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In struggle against climate change, Peruvian tribe seeks compensation for land taken for its carbon credits

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Ed Davey, climate accountability reporter, London; Martin Mejia, photographer, Lima; and Cesar Barreto, videographer, San Isidro, Peru, traveled 300 miles over muddy tracks and by water via outboard to visit seven villages of an ignored tribe of Kichwa Indigenous people and to hear their testimony about a historic injustice that is also an example of a current trend in climate finance. Tribal members say their historical lands were taken away, throwing them into poverty, to create a national park from which the Peruvian government earns millions in climate carbon credits from faraway oil companies such as Shell and TotalEnergies. 

The story has its roots in the 2001 creation of Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park, a stretch of Amazon rainforest in the foothills of the Andes where clouds cling to the treetops and morning mists settle over powerful rivers.

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