Responding to comments by Glenn Hurowitz: First of all I think this is an excellent article, and thank Mr. Hari for his courage to challenge these big, powerful, "environmental mainstream" groups that have lost their principles. The problem is not restricted to big conservation groups, actually, but much larger. Groups in the US Climate Action Partnership are prime examples, fiercely promoting market fundamentalism, in which they are deeply entrenched.
Mr. Hari's article certainly was not advocating that we should not try to save forests. Just the contrary. He is saying that we should take truly effective steps to save forests, instead of using forests in elaborate offset schemes that will only benefit the scheme's promoters, and logging companies, but not the forests, the climate or the indigenous peoples.
Instead of using REDD as offset projects so that polluters can continue to pollute (therefore offsetting any avoided emissions from reducing deforestation), we should not allow any efforts to end deforestation to be used as offsets. In fact, there should not be offsets of any kind, forests or otherwise, in any scheme to fight global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Real emission reduction from polluters must be demanded, on top of and at the same time as ending deforestation.
Mr. Hari didn't even go into the dirty laundry of how "forest" is defined in REDD, which perversely incentivizes replacement of native, biodiverse and carbon-rich natural forests with monoculture plantations of tree crops, yet still gets pushed along by those big influential "green" groups.
As for the Noel Kempff National Park project in Bolivia, even the Bolivian government admitted it was a thorough failure, and decided to stop supporting REDD schemes, as it recognizes now that they do not truly reduce emissions, even though they represent a cash source for the country.