A recent Nikkei article “Indonesian carbon credit project appears to betray its purpose” alleges that the Katingan Peatland Restoration and Conservation Project significantly overstated its emission reductions and removals.

Verra strongly refutes this allegation as it is based on incorrect assumptions about the project’s baseline and additionality.

Nikkei alleges that, in Central Kalimantan, forests without concessions decreased by only about 1% a year. It also claims that in 2010, when the project began, the threat of deforestation due to pulp plantation development had decreased.

Both allegations are based on inaccurate assumptions and irrelevant facts.

The expected deforestation rate in the project area was 3.91%, which was estimated by assessing the deforestation rate in proxy concession areas during the 10 years prior to the baseline period. The calculation of this baseline is documented in detail in Section 4.5 of the project’s Project Design Document and was validated by an expert independent auditor. In contrast, Nikkei estimated the deforestation rate outside concession areas, which is inadequate for assessing the credibility of the project baseline, since the drivers, agents and rates of deforestation are completely different in and outside concessions.

Nikkei alleges that the project was not additional because the Indonesian government introduced a moratorium on the conversion of primary natural forests and peatlands for oil palm, pulpwood, and logging concessions in May 2011. It alleges that this moratorium prevented the development of new plantations and made the project’s anti-deforestation efforts redundant.

This allegation is incorrect.

The moratorium in question was announced in 2011 as a temporary measure and in 2019 as a permanent measure. It applied only to new permits, and not to concessions that were previously granted a permit, such as those in the project area. (Since the project started in 2010, the concessions in the project area were not affected by the moratorium.) The project has therefore been essential in reducing deforestation in the project area, as it was not covered by the moratorium.