Carbon Storage

Monoculture tree plantations are said to provide the “ecosystem service” of carbon storage, which is promoted as a solution to halt climate chaos. But carbon is only stored in the trees for a short time, until they are cut down. Therefore, relying on plantations to store carbon is a false solution to avoiding climate chaos. Carbon offset plantations allow polluting companies to continue burning fossil fuels.

This publication exposes the most common misleading statements currently used by plantation companies. It’s is based on the briefing "Ten Replies to Ten Lies" written by Ricardo Carrere in 1999.
What governments agree (or don't agree) on during the UN climate summits is not that relevant in the real world of carbon market expansion. Companies, governments, conservation NGOs, consultancies, brokers, banks and many other interested players are working hard to establish carbon market schemes as ‘the only way forward’.
An investigation by SourceMaterial and Unearthed exposed some of the impacts of a major tree-planting carbon offsetting project in the Republic of Congo from oil giant TotalEnergies, which was announced at the end of 2021.
Industrial tree plantations have always been about corporate control over community fertile lands. The monoculture model inherently endangers communities’ survival, food sovereignty and autonomy, deepens the violence of patriarchy and racism while enforcing the same destructive and oppressive way of organizing land (and thus, people) as the one enforced during the colonial era.
On the occasion of September 21st, 2022, the International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Tree Plantations, WRM launched the briefing “12 Replies to 12 Lies about Industrial Tree Plantations”.
Fossil fuels are at the root of the climate chaos – but the conditions for this crisis have been created by the interconnections and dependencies between colonialism, racism, patriarchy and class exploitation. To address climate chaos, therefore, it is necessary to address the unequal relationships of power upon which a fossil-fuel dependent capitalism is based.
The control of land was vital to colonisers. It meant wealth, territorial influence, access to ‘resources’ and cheap (and often enslaved) labour. The separation of indigenous inhabitants from their territories was a crucial component that persists until today. The effect of this history continues to influence the management of and conflicts over land.
An article from Mongabay news portal alerted the announcement of French oil giant Total Energies for developing a 40,000 hectare monoculture plantation in the savannahs of the Republic of Congo to offset its emissions.

Suzano was present at the 2021 UN climate negotiations for one main reason: to promote tree plantations as a ‘solution’ to climate change, under the name of ‘nature-based solutions’. It aims to profiteer ever more from the so-called climate policies.

Tupinikim indigenous leaders, in Brazil, share the experience of their people in the struggle against one of the largest eucalyptus plantation and pulp production companies in the world, Aracruz Celulose – currently named Suzano Papel e Celulose.

Green Resources Tanzania Limited (GRL)claims to offer solutions to climate change through planting monoculture trees. This wrong and misleading claim hides the reality on the ground: land grabbing, deforestation, destruction of grasslands and much social harm.

On the frontlines of the promotion of monoculture tree plantations as a solution to the climate crisis, families affected by tree plantations in Mozambique, Tanzania and Brazil, have once again denounced the serious impacts on their lives and the environment.