A neat summary of why nature-based carbon credits are out of favor: Choudhury (3)

–The way REDD+ is being commodified … “I think is dangerous” (I needed to republish this article because of technical difficulties with the WordPress software)

By Mathew Carr

Feb. 3-10, 2023 — Comment by Sandeep Roy Choudhury, heading overall operations for VNV Advisory , a project developer of community-based climate-change projects and programs. He’s based in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, speaking by phone.

REDD = reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. REDD+ (carbon reductions plus “+” other benefits including protection of the forest stock)

On whether nature-based carbon (REDD) credits have fallen out of favor with buyers:

There needs to be “less commoditisation and more project-specific buy prices. I do think REDD is important. But the way it’s being commodified … I think is dangerous.”

Making it into a standard commodity may be detrimental because costs and local subsidies vary from region to region [CarrZee: also costs are very different from other forms of carbon removal such as direct-air capture]. “Everybody’s moving and trying to standardise it to the max,” Choudhury said. There may be overissuance of carbon credits at some projects, he said. Later, he said the levels of overissuance were not clear.

Commodification “will not work in my opinion and will be detrimental for the carbon markets in the long run as benefit-sharing mechanisms will be compromised , which is the bedrock of a conservation project.”

In other words, incorrect standardization may make it difficult for buyers to determine the true quality of the credits they are buying because the conservation characteristics of the credits may become obscured as the various projects become mashed into the single traded financial instrument.

Carbon-credit revenues are meant to flow to people doing the emission cuts / forest protection, including first-nation people living in the area, for instance.

For more, search for “credits” on CarrZee.org — the search box is on the right if you are viewing on a computer and at the bottom of each story, on mobile.

Choudhury said it would be better if the world could insert a more-rational market structure where all forests are rewarded for not being felled. I’ve been arguing for this for many months on this website.

I’ve been arguing for more rational carbon pricing and markets for almost two decades, because my reporting has shown it’s clearly needed.

REDD+ credits are granted for the emissions saved vs what would have happened under a deforestation counterfactual …ie if some portion of the forest was cut down.

CarrZee: It’s definitely hard to verify something that might have happened in an alternative reality. I’m pretty sure the over crediting is not as bad as some say …but the bottom line with REDD+ is this: the forest still stands (almost always) and it still absorbs heat-trapping CO2 from the atmosphere (put up there mainly by the rich).

Context and other arguments:


(Updated Feb. 5, Feb. 7 to clarify some of Choudhury’s comments, after he got back in touch.)

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