In August 2010, the Rimba Raya conservation project in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia hit the headlines. “Indonesia project boosts global forest CO2 market,” Reuters reported. But there’s a catch. Two companies that are responsible for vast greenhouse gas emissions are involved in the project: Shell and Gazprom.

Yesterday, Friends of the Earth Nigeria and the Indigenous Environmental Network put out a press release denouncing Shell’s involvement in REDD. Nnimmo Bassey, the Director of Environmental Rights Action (FoE Nigeria) and Chair of Friends of the Earth International, says, 

“We have suffered Shell’s destruction of communities and biodiversity as well as oil spills and illegal gas flaring for decades. Now we can add financing REDD for greenwash and profits to the long list of Shell’s atrocities.”

The press release is posted below in English and Spanish.

The project is the first to have its avoided deforestation accounting method approved by the Voluntary Carbon Standard programme. For the curious, the 104-page “Methodology for Conservation Projects that Avoid Planned Land Use Conversion in Peat Swamp Forests”, is available here (pdf file, 2.0 MB). There’s also a 69-page assessment of the methodology by Rainforest Alliance, here (pdf file, 799.3 KB), and a 64-page assessment by Bureau Veritas Certification, here (pdf file 455.7 KB). In case you want to read more, the 300-page Project Design Document, as submitted to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), is available here (pdf file, 12.4 MB), with supporting documents here (zip file, 64.2 MB). 

The methodology approved by VCS was prepared by Winrock International, under contract to Shell Canada Energy. Funding for preparing the methodology came from Shell Canada, Gazprom Marketing and Trading and the Clinton Foundation. 

Yes, that’s the same Shell Canada that is mining tar sands. It’s the same Shell that continues to flare gas in Nigeria, with devastating impacts on local communities and the climate. It’s the same Shell that was the first western company to get its hands on Iraq’s gas reserves since the 1970s, after secret negotiations with the Iraqi government. And it’s the same Shell that is prospecting for oil in some of the Arctic’s most sensitive habitats.

Yes, that’s the same Gazprom that CorpWatch labelled a Greenhouse Gangster back in 1999 – at the time Gazprom was responsible for 4% of world carbon emissions. It’s the same Gazprom that says by 2014 it will overtake Exxon Mobil as the world’s largest publicly traded company.

And it’s the same Gazprom that is (along with Mitsui, Mitsubishi and Shell) exploiting oil and gas off the coast of Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East in the habitat of the last 100 or so Western Pacific grey whales:

And it’s the same William J. Clinton Foundation that launched the Clinton Climate Initiative “to create and advance solutions to the core issues driving climate change”, but apparently has no problem with helping to greenwash two of the biggest greenhouse polluters on the planet.

Shell bankrolls REDD

Indigenous Peoples and environmentalists denounce


7 September 2010 

Oil giant Shell, infamous for the genocide of the Ogoni People and environmental destruction in Nigeria’s Niger Delta is now bankrolling REDD, a false solution to climate change that puts forests in the carbon market and has been denounced as potentially the “largest land grab of all time.”

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) allows polluters like Shell, Rio Tinto and Chevron-Texaco to buy their way out of reducing their greenhouse emissions at source by supposedly conserving forests. However, according to the Indigenous Environmental Network, REDD is rife with “perverse incentives” to convert natural forests into monoculture tree plantations and to actually increase deforestation.

Shell, Gazprom and the Clinton Foundation are funding the landmark REDD Rimba Raya project on 100,000 ha (250,000 acres) in the province of Central Kalimantan in Indonesia. According to Reuters, the Rimba Raya project marks “a milestone” in the development of a global market in forest carbon credits.

Shell’s REDD carbon offset project could be quite a money maker. Reuters calculates that “At about $10 a credit, that means about $750 million over 30 years.”

Renowned Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Environmental Rights Action and Chair of Friends of the Earth International, has a long history of opposing destructive oil extraction activities. “We have suffered Shell’s destruction of communities and biodiversity as well as oil spills and illegal gas flaring for decades. Now we can add financing REDD for greenwash and profits to the long list of Shell’s atrocities.”

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, noted that “Shell already committed genocide against the Ogoni People of the Niger Delta. REDD allows Shell and other polluting corporations to expand fossil fuel extraction and continue destroying the climate and violating Indigenous Peoples’ rights worldwide. As we speak, Shell is trying to expand its oil drilling operations in environmentally sensitive offshore Alaska, despite the protests of Alaska Natives.”

“Shell is compounding its devastating impacts on Mother Earth and Indigenous Peoples by financing REDD which may result in the largest land may grab of all time and more genocide against Indigenous Peoples,” Goldtooth warned.

According to Goldtooth, “Most of the forests of the world are found in Indigenous Peoples’ land. REDD-type projects have already resulted in land grabs, violations of human rights, threats to cultural survival, militarization, scams and servitude.”

For Teguh Surya, Campaign Director of WAHLI–Friends of the Earth Indonesia, REDD is simply “pathetic eco-business.” “Shell must not use our beautiful forests to greenwash the environmental crimes and human rights abuses it has committed in Nigeria and elsewhere.”

Last week, the 300 million-strong international peasant and farmer organization, Via Campesina, rejected REDD and denounced that forest conservation should not be used as “an excuse” so that “countries and corporations continue contaminating…” Furthermore Via Campesina noted that “carbon trading has proven extremely lucrative in terms of generating investor dividends, but has completely failed in reducing greenhouse gases.”

CITATION: David Fogarty and Sunanda Creagh. Indonesia project boosts global forest CO2 market. Reuters. Tue Aug 24, 2010.

CONTACTS: Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network