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Controversial Tropical Forest Standard Program Divides Scientists, Environmental Groups

Sep 13, 2019

 Aerial view of deforestation in Nascentes da Serra do Cachimbo Biological Reserve in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon basin, on August 28, 2019

Aerial view of deforestation in Nascentes da Serra do Cachimbo Biological Reserve in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon basin, on August 28, 2019; Credit: JOAO LAET/AFP/Getty Images

AirTalk®

California is weighing a controversial plan to help protect tropical forests, but some argue the move has too many pitfalls and shouldn’t be implemented.

According to the L.A. Times, the Tropical Forest Standard proposal, TFS, would divert billions of dollars to other countries, like Brazil, as an effort to fight deforestation. The money, sourced from companies that offset their own emissions through carbon credits, would be directed towards funding sustainable industries. Some say it’s the best way to preserve tropical forests and combat climate change. TFS programs aren’t new and proponents have said they’ve attempted to learn from past mistakes.

Governments participating would only receive credit for forest that is spared beyond their baseline goal and progress must be closely monitored and independently verified, according to the L.A. Times.  But others call the proposal “misguided,” saying offsets would enable American companies to keep polluting. Critics say the standard of the program is inherently flawed and California should be looking to other efforts that have been proven to work. Some are also concerned about where the money is going, particularly when it comes to Brazil, after President Jair Bolsonaro’s recent outbursts regarding fires raging in the Amazon.  

Guests:

Christina McCain, director of Latin American climate initiatives for the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group

Katie Valenzuela, policy and political director for the California Environmental Justice Alliance, a coalition of environmental justice organizations which focuses on statewide policy solutions 

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.

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