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Lisa Song?!  Lisa Wrong!

Below is our list of Lisa Song’s pieces about forest carbon offsets which are referenced in our Op-Ed rebuttal in The Hill. Did we miss one?  Please let us know at info at cotap dot org.

Being able to see all of these pieces in one place will help people judge for themselves whether they’re part of a “hidden agenda” that goes against ProPublica’s professed stance against such things in its Code of Ethics.  They’re not even listed as a ProPublica “Series” of special investigations and ongoing reporting.

One gets a glimpse of an agenda (by the sheer volume, and…) by the self-referencing in the June 21st piece: “Influenced by a ProPublica investigation…”  In other words, somebody was giving money to ProPublica to do this because they don’t want California utilizing forestry offsets in its compliance program (an effort which failed, by the way).

Instead of taking on the challenge of arguing that point, Ms. Song mailed it in by taking the much lazier path of “all forest carbon offset projects have no environmental integrity.” That’s a misrepresentation at best and pretty much “rounds down” to libel. But, it’s so much easier to spin that tale to an unsuspecting layperson, especially when the author shirks accountability by declining an invitation to explain and defend her work on the Bionic Planet podcast hosted by Steve Zwick, editor of Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace.

In this way, Pulitzer winners not only become hacks, but they also become part of the dirty trick bag of surrogates, backchannels, and agenda-driven hit pieces that are an unscrupulous, yet unfortunately time-tested, strategy for influencing public opinion.  Oil and tobacco companies of course do this, and many liberals/greens do it too…




A Nonprofit Promised to Preserve Wildlife. Then It Made Millions Claiming It Could Cut Down Trees.

https://www.propublica.org/article/a-nonprofit-promised-to-preserve-wildlife-then-it-made-millions-claiming-it-could-cut-down-trees
By Lisa Song and James Temple
May 10, 2021

The Climate Solution Actually Adding Millions of Tons of CO2 Into the Atmosphere

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-climate-solution-actually-adding-millions-of-tons-of-co2-into-the-atmosphere
By Lisa Song and James Temple
April 29, 2021

The Word Nobody Wanted to Say at the UN Climate Action Summit

“Offsets.”
https://www.propublica.org/article/offsets-un-climate-action-summit-the-word-nobody-wanted-to-say
By Lisa Song
October 1, 2019

If Carbon Offsets Require Forests to Stay Standing, What Happens When the Amazon Is on Fire?

The emergency threatening part of the world’s largest rainforest is proof that offsets are too risky to count on to cancel out corporate pollution, and that the Amazon needs help without strings attached.
https://www.propublica.org/article/if-carbon-offsets-require-forests-to-stay-standing-what-happens-when-the-amazon-is-on-fire
By Lisa Song, ProPublica, and Paula Moura for ProPublica
August 26, 2019

California Legislators Urge Caution, but Greenlight a Plan That Could Lead to the Widespread Use of Forestry Offsets

Influenced by a ProPublica investigation, they emphasized the need for “vigorous and proactive monitoring,” noting concerns long voiced by scientists about the integrity of carbon credits.
https://www.propublica.org/article/california-legislators-urge-caution-but-greenlight-plan-that-could-lead-to-widespread-use-forestry-offsets
By Lisa Song
June 21, 2019

United Nations Agency Criticizes Carbon Offsets

A senior official said ProPublica’s recent investigation contributed to questions raised about offsets, which the UN has long supported.
https://www.propublica.org/article/united-nations-agency-criticizes-carbon-offsets
By Lisa Song
June 14, 2019

These 4 Arguments Can’t Overcome the Facts About Carbon Offsets for Forest Preservation

Those trying to make them work reacted passionately about ProPublica’s investigation, which found they have failed to deliver the climate benefit they promise. Their arguments come up short.
https://www.propublica.org/article/these-4-arguments-cant-overcome-the-facts-about-carbon-offsets-for-forest-preservation
By Lisa Song
May 31, 2019

Op-Ed: California may let polluters offset carbon by preserving rain forests. Here are the pitfalls

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-song-climate-change-rain-forest-offsets-20190523-story.html
By Lisa Song
May 23, 2019

An (Event More) Inconvenient Truth

Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing
https://features.propublica.org/brazil-carbon-offsets/inconvenient-truth-carbon-credits-dont-work-deforestation-redd-acre-cambodia/
By Lisa Song, with additional reporting by Paula Moura
May 22, 2019