Sacramento, C.A  Sept. 19, 2019 – Today the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted to adopt the Tropical Forest Standard (TFS) despite outcry from Indigenous leaders from across the world and their allies. On the eve of a globally-coordinated week of climate strikes that are demanding action, CARB’s decision does nothing more than allow corporations to pay to pollute frontline communities. The TFS will set guidelines for tropical forest carbon credits, which would open the door to the international aviation sector and other polluters to “offset” their carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Quotes from Indigenous leaders and allies who spoke at the hearing today:

Ana Valadez Ortega, Researcher, Centro for Change in Rural Mexico (CECCAM).

We have initiated litigation in Mexico against the State of California for the Tropical Forest Standard in the courts of Cancun because it is illegal and illegitimate and violates Mexico’s constitution as well as the right to self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. California does not have jurisdiction over our territories or lives.

Marlon Santi, National Coordinator of Pachakutik, Kichwa People of Sarayaku:

The adoption of the so-called Tropical Forest Standard is carbon colonialism. Our territories are not carbon dumps. We are defenders of the forest and the sky. We will not allow the sky to become a business venture.

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network

Despite a strong showing of our Anti-TFS Coalition with heartfelt testimony of our Indigenous delegation, the California Air Resources Board narrowly passed adoption of the Tropical Forest Standard.. I do not take this as a lost, but it encourages our movement to continue to expose the financialization of nature and Mother Earth in these carbon capitalism deals that allow greenwash by the fossil fuel polluters.  The TFS will become a model in tropical forested regions of the world. It is linked to carbon offset regimes that will fuel more land grabs, land enclosures, expropriations, predatory capitalism and violence in the rainforests.

Thomas Joseph, Indigenous person of California, Co-Director, California Kitchen:

I can’t believe California is going to continue the plague of colonialism and genocide right after Governors Newsom apology for the atrocities of Indigenous Peoples of California. I’m asking Governor Newsom and elected representatives of California legislators to act now in the protection of Indigenous communities and to demand real solutions from California polluters. We have no time for false solutions when it comes to climate change. Governor Gavin Newsom these crimes against humanity are in your hands.

Ninawa Huni Kui, traditional leader and President of the Hui Kui People’s Federation of the Brazilian Amazon in the State of Acre:

California forest offsets and REDD+ are part of “Green” capitalism, which privatizes Life and violates human rights. California’s carbon forest offsets are a huge lie from start to finish. Offsets do not reduce emissions. If Californian politicians want to paint themselves as saviors of the planet, they must not promote false solutions to climate change like the TFS that threaten Indigenous Peoples’ survival. We defend the Sacred. We defend Mother Earth. The Sky is not for sale!

Tamra Gilbertson, Climate Change and Forest Policy Advisor, Indigenous Environmental Network

There has been strong manipulation of fact throughout this process by proponents of forest offsets and carbon pricing systems. The California Air Resources Board has now signaled to the world that it is more concerned about maintaining the corporate status quo than protecting tropical forests. Indigenous peoples’ livelihoods are on the line. We can’t be distracted by these false solutions because this fight must continue. Therefore we will regroup and strengthen our efforts for resistance in the coming months.

Alexandra Nagy, California Director, Food & Water Action: “Governor Newsom and the California Air Resource Board had an opportunity to show global leadership on climate change by rejecting this pay-to-pollute scheme masquerading as a forest preservation plan. Instead, they chose to support this policy that will continue the oil and gas industry’s plan to frack California into oblivion. Their decision to turn a blind eye to the concerns of both indigenous communities and fence line neighborhoods that are bearing the brunt of impacts from fossil fuels is unconscionable, especially as young people around the world demand bold action to combat the climate crisis.”

Established in 1990, The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities.  IEN’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities. Learn more here: