California Moves Closer to Unprecedented REDD+ Finance Program

On October 28, 2015 California Air Resources Board (ARB) took the next step to include offsets from tropical forests in California’s Cap-and-Trade program, which would be the first compliance market for REDD+ offsets of its kind. EII showed our support for the program through participation in the International Sector-Based Offset workshop that announced the potential regulatory schedule to see REDD+ become a reality in California by the end of 2017. The workshop picked up where the California REDD+ Offset Working group (CA ROW) left off to evaluate the key policy considerations for the inclusion of credits issued by sub-national governments from tropical regions in the compliance program.

Representatives from states in Mexico (Chiapas and Jalisco) and Brazil (Acre and Mato Grosso) that are members of the Governors’ Climate and Forests task force (GCF) shared progress establishing state-of-the-art jurisdictional REDD+ programs, and made the case for the potential value of the California program in supporting their state-wide low-emission rural development strategies.

Ensuring that safeguards are in place in the jurisdictional REDD+ programs that guarantee the protection of indigenous and community rights is an absolute priority for California. Earth Innovation Institute supported the participation of Candido Mezuá in the workshop to discuss this issue as a representative from the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB in Spanish) and a member of the Accelerating Inclusion and Mitigating Emissions (AIME) consortium. Candido shared his powerful story of how REDD+ has provided an important platform for the communities that he represents to gain power and representation in negotiations with their national governments, and generally given communities a voice in processes that they are otherwise often cut out of. Juanka Jintiach (COICA) and Almir Surui (Metareilá Suruí Association) also participated from AIME and were strong voices in support of REDD+ as a vehicle for sustainable development that can help them to continue to protect their forests.

Through this workshop, CARB confirmed their leadership in setting standards for REDD+ that both deliver a compliance-grade emission reduction credit and work for the partner jurisdictions in the program. EII has supported this process since 2011 through Dr. Daniel Nepstad’s participation in the California REDD+ Offset Working Group, and we look forward to continuing to support CARB implement this important program.

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