Some of the world’s largest oil, mining, car and gas corporations will make hundreds of millions of dollars from a UN backed forest protection scheme whose initial purpose was to reduce emissions from deforestation carbon by paying poorer countries to preserve their forests. This agreement would allow governments to offset national emissions against forest conservation, and could result in eventual cash flows of $30 billion a year from rich countries, who need to offset emissions, to poor countries, where most of the world’s endangered forest are. But critics say that the scheme amounts to privatization of natural resources.
Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organization claimed last week that Indonesia planned to class large areas of its remaining natural forests as “degraded land” in order to cut them down and receive $1billion dollars of climate aid for replanting them with palm trees and biofuel crops. Furthermore, A report from Protection Money [PDF], argues that the forestry and energy sectors are working to influence Indonesia’s national REDD strategy to continue on a business-as-usual expansion model. Expansion plans show that these sectors intend to utilize the Indonesian government’s ambiguous definitions of forests and degraded land to hijack the funds and use them to subsidize ongoing conversion of natural forests to plantations.
There are great social risks attached to the schemes which must also be addressed. There are significant risks that REDD will lead to the privatisation of the world’s forests, transferring them out of the hands of indigenous peoples and local communities and into the hands of bankers and carbon traders, whose only agenda is to make profit.
Student Researcher: Bertunie Berluce
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D.
Indian River State College
John Vidal, “Oil companies and banks will profit from UN forest protection” Guardian.co.uk schemehttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/28/redd-forest-protection-banks-oil