94% of Forest Savings Certified by Global Leaders Are ‘Phantom Credits,’ Major Research Study – EcoWatch

The forest canopy. RollingEarth / Getty Images

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Are carbon offsets a useful tool on the road to net zero or just another type of green wash?

A new study from The Guardian, It’s time and SourceMaterial leads strongly to the final decision. The report, published on Wednesday, found that more than 90 percent of the rain forest Verra’s top-of-the-line carbon skis are what the Guardian called “spiritual farms” that don’t go away. actually carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“The implications of this analysis are huge,” Barbara Haya, who leads the Carbon Trading Program at the University of California, Berkeley, told SourceMaterial. “Companies are making false statements and then they convince consumers that they can fly without guilt or buy carbon-neutral products when nothing is carbon-neutral.”

Verra currently accounts for three-quarters of all carbon credits issued worldwide, according to SourceMaterial. This means that a carbon sequestration project is considered – usually the protection of an endangered forest – and given a number of carbon credits equal to tons of carbon dioxide will be removed or prevented from entering the atmosphere. The credits are then added to a world record that companies can buy to secure their positions on the $2 billion carbon market. Verra approved one billion in debt in November of 2022, and was bought by major companies including Gucci, British Airways, Disney, United Airlines, Air France, Samsung, Liverpool Football Club, Ben & Jerry’s, Netflix and Chevron.

Forty percent of Verra’s debt comes from protecting forests. However, there is a particular problem in proving that protecting a forest will really stop the destruction because it means proving that the forest will surely fall without the help money from debt. Verra competitor Gold Standard will not approve carbon credits based on avoiding deforestation, SourceMaterial said.

The study, which took nine months to complete, looked specifically at three studies that used satellite images to verify the effectiveness of the Verra forest protection’s special data, explained the Guardian. This was supported by on-the-ground interviews and additional research.

Two studies by an international group of researchers that looked at forestry activities published 95 million carbon credits, which should be enough to eliminate 25 coal per year, according to SourceMaterials. Studies have looked at how much deforestation the projects actually prevented and how much carbon credit they should have generated. When the authors compared the number of scientists and Verra’s information during the study, they found that 94 percent of Verra’s proven signs did not seem to reduce the problem. weather conditions.

The second study, from the University of Cambridge team, looked at 40 projects and found that only four of them were responsible for 75 percent of the forest that was actually protected, according to the Guardian. The authors concluded that, for 32 projects, the risk of deforestation was increased by 400 percent.

“It is safe to say that there is a big difference between what we are planning and what is in their records, and it is a matter of concern and re-examination. I think in the long term, what we want is a consensus of methods that are used across all sites,” said University of Cambridge Forest Ecology Professor David Coomes, who is a senior reporter at the Cambridge study, in the Guardian.

In addition to giving companies and consumers the false impression that they are mitigating the facts, there have also been human rights concerns about at least one Verra project reviewed by the study. Some forest dwellers in Alto Mayo, Peru, said they were forcibly evicted as part of a forest protection project approved by Verra, which covered nearly 40 percent the people. Disney’s offsets between 2012 and 2020, as further reported by the Guardian. The reporters spoke to a 39-year-old coffee farmer and father of eight named Abel Carrasco whose house was broken into by the police in 2021, according to a video of the incident he shared. to the Guardian.

“My children begged them but (the police) said they had to follow their orders,” Carrasco said. “They told us to pack and leave. They said it was a protected forest, no one could be here. That’s why you have to go.”

In response to the survey, Even worse said that the research method they are now able to reveal the truth on the ground. That’s because the studies use “conservative controls,” which compare the protected area in a simulated environment as opposed to real, unprotected forests.

“Verra is disappointed to see the publication of an article in the Guardian, developed with Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, falsely claiming that the REDD+ projects are still ongoing with a large allocation of carbon credits ,” the spokesperson said. “Verra worked closely with both publications before the publication to explain why this information is not true, because it is based on research that uses ‘machine control’ or similar methods.”

However, the lead author of two international studies Thales West said that Verra needs to prove that its method of giving marks is more reliable.

“I wanted to know if we could trust their predictions,” said West SourceMaterial. “Evidence from clinical trials suggests it is unlikely.”

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