14 Dec 2008
How climate change agreement will kill your kids!
The carbon offset principle at the heart of the global framework of climate change action will allow polluters in Britain to continue polluting if they fund rainforest 'conservation'.
However the 'conservation' involves stealing the rainforests from indigenous people and logging it!
From the people who invented biofuels more ways of 'conserving' the environment which destroy it...the real point being economic growth and business as usual even though it is going to kill us all!
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Light REDD: The Looming Tragedy of Carbon Markets Paying to
Destroy Ancient Forests
Using carbon funds, the world's governments are poised to
subsidize ancient forest logging, claiming it benefits the
Earth's climate. REDD's potential support of "low impact"
logging of ancient forests, and conversion of natural forests
to tree farms, fails the climate, biodiversity and biosphere.
By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
December 13, 2008
From Earth's Newsdesk, http://www.ecoearth.info/newsdesk/
Plans to pay for rainforest protection using funds from carbon
markets progressed during this week's UN climate talks. I have
long promoted the deceptively simple idea of paying to keep
rainforests standing, yet am far from jubilant with the
results. It appears first time, industrial logging of ancient
forests -- through so-called low-impact and certified logging,
and the conversion of these and other natural forests to
plantations -- is falsely considered as having carbon
benefits, and will be paid for with our tax dollars and carbon
The concept of paying for rainforest protection with carbon
money has become known as avoided deforestation, or
alternatively, as REDD for "Reducing Emissions from
Deforestation and Degradation". Like many promising concepts
before it (i.e. "sustainable development" and "certified
forestry"), REDD is in danger of becoming empty jargon meant
to legitimate continued environmentally destructive
Worldwide, an area of forest greater than the size of Greece
is deforested every year, and much larger areas are
continually ecologically diminished, contributing about a
fifth of the global greenhouse gas emissions causing abrupt
and potentially run-away climate change. Given the biosphere,
atmosphere and most species depend upon these forests; the
basic idea of paying for protection of rainforests is a sound
one. But like so many good eco-ideas before it, the devil is
in the details.
Most generally, the concern is whether further commoditizing
ecosystems does in fact lead to their protection. As
capitalism verges upon collapse because of its dependence upon
unsustainable growth as the measure of well-being, it is
difficult to trust the world's ancient forest, global
ecosystem engines, to yet another market. To date the carbon
market has failed miserably to reduce emissions, and its
primary impact has been to enrich the polluting elite. What
will make avoided deforestation different?
There is much vagueness regarding what specific sorts of
activities REDD will fund. Terms like preservation,
protection, conservation, sustainability and low impact are
used imprecisely and interchangeably when in fact they are
quite different. Efforts to end old growth logging, aid in
natural forest regeneration and improve their management, and
promote socially acceptable plantations of mixed native
species are certainly welcome.
Yet it is clear that REDD, as envisioned under United Nations'
climate activities, will also subsidize first time industrial
logging of primary and old growth forests, and why not?
Virtually everyone else tasked with global environmental
stewardship -- from stylish Greenpeace, to ultra-establishment
World Bank, to second tier posers like Rainforest Action
Network -- support the myth of certified ancient forest
logging. They and others fail to see that maintaining and
restoring large, relatively INTACT terrestrial ecosystems is
key to solving both the climate and biodiversity crises, and
is ultimately the only long-term foundation for global
REDD as it now stands further greenwashs the notion that
logging the world’s last ancient forest ecosystems, and
converting these and other natural forests to tree farms,
benefits the climate. This is in direct contradiction to the
best current science. We are learning primary forest
ecosystems, including soils, continue removing carbon
indefinitely. And their continued ability to both hold
existing, and remove new, carbon is majorly and permanently
reduced when "managed" for the first time.
The ecological rigorousness of the REDD concept is being
negotiated away in order to get industry and government
onboard. To appease those responsible for the very burning and
cutting destroying ecosystems, while legitimizing their right
to continue doing so in a slightly better fashion, REDD is at
risk of becoming meaningless. The promise of logging their
forests and having carbon payments too, largely motivates
government and industry involvement with REDD.
REDD buys into the pernicious myth that low-impact, certified,
sustainable, ecosystem based, socially responsible, pixie-
magic-dust methods exist to acceptably log a sixty million
year old sacred and ecologically precious ancient forest. The
world's remaining primeval forests are ecologically and
evolutionarily perfect, and there is no industrial management
needed or possible that does not release huge amounts of
carbon initially, while reducing long-term carbon storage
potential. Nor can any sort of industrial scaled logging avert
dramatic destruction forever of ancient forests' structure,
composition and function.
Because plantations are widely mistaken as forests, REDD will
lead to replacement of carbon rich forests by monoculture tree
plantations. Much carbon is lost immediately, and future
carbon storage potential is forever diminished. While planted
trees remove carbon, the carbon stored is not going to persist
for millennia like in ancient forest ecosystems. Fast growing
monocultures to make paper may be rotting in a land fill
within a year. Further, industrial tree plantations are
notorious for their toxic waste, social disruption and soil
An ecologically sufficient gold standard for avoided
deforestation looks like this. In regards to primary and old
growth forests, a maximally effective program would fund only
strict preservation in order to optimally protect carbon and
biodiversity stores in the long-term; and only with local
support, their continued traditional uses and possibly limited
small-scale, community-based eco-forestry development. The
best way to remove new carbon is to assist secondary forests
to regenerate old-growth characteristics, while expanding and
connecting fragmented primary forest landscapes through
ecological restoration. There must be no incentives to
promote, or tolerance of, replacing natural forests with
monocultural tree farms. Demand for forest products can be met
from rigorously ecologically certified native, non-toxic tree
plantations and delicate management of maturing secondary
There are many other important and troublesome issues
regarding REDD that must be resolved for it to be a force for
good. REDD allows the rich world to buy their way out of
reducing their own carbon emissions reduction. The well-off
must not be allowed to use REDD to avoid reducing their own
fossil fuel emission reductions. REDD mainly benefits the
countries and interests that have caused most of the world's
deforestation, and it is imperative local forest dwellers
yield most of the benefits. Further, REDD is likely to result
in land grabs and other violations of indigenous rights.
Strict prohibitions upon REDD financing industrial ancient
forest logging and plantations upon recently deforested lands,
coupled with getting payments to willing local participants,
will alleviate most concerns.
If carbon markets expand to include forests and pay for
anything less than full protection of ancient forests, carbon
markets will be revealed as a fraudulent Ponzi scheme whose
primary purpose is to enrich the elite, not to reduce
emissions or ensure a habitable biosphere. Yes, I want carbon
markets and REDD to work. But not at the expense of Earth's
last intact ecosystem engines, not if carbon markets abet
continued emission growth and forest loss, not if carbon
accounting trickery pays for continued ecocide, not if land is
stolen from local peoples, and not if it slows down
sufficient, real progress to END the biodiversity and climate
Carbon markets themselves are underperforming. There is no
indication they will become global and result in absolute
emission reductions in time to avert global ecosystem
collapse. The primary beneficiary thus far has been polluting
industries which have reaped windfall profits after being
given carbon credits for free. Carbon markets will have
completed their descent into irrelevancy and actual harm to
the climate and biosphere if these funds pay to log ancient
rainforests. If policy-makers get it wrong and grant carbon
funding to anything less than full protection for ancient
forests, carbon markets will have proven their failure.
It just seems a little much, indeed a blind leap of faith, to
suggest that the present economic system, which has brought
the Earth to the edge of ruin by liquidating the Earth's life-
giving ecosystems over the last few hundred years, and is now
collapsing, is capable of saving terrestrial ecosystems and
the atmosphere. If history teaches us anything, it is
assigning an economic value to shared natural resources, in a
world of exponential growth in population and consumption,
assures their over-use. Unless these concerns with the
functioning of carbon markets, and how they relate to primary
and old-growth forests in particular are addressed, the REDD
concept is unworthy of support.
** Due to popular demand, Earth Meanders is back as a project
of Ecological Internet! More later on our plans, but needless
to say, the urge to meander became too great to resist.
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