(SACRAMENTO – June 20, 2019) Members of the California State Assembly this week called on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to endorse the proposed Tropical Forest Standard (TFS), which sets out stringent requirements for states and countries seeking to have their large-scale forest protection programs recognized in carbon markets such as California’s. In their letter to CARB, Assembly Members Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) cited proposed changes to the Tropical Forest Standard to strengthen some provisions and respond to concerns raised by opponents during a November 2018 CARB board hearing, while expressing support for the Standard to be approved by the Board.
In the letter to CARB, the assembly members wrote: “After carefully listening to both sides, it is our conclusion that all stakeholders are strong supporters of strategies to protect forests around the world, and agree that California has a role in that work… We think ARB should endorse the TFS while committing to vigorous and proactive monitoring of any jurisdiction that decides to utilize it.”
Christina McCain, EDF’s Director for Latin America Climate, said:
“Encouraging ambitious climate programs in tropical forest regions will place California on the leading edge of the fight to address tropical deforestation and mitigate the climate catastrophe. We commend the assembly members, led by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, for thoughtfully studying this issue and taking this truly significant step forward.”
“The Standard will ensure forest carbon credits have high environmental integrity and robust social and environmental safeguards that are important for indigenous communities.
“Indigenous peoples are the best defense against tropical deforestation. This Standard supports their work, relies on their knowledge, and supports the establishment and protection of their rights, which is why it also is backed by key indigenous organizations that represent millions of indigenous people across the Americas.”
CARB has been studying forest carbon credits for over a decade and released the draft Tropical Forest Standard in September 2018. The Standard was addressed at the November 2018 board meeting, where CARB invited the legislature, led by CARB ex officio board member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), to get further stakeholder and legislative input. CARB is expected to incorporate their recommendations into a revised proposal, and to discuss in a future board meeting.
The Tropical Forest Standard requires jurisdictions to have comprehensive programs to address and monitor deforestation, ensure transparency and rigorous enforcement of those programs, and demonstrate independent third-party verification. At the same time, jurisdictions must show how they are developing more sustainable economic activities and addressing the root causes of deforestation.
The Standard is supported by COICA (The Coordinator for Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin) and AMPB (Mesoamerican Alliance for Peoples and Forests), who represent millions of indigenous and other traditional forest communities people across the Amazon Basin, Central America, and Mexico, and nearly 120 scientists, including eight lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and eight members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Forest carbon credits that meet the rigorous requirements set out in the Standard could potentially be accepted in the state’s cap-and-trade program in the future after additional consideration and action by the Board.
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