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California, Don’t let Shell Roast the Planet!

Californians are renowned for being environmental savvy, so we at Oilwatch International were dismayed to learn that the State of California may let climate criminals like Shell and Chevron off the hook by including a false solution to climate change called REDD in its global warming law.

Californians are renowned for being environmental savvy, so we at Oilwatch International were dismayed to learn that the State of California may let climate criminals like Shell and Chevron off the hook by including a false solution to climate change called REDD in its global warming law.

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REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a carbon offset scheme whereby polluters use forests and land as supposed sponges for their pollution instead of reducing CO2 emissions at source.
 
REDD allows polluters to keep polluting and global warming to get worse. California’s climate change law, AB32, currently includes domestic REDD offsets, and may soon be broadened to also include international REDD offsets from countries like Mexico, Brazil and Nigeria.
 
We denounce the trading of pollution for forests as the worst kind of protection racket. California has already made a mockery of its efforts to tackle global warming by using carbon trading and offsets. We ask that California not add injury to insult by including REDD as well.
 
While forest dependent communities suffer from carbon offset projects that exploit their forests as mere carbon sinks, polluters like Shell are expanding their operations through a scam that is nothing more than trading hot air.
 
Both Californians and the world are harmed by REDD-type projects. For example, Shell recently purchased 500,000 carbon offsets credits from a forestry project on over 200,000 acres in Michigan that not only will grant Shell’s refinery in Martinez, California permission to pollute, but will push the planet further down the road to catastrophic global warming.
 
Making forest carbon offsets official policy reproduces the toxic injustice and environmental racism that plagues low-income communities in the global North, while exposing vulnerable communities in the global South to human rights violations, land grabs, and destruction of our biocultural heritage.
 
We speak from Nigeria, where Shell is a climate criminal and infamous for the genocide against the Ogoni People. We speak from Ecuador where Chevron is a climate criminal and trashed the Amazon. We speak from Turtle Island, where our lands and our peoples have been devastated by dirty energy—from coal to fracking to flaring to tarsands. We speak from planet Earth, where fossil fuel civilization has brought the biosphere to the brink of collapse.
 
Shell’s hot air purchases in the USA and abroad portend great danger to Indigenous Peoples and forest dependent communities across the world. Trading pollution for forests threatens Indigenous Peoples’ rights, resources, territories and very survival.
 
Carbon trading and REDD in California encourage dirty industries to lock in polluting systems rather than powering down as climate science demands.
 
Even the United Nations itself admits that REDD could result in the “lock-up of forests,” “loss of land” and “new risks for the poor.”
 
We affirm the declaration of the NO REDD in Africa Network that REDD does not halt deforestation, but is a new form of colonialism, economic subjugation and a driver of land grabs so big that they may constitute a continent grab.
 
We stand with the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life who denounce REDD as potentially the biggest land grab of all time with devastating consequences for Indigenous Peoples in whose lands and territories the majority of intact forests are found.
 
We stand with La Via Campesina, the world’s largest peasant farmer movement that rejects REDD and denounces that it may undermine food sovereignty, cause hunger and result in a counter-agrarian reform.
 
We stand with our sisters of the World March of Women who oppose REDD because they know it could constitute a new form of violence against women.
 
We affirm the founding principles of Climate Justice Now!, which demand that the root causes of global warming be tackled now and false solutions not tolerated.
 
We affirm the Cochabamba Accord of the Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change which rejects REDD and demands CO2 reductions at source.
 
We know California will not be fooled by REDD. Common sense requires that we end fossil fuel addiction, not let corporations such as Chevron and Shell continue to profit while setting the planet ablaze.
 
We don’t buy the REDD hype, and neither should California. Please, California, for people and planet, reject REDD. The world will thank you.
 
Ivonne Yanez                                                                        Nnimmo Bassey
Quito, Ecuador                                                                     Benin City, Nigeria
[email protected]                                                            [email protected]
 
The Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor of California
                                                www.oilwatch.org

COPIES TO:
Ashley Conrad-Saydah
Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California 95812

 
Arsenio Mataka
Subsecretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California 95812

 
La Ronda Bowen
Ombudsman
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California 95812

 
Jason A. Gray
Staff Counsel, California Air Resources Board
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California 95812

 

 

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters