Carbon credits corporations buy to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. (file)


Colombia’s constitutional court on Wednesday annulled a controversial agreement on carbon credits in the Amazon rainforest, which six indigenous tribes said was signed without their consent.

Indigenous communities living in the remote Paraparana region accused US-based Ruby Canyon Environmental and the Colombian company Massbosques, which acted as mediators, of illegally thwarting the deal.

Carbon credits corporations — or, under certain conditions, countries — buy to offset or “compensate” their greenhouse gas emissions from forest conservation or other projects.

The money is supposed to go to local communities that protect their homelands from deforestation.

In Paraprana, the credits — also known as green bonds — were sold for about $3.8 million to a Colombian data processing firm called Latin Checkout.

According to EcoRegistry, which tracks carbon credit trading, Latino Checkout then sold the credits to US airline Delta, which it sued at home for allegedly “greenwashing” by claiming to be carbon neutral. is facing

The agreement, signed in March 2021, was to reserve an area of ​​7,100 square kilometers (2,741 miles) — about the size of Puerto Rico — for indigenous communities.

But the tribes said that the agreement was made with false representatives of their communities.

They went to court claiming violations of their rights to territorial autonomy and self-government.

On Monday, the court ordered the legitimate representatives of the tribes to meet within six months and decide whether to allow the new agreement.

If they don’t, authorities must “ensure” that the carbon credit project “is no longer operated in the area,” the judges ruled.

The concept behind carbon credits has taken on a big impact recently as scientific research has repeatedly found claims of lower emissions to be vastly overstated – or non-existent.

In late 2023, the AFP operated a section of the Paraparana area, packed with motorboats, an area so remote it can only be reached by million-dollar private flights or at least from the nearest town of Mitu. Kim is only accessible by a six-day boat trip.

There, local leaders said they wished they had never heard of the deal.

While it brought an economic “bonanza,” he said, it sparked conflict among communities accustomed to handling large sums of money and a loss of local autonomy.

Local leader Fabio Valencia said at the time that the project “pollutes spiritually, physically, it destroys everything in this area, for money.”

Some experts have said that there is no real risk of deforestation in the area and therefore no “savings” of emissions will be made.

The Constitutional Court case was the first of its kind in Colombia.

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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