Local implementation of international climate policies is frequently obscure. The objective of our research is to unpack the "black box" of carbon offsetting as it is being conducted in Latin American indigenous territories. Our two case studies of renewable energy projects under construction in Naso and Ngobe villages in western Panama show that carbon offsets in oppressive societies have the potential to cause social harm. Our cases illustrate processes of green authoritarianism, spatial control, and social restructuring. The private developers constructing the Chan 75 and Bonyic dams did not follow international standards for free, prior, and informed consent, and state agencies reinforced private rights with physical violence. As the hydro developers await decisions on their applications for verification under the Clean Development Mechanism (COM), we recommend COM procedural reforms to assure respect for human rights, including the special rights codified in the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If not, project developers could use low-carbon objectives to justifY social oppression.

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Copyright © 2013 Routledge. This chapter first appeared in The New Geographies of Energy: Assessment and Analysis of Critical Landscapes.

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