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The downside of corporate reforestation pledges » Yale Climate Connections


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Many big companies have pledged to offset some of their carbon pollution by investing in tree planting projects.

“There’s obviously been a lot of attention on the fact that nature-based solutions can play a huge role in tackling the climate crisis, and we absolutely agree,” says Aditi Sen, former climate policy lead with Oxfam America.

She warns that large-scale reforestation must be done carefully.

She says vastamounts of land around the world will be required if all these companies make good on their promises.

Sen co-authored a recent Oxfam report that assessed the 2050 carbon offset goals of four major energy companies.

The authors found that meeting those goals would require foresting an area twice as big as the United Kingdom.

“And so where does that land come from?” Sen asks. “And there’s a huge risk that it actually comes from farming and potentially displaces communities, rural communities and farming communities, particularly in the global south where land tenure is pretty insecure.”

So she says that as companies implement their climate commitments, they should focus on cutting carbon pollution from their own operations and supply chains.

And to offset those emissions that they cannot eliminate, reforestation projects should be carefully designed and located so that they benefit the climate and people.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media



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