The Brazilian Amazon in Mato Grosso state, Brazil. Image by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay. The reduction in levels of deforestation and carbon emissions attributable to Brazilian Amazon projects certified under a leading United Nations carbon-offset program have been seriously overstated, according to new research. Analysis of 12 voluntary REDD+ projects (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), that have operated in the world’s largest rainforest since 2008, found that the claimed reductions in forest loss had failed to accurately set baselines for deforestation rates by not properly accounting for successful efforts made separately by the Brazilian government and other programs. The research, carried out by a team of international researchers and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that “the accepted methodologies for quantifying carbon credits overstate impacts on avoided deforestation and climate change mitigation.” Using a number of publicly available deforestation datasets including PRODES and TerraClass (both operated by INPE, Brazil’s space agency), and MapBiomas (operated by Climate Observatory, a Brazilian NGO), the team analyzed deforestation across Brazilian states including Amazonas, Pará and Rondônia up until 2017. The researchers used a methodology called synthetic control, which compared the levels of deforestation in areas involved in the REDD+ program with levels in similar areas that were not involved in the program. According to the findings, cumulative deforestation was in fact higher in half of the REDD+ program areas. “In general, the levels of deforestation were overestimated because they assume that historical deforestation rates —…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer