thinkafricapress.com/environment/commodification-kenya-africa-carbon-exchange
[xlvi] The Africa Carbon Exchange: the Commodification of the Environment - Kenya opens Africa's first carbon exchange, Beatrice Gachenge, Think Africa, Mar 24, 2011 http://thinkafricapress.com/environment/commodification-kenya-africa-carbon-exchange
[xlix] At the UNFCCC COP17 in December 2011, there was no political will to create a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, the only existing mandatory legally binding framework for greenhouse gas emissions reductions (though fundamentally flawed by major loopholes and the inclusion of carbon trading). However, COP17 does allow for the continuation and even expansion of the Clean Development Mechanism, a carbon trading mechanism that essentially outsources the industrialized countries obligation to reduce emissions at source, to the Global South. So COP17 preserved the shell of the Kyoto Protocol devoid of commitments for GHG reductions targets, to increase the CDM, many of whose projects have already caused human rights violations and environmental destruction. See the section on Snapshots of Carbon Colonialism in Indigenous Peoples’ Guide: False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Environmental Network
http://www.earthpeoples.org/CLIMATE CHANGE/Indigenous Peoples Guide-E.pdf
[l] African Carbon Forum 2013 “is a trade fair and knowledge sharing platform for carbon investments in Africa. It is a place to discuss the latest development in the carbon market and how the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and other mitigation mechanisms can be successful in Africa. The Africa Carbon Forum includes matchmaking and deal facilitation sessions where carbon project developers can showcase their projects to investors and carbon buyers.” http://africanclimate.net/en/node/7166
[li] Firm targets US buyers with African REDD credits, Point Carbon Published: 20 Jul 2009 19:59 CET
[lii] James Hansen, Director de NASA, http://solveclimate.com/blog/20090710/g8-failure-reflects-congress-failure-write-effective-climate-policy
[liii] The Incineration of Africa “Science says that Africa's geo-physical characteristics make it liable to warm up one-and-half times the global average. Any more warming beyond a critical threshold will in the words of the Ambassador Lumumba Di- Aping of Sudan, then Chair of G77, result in the ‘incineration of Africa’,” warns African Agenda.” http://www.socialwatch.org/node/13887
[liv] Mongabay, Carbon Scam in Liberia http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0610-carbon_scam_liberia.html
[lv] Bowoto v. Chevron: International Human Rights Litigation, Fact Sheet, Earth Rights International and Center for Constitutional Rights, Justice in Nigeria Now http://justiceinnigeria.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/chevron_first-they-poisoned.pdf
[lvi] Ecuadorian Court orders Chevron to pay $17 billion, Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/15/ecuadoran_court_orders_chevron_to_pay
Chevron-Texaco wants Ecuadorian People to Pay for the Pollution it caused, “…the sentence was ratified and the multinational was ordered to pay 19 billion dollars.” Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana, www.cacilleria.gob.ec, September 2013
[lvii] PBS/Frontline World, Carbon Watch, Centre for Investigative Journalism http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/carbonwatch/moneytree/ REDD Monitor, Injustice on the carbon frontier in Guaraqueçaba, Brazil http://www.redd-monitor.org/2009/11/06/injustice-on-the-carbon-frontier-in-guaraquecaba-brazil/ Mother Jones, GM’s Money Trees http://motherjones.com/environment/2009/11/gms-money-trees National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC, Fall 2011 Conversations with the Earth, http://www.conversationsearth.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=35&Itemid=5&88c60d09cbeb0c0f5ab56c802eeadb5c=d2fc690bda16802103d60a27ea8bed21
[lviii] World Rainforest Movement, Forest carbon project in Paraná, Brazil: Reduction of deforestation and persecution of local communities http://wrm.org.uy/
[lix] REDD Monitor, (2010) Shell REDD project slammed by Indigenous Environmental Network and Friends of the Earth Nigeria http://www.redd-monitor.org/2010/09/08/indigenous-environmental-network-and-friends-of-the-earth-nigeria-denounce-shell-redd-project/
[lxi] Oilwatch, California, Don’t let Shell Roast the Planet! http://www.oilwatchafrica.org/content/california-don%E2%80%99t-let-shell-roast-planet
[lxii] REDD Monitor http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/07/30/steve-zwick-should-withdraw-his-analysis-and-apologize-greenomics-indonesia-responds-to-ecosystem-marketplaces-rimba-raya-article/#more-14235
[lxiii] Shell buys, renames forest http://www.ab-conservation.com/go/default/index.cfm/media/in-the-news1/shell-buys-renames-forest/
[lxiv] Reuters Point Carbon, Shell to buy 500,000 California forest carbon credits http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2224348
[lxv] Al Jazeera, Will California fall into the REDD Trap? http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/20135613232989660.html “The spread and diversity of the groups standing against California REDD stems from the fact that this may unlock an avalanche of REDD-type projects around the world.”
[lxvi] REDD Monitor, No REDD in Africa Network opposes inclusion of REDD Offsets in California’s Cap-and-Trade http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/05/04/no-redd-in-africa-network-opposes-inclusion-of-redd-offsets-in-californias-cap-and-trade-scheme/
[lxviii] Conservation and Society, Conservation is sexy! What makes this so, and what does this make? An engagement with Celebrity and the environment On page 336 Sian Sullivan suggests that 6,000 people were evicted for the UWA-FACE project: http://www.conservationandsociety.org/article.asp?issn=0972-4923;year=2011;volume=9;issue=4;spage=334;epage=345;aulast=Sullivan However, some researchers argue that Sian Sullivan’s estimate is somewhat low since related lawsuits involved a total of 2923 households, in one of the most densely populated rural areas of East Africa, where average household sizes range from 5-10 persons.
[lxix] Chris Lang, Uganda: FSC fails to uphold Indigenous Peoples’ Rights at Mount Elgon , http://chrislang.org/2006/12/29/uganda-fsc-fails-to-uphold-indigenous-peoples-rights-at-mount-elgon/
[lxx] FACE stands for Forest Absorbing Carbon-dioxide Emissions. The FACE Foundation was set up in 1990 by the Dutch Electricity Generation Board.
Since 2006 - after the publicity about what was happening at Mount Elgon, FACE Foundation changed its name to Face the Future (http://face-thefuture.com). The Mount Elgon project is no longer listed on the Face the Future website.
[lxxi] IPS, Uganda Carbon Trading Scheme Pushing People off the Land http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/09/uganda-carbon-trading-scheme-pushing-people-off-their-land/
Additional sources on this project:
Counterpunch, Double Jeopardy – Carbon Offsets and Human Rights Abuses, Melissa Checker http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/09/09/double-jeopardy-carbon-offsets-and-human-rights-abuses/
Anthropene Conservation, Connor Cavanagh http://brage.bibsys.no/umb/bitstream/URN:NBN:no-bibsys_brage_33376/1/Cavanagh%20%282012%29%20-%20Anthropocene%20Conservation.pdf
Kevin Smith, et al., The Carbon-Neutral Myth: Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins, www.carbontradewatch.org
[lxxii] According to Chris Lang’s Uganda: FSC fails to uphold Indigenous Peoples’ Rights at Mount Elgon , “FACE Foundation’s tree planting inside the boundary of the national park cannot be separated from the management of the national park.”http://chrislang.org/2006/12/29/uganda-fsc-fails-to-uphold-indigenous-peoples-rights-at-mount-elgon/ It is very difficult, if not impossible, to separate the evictions for conservation from the evictions for carbon offsetting. The original UWA-FACE plantations were on officially conserved land; thus, the re-territorialization of the national park and the implementation of the carbon offsetting project were always mutually complimentary goals. In the early 1990s, funding from UWA-FACE was complimented by a US$ 30 million USAID grant to allow Uganda to regain control over its protected areas, which may also have been a significant driver of evictions.
[lxxiii] New Vision: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/26/8796
[lxxiv] New Vision http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/17/369170
According to the World Rainforest Movement report, A Funny Place to Store Carbon, “In June 2004, 15 MPs from around Mount Elgon appealed to the government to de-gazette the boundaries of Mount Elgon National Park. The MPs, from Kabarole, Kapchorwa, Kibale, Kisoro, Mbale and Sironko districts, met deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. They told her that more than 50 people had been killed by UWA and they requested that the park monitoring role be handed over to the National Forest Authority, which is less militarised. “The boundaries were made unilaterally, displacing over 10,000 people. The wildlife people who operate there are very militarised, and have killed over fifty people. People feel that the Government favours animals more than the people,” said David Wakikona (Manjiya), after the meeting.” http://chrislang.org/2006/12/30/a-funny-place-to-store-carbon-chapter-3/
[lxxv] Uprooted, Timothy Byakola and Chris Lang, http://chrislang.org/2006/07/08/uprooted/
[lxxvi] Uganda Thousands of Indigenous Peoples Evicted from the FSC-certified Mount Elgon National Park http://chrislang.org/2008/06/27/uganda-thousands-of-indigenous-people-evicted-from-fsc-certified-mount-elgon-national-park/ (According to a search of currently valid FSC certificates in Uganda on info.fsc.org the Mount Elgon project is no longer FSC certified.)
[lxxvii] World Rainforest Movement, report ‘A funny place to store carbon: UWA-FACE Foundation’s tree planting project in Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda’ www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Uganda/book.html
[lxxviii] New Internationalist, Uprooted, Timothy Byakola and Chris Lang, http://chrislang.org/2006/07/08/uprooted/
It is important to note that local people have mobilized (and continue to mobilize) themselves to contest these evictions with a variety of means – in other words, they are far from being passive victims. The most obvious examples are three large civil cases before the High Court in Mbale, in which several thousand people now seek compensation for the land and property lost during evictions. They also employ various ‘weapons of the weak’ to subvert conservation and damage to their livelihoods.
See Confronting Conservation at Mount Elgon, Uganda Linda Norgrove and David Hulme http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-7660.2006.00514.x/abstract
[lxxix] Fortune magazine, http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/27/news/international/uganda_carbon_trading.fortune/index.htm
[lxxx] Chris Lang, Uganda: FSC fails to uphold Indigenous Peoples’ Rights at Mount Elgon , http://chrislang.org/2006/12/29/uganda-fsc-fails-to-uphold-indigenous-peoples-rights-at-mount-elgon/
[lxxxi] IPP Media, Lindi villagers threaten to fight over REDD money http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=55158
[lxxxii] REDD Monitor, More Corruption Involving Norwegian REDD Funding http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/02/06/more-corruption-involving-norwegian-redd-funding-in-tanzania/#more-13445
REDD corruption is also a major issue in the Democratic Republic of Congo where 30% of the DRC’s forests may have been on the verge of being signed away for REDD. Norway, REDD and Corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/01/23/norway-redd-and-corruption-in-dr-congo-risks-of-corruption-will-threaten-the-implementation-of-redd-in-drc/
[lxxxiii] Democratic Republic of Congo Conservation International REDD pilot project: a different kind of Disney production, Belmond Tchoumba, CRAFE, published by World Rainforest Movement (see http://www.wrm.org.uy/subjects/REDD/DRC_REDD_en.pdf)
[lxxxiv] Marine Protected Areas and Ecosystem Services, Katoomba Group, World Bank, corporations and Ecosystems Marketplace http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/article.page.php?page_id=7439§ion=news_articles&eod=1
[lxxxvi] Blue Carbon Portal http://bluecarbonportal.org/
[lxxxvii] The Mercury, Between the devil and the deep blue sea, October 20, 2009 Edition 1
[lxxxviii] WWF, Feasibility Study: Sustainable Financing of Protected Areas in Mozambique, page 25.
[lxxxix] Chevallier, R. 2012. Blue Carbon: The Opportunity of Coastal Sinks for Africa. Policy Briefing 59, Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme, SAIIA. http://bluecarbonportal.org/?p=9172
[xc] Deforestation and oil palm in Congo Basin:
[xci] Biofuelswatch, “ Slash and Burn,” biochar and REDD in the Democratic Republic of Congo, http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/12/06/guest-post-slash-and-burn-biochar-and-redd-in-dr-congo-and-cameroon/
“One of the most obvious problems with biochar is that vast monocultures of fast-growing tree plantations would be needed to provide the raw material if biochar were to be implemented on a large scale. Peter Reed, an energy lecturer in New Zealand, coined the word biochar in 2005. He reckons that an area of 1.4 billion hectares should be enough. That’s a little more than the total area of arable landin the world.But there are other problems with biochar, even when it is applied on a small scale. Biofuelwatch describes a two-year biochar pilot project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is supposed to “replace slash-and-burn farming with a system that uses bio-char”. The post is based in part on research recently carried out by researcher Benoit Anthony Ndameu and Biofuelwatch into a biochar project in Cameroon: “Biochar Fund Trials in Cameroon: Hype and Unfulfilled Promises…
In May 2009, the Congo Basin Forest Fund announced the first and so far only REDD-related grant for the use of biochar, i.e. fine-grained charcoal added to agricultural soils. The €338,000 grant went towards a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo called “Phasing out Slash-and-Burn farming with Bio-char”. The project was initiated by a Belgian-based ‘social profit organisation’ called Biochar Fund, together with a local partner organisation, ADAPEL. According to the Congo Basin Forest Fund’s (CBFF) website, the project will “replace slash-and-burn farming” because biochar,’maintains soil fertility and constitutes a stable and easily measurable carbon sink. Bio-char thus enriches the soil and makes it more productive, which lessens the pressure to encroach on forest land. Using crop residues to produce bio-char also generates renewable energy in a low-cost manner, and this reduces local dependency on firewood.’ None of those claims have been borne out by scientific field trials…The CBFF biochar grant was not only a ‘first’ as far as biochar funding is concerned – it is also the only CBFF grant to support a technology or practice claimed to sequester carbon in soils. Carbon credits for soil carbon sequestration are one of the aims pursued by the World Bank in Durban and beyond.
[xcii] La Via Campesina, Call to Durban, http://climate-connections.org/2011/09/09/la-via-campesina-call-to-durban/
[xciv] World Bank Carbon Finance, More than Hot Air http://wbcarbonfinance.org/docs/Mor_ThanHotAir.pdf
The Gaia Foundation, Teresa Anderson, Farming Carbon Credits a Con for Africa http://www.climate-justice-now.org/farming-credits-a-con-for-africa-and-the-many-faces-of-climate-smart-agriculture/
[xcvii] Just like the right of a farm to call itself organic was commodified, privatized and expropriated by the United States Department of Agriculture for agribusiness under the guise of regulating and certifying organic products.
[xcviii] Clear as Mud, Why agriculture and soils should not be included in carbon offset schemes, The Gaia Foundation, April 2011
[xcix] The Gaia Foundation, Teresa Anderson, Farming Carbon Credits a Con for Africa http://www.climate-justice-now.org/farming-credits-a-con-for-africa-and-the-many-faces-of-climate-smart-agriculture/