Top scientists have submitted a rebuttal to the West Et Al paper (August 2023) to Science for peer review, and urged the retraction or major revision of the study which discredited avoided deforestation projects.
Prof. Ed Mitchard (Space Intelligence) and colleagues affiliated to ao NASA, Conservation International, UCLA and the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences found major flaws in the research of West et al. A pre-publication of the West et al paper earlier this year, lead to critical articles in The Guardian and Die Zeit, which had a serious impact on the market. The findings of Mitchard et al are therefore highly relevant.
Key flaws found by Mitchard et al include issues with the comparison sites chosen, the global deforestation datasets used, and the incorrect calculation of carbon benefits from projects. They conclude that West and colleagues made numerical errors when calculating the carbon benefits of projects. Two different calculation errors meant together that the proportion of credits that represented real carbon benefits should be increased from 6 % to 68 %.