Scientists Challenge Conclusions Of REDD+ Study Used In Guardian Investigation

Scientists challenge the conclusions of REDD+ study used in Guardian article - Carbon Herald
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The Guardian published an article earlier this year that criticized REDD+ projects, citing a study that claimed these initiatives generated significantly fewer carbon credits than reported. However, a group of international senior scientists have challenged the conclusions of the REDD+ study, publicly denouncing its findings.

The scientists, including Ed Mitchard, chief scientist at satellite data company Space Intelligence, in collaboration with researchers from institutes such as NASA, MIT, and the Universities of California and Edinburgh, have raised concerns about the methodology and data used in the study, suggesting that the conclusions may be inaccurate or misleading.

While their latest paper is yet to be peer-reviewed, it claims to have discovered several errors in the original study and is calling for it to be revised or even retracted.

In the abstract of their paper, the scientists state: “Independent retrospective analyses of the effectiveness of reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) projects are vital to ensure climate change benefits are being delivered.”

Relevant: The Guardian Investigation Of Verra Carbon Offsets Claims More Than 90% Are “Worthless”

They add: “A recent study in Science by West et al. (1) appeared therefore to be a timely alert that the majority of projects operating in the 2010s failed to reduce deforestation rates. Unfortunately, their analysis suffered from major flaws in the choice of underlying data, resulting in poorly matched and unstable counterfactual scenarios.”

Among other things, the researchers noted that the utilized site samples were “completely inappropriate”, emphasizing a contrast between project areas in Colombia and Peru and regions on the opposite side of the Andes mountains.

Another pointed out flaw was the inadequate usage of the dataset, noting that it contained “random errors” and that sensitivity varied over time as available satellites changed. As a result, the study failed to properly detect successful deforestation reduction projects.

While the scientists are calling for the revocation of the study, the controversy surrounding the REDD+ study and the Guardian article has sparked a wider debate about the validity of its conclusions and the potential implications for the future of REDD projects.

Read more: Verra Issues Its New REDD+ Methodology

1 comment
  1. It’s very unfortunate that individual consultants and some companies decided to hide behind reputable logos to misuse the term REDD+. If you read the 27+ UN decisions on REDD+, you would quickly realize that privately-own standards are runing various version of the infamous Ponzi scheme. To find out where the scheme begins, just look at the monumental gap between the forest carbon official data reported by national authorities to the UN and the carbon data reported by the cowboys to their sponsors. The official carbon accounting approach to implement REDD+ is backed by 190+ nations that ratified the Paris Agreement and that are also members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Trying mainstream rigged carbon accounting systems will only get humanity into a deeper climatic hole, for we can always lie to ourselves but the atmosphere.

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