Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greenpeace: California's forest conservation-based carbon offsets are false and could lead to social conflict

Read this in full at MONGABAY.COM:

California's forest conservation-based carbon offsets in its climate change legislation may not lead to net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and could exacerbate social conflict in places like southern Mexico, argues a report released Monday by Greenpeace. But the activist group faced sharp criticism from backers of California's initiative.

The report, titled Outsourcing Hot Air, looks at a project in Mexico's Chiapas state which could potentially generate carbon credits under California's climate law by protecting forests against future clearing. The credits could be used to "offset" some greenhouse gas emissions from activities in California, such as emissions from Chevron's oil refinery in Richmond. By buying such carbon credits, a company could effectively reduce the amount of emissions they would be legally obliged to cut.

The Greenpeace report takes exception to both the concept of carbon offsetting, as well as the process California and states and provinces in Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, and Nigeria are using to establish criteria for the forest projects that would qualify as sources for carbon credits. California’s process is driven by the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), a body that was established in 2008 by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and involves policymakers, experts, and a panel of top forest scientists. 

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