in Australia, Papua New Guinea

Recent videos about carbon cowboys and REDD in Papua New Guinea

Kevin Conrad“It’s depressing”, Kevin Conrad told Associated Press, commenting on what happened (or didn’t) in Copenhagen. “It means I’ve got to spend another year … coming to meetings and talking about the same things.”

Conrad would probably be even more depressed had he been asked to comment on what is happening in Papua New Guinea.

The PNG government is investigating allegations of corruption linked to REDD and carbon trading. The Rights and Resources Initiative notes that “there are reports of villagers are being threatened at gunpoint to hand over their carbon rights to ‘carbon cowboys’.” The government has shut down the Office of Climate Change & Environmental Sustainability (OCCES) and there are criminal investigations underway regarding the issuance of carbon certificates.

In December 2009, to coincide with the negotiations in Copenhagen, two programmes came out about REDD in PNG. The first, “Carbon Cowboys”, is from Al Jazeera and follows the progress of Kirk Roberts (a “cock-fighting, carbon cowboy, kingpin, tree tyrant”) as he attempts to set up multi-million dollar carbon trading schemes in PNG’s forests. Here’s how Roberts explains carbon trading to villagers:

“If we chop the trees down and we go logging, you get one chop, one chop and then all the biodiversity, all the water and everything becomes polluted, it disappears. Your children will have nothing. You keep the trees and you keep the biodiversity and you let me work hard to find a way to make you get paid for that, that’s carbon trading. . . . There’s lots of opportunities to come from carbon trading. There’ll be, er, income for the people, there’ll be money provided for infrastructure to improve your roads, to help you with schools, with hospitals. This is very important what’s happening here. I congratulate everybody here.”

The second is a four-part documentary broadcast on the Australian channel SBS:

  1. Deforestation on Summit Agenda
  2. Climate Controversy in PNG
  3. PNG Climate Woes Continue
  4. Papua Carbon Trade Blind Eye

In the second video, “Climate Controversy in PNG“, SBS asks Carbon Planet’s Dave Sag about Kirk Roberts of Nupan Trading Company Ltd. According to Carbon Planet’s website, “Nupan, as well as other project developers, has contracted Carbon Planet to provide the certification and trading services for its carbon projects in Papua New Guinea and other countries around the World.” But on film Sag was reluctant to speak about Roberts. “Yeah, look. Can you stop the tape, for a moment?” he said. He pulled his earpiece out and left the recording studio. Kirk Roberts declined to be interviewed by SBS.
 

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  1. @Toruk Makto – Thanks. I’ve corrected that. (I got it right in the following sentence and the last paragraph… not that that’s much consolation.)

  2. Its just more money grubbing carpetbaggers coming to PNG this time they’re called carbon traders. Another way to take advantage of our people in the villages.

    Why after so long still not one serious media investigation of Kevin Conrad’s business schemes of the past? There’s plenty to dig through to see if this fellow is really legit. From our PNG perspective it would seem he is promoting things that will enrichen him behind the scenes & onus is on him to prove otherwise.

    You Americans you think it is ok to promote what looks like a good thing only because you know that if people support your idea you’ll be the one getting rich? You think its ok for more foreigners to copycat our PNG politicians and take their 10%, 15%, 20% or whatever as middlemen instead of truly delivering goods and services to the people? I’m sick of middleman like Somare, Conrad, Roberts, etc. They’re all in it for the money those scum.

  3. The Copenhagen type of gathering has not and will not solved even though another meeting will be held next year will also NOT solved the third world nations tropical forests, because we are ALL contributor to the Global Climate Changes and Warming. So why going to such meeting asking for money to help solve your problem. You as a Sovereign Nations, with independent Constitutions, different language, culture, traditions, why should other country help you for the money to establish the Country’s Adaptation Fund and help serve your problems?

    Did you ever asked yourself this simple question: WHY THE FIGURE OF MONEY YOU READ ON NEWSPAPERS, CNN, BBC ETC., IN TRILLION DOLLARS AND YET THE GLOBAL POPULATION IS ONLY 6.7 BILLION. WHY IS STILL POVERTY, DEBTS, HUNGER, FOOD SHORTAGES, CHILDREN CANT GO TO SCHOOLS, UNEMPLOYMENT RATE SO HIGHER.

    IF YOU PUT UP US-$6.7 BILLION PER HEAD, THERE SHOULD BE NON OF THOSE DIFFICULTIES MENTIONED ABOVE.

    SO THE QUESTION NOW RAISED, WHERE IS THE BALANCE OF THE A TRILLION DOLLARS MONEY KEPT?

    ANOTHER WAY OF ASKING, NATIONS OF THE WORLD MUST QUICKLY FIGURE OUT ANOTHER WAY TO CREATE MONEY IN YOUR OWN WAY BY MEANS OF YOUR ASSETS STILL IN THE GROUND AND USE IT AS A BANKABLE ASSETS BASE ON THE GLOBAL COMMODITY PRICE OR BETTER GO BACK TO GOLD BASE AND ISSUE YOUR OWN LOCAL CURRENCY AND MEET YOUR CLIMATE AND GLOBAL REDUCTION PROGRAMS INDEPENDENTLY WHICH IS LEGAL TO DO. IT IS YOUR SOVEREIGN CHOICE NO OTHER NATIONS WILL STOP YOU IF YOU DO THAT.

    PLEASE GIVE THIS EMAIL MESSAGE A SERIOUS TAUGHT.

    GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  4. Thanks REDD Monitor, SBS and Aljazeera for revieling the rot in PNG.

    If no deal was reached in Copenhagen and yet Aljazeera and SBS TVs talk about the mess we are in PNG about Carbon Trading, Carbon Cowboys. OCCES&CT and the effects of Global Warming and Climate change. Sir Somare and Kevin ConnREDD should start small in PNG.

    Many questions are still being asked….why pay McKinsey Consultants a huge K5 million for a weeks work on PNG POSITION FOR COP15 while 80% of their hypotesis was drawn based on external data while they came to PNG just to confirm 20% and presented it and was their report having any meaning on PNG’s position at the Copenhagen meeting; people who went there should report back to the people of PNG….what a shame on Kevin, Somare and Wari….maybe they also took their 10-20% of that K5 million.

    With the LNG project now off the ground, PNG does not need to ask or beg for money from external sources for REDD and other climate change related projects in PNG. It must now look at its own internal funding sources if it is serious about its 6.5 million people and the future.

    Somare and his Ministers are becoming filty rich at the expense of the people of PNG, our land and resources with very little benefiting the majority…PNG is a rich country as the Americans said ” An island of Gold floating on an ocean of oil” …and yet we are poor because our leaders are greedy, selfish, and corrupt and live in a dream world.

    It is about time, greedy Politicians and Ministers of Government are executed by firing squad.

    Sori ol pipol bilong yumi Papua Niugini, wanem taim tru bai yumi kirap, sanap and opim ai luksave na opim iau na harim tok and wokim samting tru bilong gutpela bilong yumi nau na ol pikinini bilong yumi long bihain taim !!

    Bush Mangi

  5. Bush Mangi

    Was McKinsey’s really paid K5 million for a week’s work for PNG on climate change? How do you know? Where did the money come from?

    A Witness