Amazon Carbon Credit Scheme Exposed As Fake By Brazil Police Raid

Amazon Carbon Credit Scheme Exposed As Fake By Brazil Police Raid - Carbon Herald
Source: Nile from Pixabay

Last week, authorities in Brazil launched a major raid of a group accused of running a fraudulent carbon credit scheme in the Amazon rainforest. 

The operation, dubbed “Greenwashing,” targeted individuals linked to Ricardo Stoppe, who was previously implicated by Mongabay in a potential timber laundering operation.

Stoppe’s company, Grupo Ituxi, managed several REDD+ projects in the Amazon. REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. 

These projects aim to protect forests and generate carbon credits, which companies can buy to offset their emissions.

Investigators allege that Stoppe’s group set up their projects on illegally obtained public land, exceeding 1.2 million acres (three times the size of São Paulo). 

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They then used these projects to generate and sell carbon credits despite potentially engaging in illegal logging on the same land.

The scam reportedly involved manipulating official logging documents and exploiting loopholes in deforestation monitoring systems. 

Stoppe’s group allegedly issued fake permits exceeding the amount of wood allowed for extraction according to their forest management plans. 

Experts believe this surplus was used to “launder” timber illegally harvested elsewhere, potentially including protected indigenous lands.

The Federal Police action resulted in 76 arrest and search warrants being executed across several Brazilian states. 

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Assets like airplanes, luxury cars, and jewelry were seized. Several key figures, including Stoppe’s son and a forest engineer who signed potentially fraudulent documents, were arrested. Stoppe himself eventually surrendered to authorities.

This case highlights the challenges of ensuring the legitimacy of carbon offset projects. 

Environmental groups are calling for stricter regulations in Brazil’s carbon market, which is still under development. 

The incident also raises concerns about the effectiveness of deforestation monitoring systems in detecting hidden environmental crimes.

Grupo Ituxi has stated they will respond publicly after reviewing the investigation files. 

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