BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA / BRASILIA, BRAZIL / PARIS, FRANCE, 2 December 2015 – National measures announced by Brazil last week will frustrate plans by California and other U.S. states to purchase forest-based carbon offset credits from Acre and other Amazon states.

The announcement is celebrated by Friends of the Earth International and social movements in Brazil as a positive step in limiting the scope of global carbon markets. [1]

On November 27, Brazil published an official decree establishing its framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (known as REDD+) framework in which it states that Brazilian “REDD+ results-based payments and their respective titles will not be allowed to be used as carbon credits, directly or indirectly, to reach mitigation pledges by other countries in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)” and that “those titles will not generate rights or credits of any nature.” [2]

Brazil’s decision to ban the sale of international REDD+ credits on the eve of the UN Climate Summit is a clear rejection of the hopes of some northern states and carbon speculators that it will put the world’s largest tropical forest area on the global carbon market.

For Friends of the Earth International – the world’s largest grassroots environmental network – Brazil’s decision reinforces social movement efforts to reject carbon markets, REDD+ offsets, and other means by which Northern governments hope to evade their historic responsibilities.

Carbon offsets, sometimes referred to as pollution permits, are widely seen as a loophole for polluters, that merely displace emissions rather than as a legitimate form of emissions reductions. They lead to the financialization of nature and human rights violations when the unjust burden to compensate carbon emission falls on forest peoples [3].

“Yes, industrialized countries need to support Southern countries to prevent deforestation and adapt to runaway climate change – but international carbon markets are an unjust and unreliable source of financing to meet this need,” said Jeff Conant, senior international forest campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S.

The announcement comes just as California’s Air Resources Board has been poised to include REDD+ offsets from Acre and other tropical jurisdictions in its Cap and Trade program as a way to meet emissions reduction targets by purchasing credits from abroad. [4] Many environmental and environmental justice organizations in California are strongly opposed to the idea.

“By frustrating California’s hopes of expanding its carbon market,” Conant continued, “we hope Brazil’s announcement will increase the pressure for the state to take real measures to transition away from fossil fuels and to prevent tropical forest destruction by reducing consumption of Amazon crude, palm oil and other destructive commodities.”

“This measure is coherent with what the Brazilian government has said in dialogues with civil society, and responds to our concerns of the possibility of double carbon accounting in Brazil’s intended contributions (INDC) at the UNFCCC,” said Lucia Ortiz of Friends of the Earth Brazil.

“However, at the national level we’ll keep fighting against carbon markets and forest offset mechanisms such as those created by the 2012 New Forest Law. Forest offsets tend to allow multiple payments for a single area of natural forests, to finance expansion of industrial tree plantations, and to increase land prices and territorial conflicts in the Amazon, even as the construction of large dams and the exploitation of fossil fuels continues to devastate the region and the global climate,” Ortiz said.

“Carbon markets, REDD+, biodiversity offsetting and other false solutions are not beneficial to fight climate change or to protect forest peoples. On the contrary, they benefit polluters and lead to territorial conflicts” added Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International Forest and Biodiversity program coordinator.

“It’s clearly time we put the management of forests back in the hands of the communities who have managed them sustainably for generations,” said Rojas. “False solutions like REDD+ cause incalculable harm. Community forest management is a collection of methodologies representing centuries of wisdom working with nature. Community forest management is climate-, biodiversity- and people-friendly.” [5]

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Isaac Rojas (in Paris) Friends of the Earth International Forest and Biodiversity program coordinator: (in Paris from 6-12 Dec); +59899621591 or +50683383204 isaac [at] coecoceiba.org

Lucia Ortiz, Friends of the Earth Brazil: +55 48 9915 0071; lucia [at] natbrasil.org.br

Jeff Conant, Friends of the Earth U.S.: +1 510 900 0016; jconant [at] foe.org

Friends of the Earth International media line: +31 6 51 00 56 30 or +33 6 07 10 45 09 (in Paris from 29 Nov-12 Dec); media [at] foei.org

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] The Belém Letter Group statement can be found on their website.

[2] The Brazilian Decree about National Commission on REDD+ can be found on this website.

[3] The Report about Green Economy and Human Rights Violation in Acre can be found here.

[4] The CARB white paper on sector-based forest offsets can be found here.

[5] The new FoEI report on Community Forest Management can be found here.