Nov. 5, 2009
With the Copenhagen climate summit just a month away, a new investigative series looks at how rural Brazilians are being displaced so their forest can be turned into carbon offsets for some of the world’s biggest polluters, including General Motors and Chevron. With deforestation amounting to a fifth of the world’s emissions, planting and preserving trees are seen as key elements to offset pollution. We speak to Mark Schapiro of the Center for Investigative Reporting. After traveling to Brazil, Schapiro writes, “People with some of the smallest carbon footprints on earth are being displaced by companies with some of the biggest.” [includes rush transcript]
Mark Schapiro, Editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco.
GM’s Money Trees
By Mark Schapiro
November/December 2009 Issue
I am standing in the shadow of General Motors’ $1 tree. It’s a native guaricica, with pale white bark and a spreading crown that looms about 40 feet above my head. Hanging from its trunk is a small plaque that identifies it as tree No. 129. I’ve come here, to the verdant chaos of Brazil’s Atlantic forest, to understand the far-reaching and politically explosive controversies taking shape in diplomatic corridors thousands of miles away over the fate of trees like this one.