Gov. Jerry Brown, at the conclusion of a speech here Tuesday, was heckled by a group of protesters opposed to carbon offset programs they said could hurt indigenous people.
Brown, accompanied by several South American governors at a 19th century mansion in Paris, had finished brief remarks urging further efforts to counteract climate change when protesters started yelling, “No REDD.”
The acronym is used by The Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force, of which California is a part, to describe programs to promote reduced emissions from deforestation and land use. California officials have considered ways to link the state’s cap-and-trade program, in which polluters pay to offset carbon emissions, to tropical rainforests in Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil.
Outside the venue, Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said that such a system could prevent indigenous people from working on their land.
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“I think Brown needs to be very concerned about his legacy,” Goldtooth said.
Brown left the mansion amid commotion. But he told the protesters, “I agree with you.” Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, told reporters that the administration agrees that “we should not be supporting any kind of projects that would throw people off of their land or in any way weaken their position.”
She said California “would not be willing to allow in our system anything that would worsen the position of the people who live in and around the forests.”
Brown has been protested at events in California in recent years by activists opposed to hydraulic fracturing, a controversial form of oil extraction. But in Paris for the United Nations climate change conference, the Democratic governor has mostly appeared in venues with limited access – and encountered warm crowds.
In his speech Tuesday, Brown said, “Protecting forests is essential. If you burn down the Amazon or if you keep going at the rate of deforestation in Indonesia, it’s bad.”