Rotten to the core

“The UN’s forest protection plan hasn’t even started yet but already we are seeing massive fraud, bribery and backdoor deals across the world.  …

The lure is the potential billion of dollars to be made from buying and selling the carbon rights to forests. If you hold the rights and can prove that “your” forest is in danger, you can – after you’ve been through qualifying hoops – sell the carbon not released to rich consumers or companies who cannot offset their own emissions.  …

The great green hope is the UN’s Redd (Reduced emissions form deforestation and degradation) programme, which is fine in theory but proving a legal nightmare in practice. Redd hasn’t even started yet but already we are seeing massive fraud, bribery, backdoor deals, and corruption from Asia to Africa and all points between.  …

[Y]ou can see the legal problems a mile away. A minute Australian company working from what appears to be a shopping mall in an Australian suburb claims to have grabbed the carbon rights to the entire Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); a three-man Kenyan company reckons it can earn $10m a year from the rights to a stretch of Cameroonian forest; the family of Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has been accused of pressuring remote villagers to sign away their land, one of the lead negotiators for Indonesia’s climate delegation, and the architect of its Redd programme, has been named as a corruption suspect by the country’s anti-corruption agency. The list goes on.  …

Liberian president Ellen Sirleaf Johnson has began extradition proceedings against a British businessman, for allegedly negotiating a closed-doors deal with a group of corrupt Liberian officials to purchase one-fifth of Liberia’s rainforest; Greenpeace has declared that Papua New Guinea is not ready to implement Redd and Global Witness has warned that the whole scheme will be undermined by corruption.  …

The danger here is that a badly thought through Redd deal is shovelled through by eager countries in Cancun and leads not to untold wealth and resource protection, but to more poverty and more corruption.”  “Massive corruption undermines forest protection plan


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