CARBON SCAM: Noel Kempff Climate Action Project and the Push for Sub-National Forest Offsets

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace USA Press Officer,  dkessler@greenpeace.org
Rolf Skar, Greenpeace USA Forest Campaigner,  rolf.skar@greenpeace.org

CARBON SCAM: Noel Kempff Climate Action Project and the Push for Sub-National Forest Offsets

New Greenpeace report underscores need for non-offset funding to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD)

WASHINGTON - Greenpeace launched a new
report today that shines a light on the dangerous environmental and
financial risks associated with sub-national REDD offset projects. The
report, "Carbon Scam: Noel Kempff Climate Action Project and the Push
for Sub-national Forest Offsets," (1) examines the Noel Kempff Climate
Action Project (NKCAP) in Bolivia, which is sponsored by American
Electric Power, BP and PacifiCorp. The report finds that the project
did not deliver promised emissions reductions and failed to address
fundamental shortcomings. The report concludes that REDD offsets are
too unreliable to be included in cap and trade systems.
For example, over the last decade of
the project (1997-2009), the estimated emissions reductions of NKCAP
plummeted by more than 90 percent, from about 55 million to 5.8 million
metric tons of CO2.  In addition, project sponsors did not produce
tangible evidence that avoided deforestation did not move to other
regions or countries, a phenomenon called leakage.

"This report should end speculation that sub-national carbon offset
projects can be used to reliably cut carbon emissions," said Greenpeace
senior campaigner Rolf Skar. "The fundamental uncertainties at the core
of sub-national REDD offsets are not ones that can be resolved with
technical tinkering and quick fixes. They require a leap of faith. We
simply shouldn't gamble with our climate."

If low-quality REDD offsets like those from NKCAP are included in a
government cap and trade scheme, climate pollution could actually
increase.  At the same time, sub-national REDD offsets traded on a
large scale could undermine the integrity of carbon markets, acting as
"sub-prime" carbon credits creating financial implications. It is
estimated carbon markets could be worth trillions of dollars in coming
years.

"While polluters are looking for the cheapest way to get out of
cleaning up their act, they are setting up a lose-lose-lose for
forests, our climate and financial markets" said Skar.

Legislation pending in Congress allows for 2 billion tons of offsets,
including sub-national REDD offsets. This staggering amount of offsets
prompted Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), a staunch coal industry supporter,
to say, "That means an electric utility burning coal will not have to
reduce the emissions at the plant site. It can just keep burning coal."
(2)

Greenpeace believes REDD should be financed through a large,
predictable supply of revenues from pollution permits.  Unhampered by
carbon markets and the need to "credit" emissions reductions, funds
could be used more efficiently and broadly to end deforestation
worldwide, avoiding the dangers of forest offsets. (3)

Notes to Editor

(1) The full report can be found at http://www.greenpeace.org/carbon-scam
(2) http://www.timesnews.net/article.php?id=9016458

(3) The Greenpeace Forest for Climate proposal can be downloaded at: http://www.greenpeace.org/forests

Photos of NKCAP are available at: http://usaphoto.greenpeace.org/20091013carbon_scam

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