California Endorses Plan to Save Tropical Forests

Statement from Derek Walker, Vice President for U.S. Climate

September 20, 2019
Jennifer Andreassen, +1 (202) 288 4867,
Today the California Air Resources Board voted to endorse the California Tropical Forest Standard. The Standard 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, while ensuring robust monitoring and oversight of such programs.
“Today’s decision shows California is committed to wielding its global influence to help prevent the destruction of tropical forests, one of the most significant contributors to global climate change. Tropical forest protection benefits Californians as well as communities and ecosystems across the entire planet.
“The Tropical Forest Standard sends a clear message that California sees itself as a catalyst in solving the global climate crisis, and acknowledges the essential role indigenous peoples play in forest protection. 
“As nations gather in New York to raise their ambition and recommit to climate action, there’s no better place to look for inspiration than to California and the Tropical Forest Standard. The rest of the world should follow California’s lead.”
Derek Walker, Vice President for U.S. Climate
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has studied 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, then received further stakeholder input and Legislative recommendations. CARB has incorporated their recommendations into the revised proposal, which was approved at today’s monthly 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 Tropical Forest Standard establishes best-in-class standards for environmental integrity and social safeguards and requires stringent monitoring of emissions and deforestation rates, and careful oversight of forest-protection programs.
The Standard is supported by COICA (The Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin) and AMPB (Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests), which represent millions of indigenous and other traditional forest communities people across the Amazon Basin, Central America, and Mexico. These indigenous groups and others shared their support at today’s hearing.
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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