new report: in the ‘redd’ – Australia’s push for forest carbon offsets at Durban
Climate policy is in the REDD as Durban climate negotiations conclude. Australia is pushing for decisions to establish forest carbon offsets for trade in the carbon market. However REDD offsets do not address the drivers of deforestation, says Friends of the Earth International.
Government negotiators will conclude UN proceedings in Durban today, including decisions on how to finance projects under the mechanism known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
According to a new report released by Friends of the Earth International, Indonesia’s large-scale REDD project is failing to deliver its promised benefits. 
Download the report here: In the REDD: Australia's carbon offset project in Central Kalimantan
Friends of the Earth International believes that the project is an ineffective solution to tackling climate change and that current REDD projects take the world further away from stopping deforestation and forest degradation.
In response to proposals being debated in Durban that will include forests in the carbon markets, Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Programme, said:
“Forest offsets are diverting attention from the real measures needed on the ground to halt deforestation. Our report shows that REDD is failing to address the drivers of deforestation and failing to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.
“Commodifying forests for the benefit of dirty corporations in wealthy countries who are unwilling to reduce their own emissions will do nothing to solve the climate crisis. Even worse, REDD projects like the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership are violating the rights of Indigenous Peoples and causing damaging tensions on the ground.”
Kate Horner of Friends of the Earth US said:
“With the draft rules currently on the table in Durban, REDD has no environmental credibility and will negatively impact the rights of communities. With these rules, REDD offset credits will also perversely incentivize loggers and road-builders.
“Despite the fact that the price of carbon is crashing, many countries still suffer the delusion that the carbon market could deliver significant financing for forest protection projects in developing countries. Even if there was a forest carbon market, which there isn’t, the vast majority of benefits would be captured by consultants, not those most in need,” she added.
The report released today by Friends of the Earth International exposes an Australian carbon offsetting project in the Central Kalimantan area of Indonesia.  The report 'In the REDD,' was researched by campaigners in Friends of the Earth Indonesia and Australia who examined the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP), the world's first large scale REDD pilot project, which was set up between Australia and Indonesia.
The report shows the project does not guarantee Indigenous Peoples rights, conflicts with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has created confusion among local groups, and faces ongoing opposition from local people.
According to the new report, the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership fails to take into account the rights of Indigenous and local forest dependent people. It is also failing to contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as palm oil firms involved are illegally clearing land in nearby areas, which are supposed to be under a deforestation moratorium. Finally, it allows Australian companies to carry on polluting while hiding behind offset credits from the REDD scheme.
Rebecca Pearse, member of Friends of the Earth Sydney said:
“The Kalimantan project has been used by the Australian government to push for REDD offsets in the UNFCCC since 2007. Using cheap forest offsets to reduce emissions on paper is the long-term strategy of Australia, not a transition away from domestic coal and gas industries.
“Treasury modelling accompanying the Australian Clean Energy Future legislation for a carbon trading scheme, anticipates that by 2050, 92% (434 MtCo2-e) of emissions reductions recorded will come from international offsets and that forestry offsets in South and East Asia will play a significant role.
'The Australian funded REDD project in Kalimantan illustrates that forest carbon offsets allow for continued emissions in the polluting industries, do nothing to impact the drivers of deforestation, and produce social conflict on the ground.”
The report states that community groups repeatedly expressed concerns that their rights are not being respected and that the project will not address the relevant drivers of deforestation. In June 2011, a statement signed by 25 mantir adat (custom keepers) from the Kapuas District called for the KFCP to be stopped. They raised concerns that the site for the project was decided between the Australian and Indonesian governments without local consultation; that no written assurances that land tenure rights would be respected have been given; that the project implementation is bringing unrest and internal conflict to the community; and that they were doubtful about the promises made by the project.
Friends of the Earth International believes:
- Trading forests for pollution diverts attention from real measures to reduce emissions and prevent deforestation.
- Trading forests for pollution threatens Indigenous Peoples and local communities who depend on them for survival.
- Agreements on deforestation should be designed to stop deforestation and forest degradation and not simply to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions.
- Forests must be kept out of carbon markets.