There is an equation to illustrate that carbon offsets do not reduce emissions: 1 – 1 = 0. Most people can understand this. If emissions are reduced in one place (-1) but through the sales of carbon credits emissions are allowed to continue somewhere else (+1) the overall result is zero. Unfortunately, IDEAcarbon does not understand this.
Two new Project Development Documents have recently been posted on the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) website, relating to REDD-type projects in Papua New Guinea: Kamula Doso Improved Forest Management Carbon Project and April Salumei Sustainable Forest Management Project.
A month ago, I wrote to the UN-REDD team in Papua New Guinea to ask, among other things, what has happened to the programme’s budget of US$2,596 million. I am still waiting for a reply. Last week, I sent a reminder, along with a new question about the PNG government’s investigation into the Office of Climate Change, the key documents of which, it seems, have disappeared.
This article was published in the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin 151, February 2010. It is loosely based on a presentation I gave at a workshop in Bogor earlier this month, about local media and REDD. The workshop was organised by the Indonesian local media association ASTEKI and the Samdhana Institute.
Last month, Ecosystem Marketplace published a report on the state of the forest carbon market. The report, “State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2009: Taking Root & Branching Out“, provides a fascinating glimpse into the upside-down world of carbon trading.
A series of new reports about climate and finance is available on The Corner House website. The papers illustrate the dangers of attempting to find “solutions” to climate change through carbon trading. “There are close parallels between the rampant financial innovations behind the current financial crisis and the innovations feeding carbon trading,” writes Larry Lohmann in a new Corner House Briefing.
Papua New Guinea’s forest carbon trading fiasco is back in the news. The focus is on Kirk Roberts, pictured right, his company Nupan (PNG) Trading Limited and an Australian carbon trading firm, Carbon Planet. “It’s no secret that I am one of the most important foreigners in PNG,” Roberts says. But his opponents have called him “the kingpin of the ‘carbon cowboys'”.
On 16 July 2009, Mekere Morauta, the leader of the opposition in Papua New Guinea, made a statement in Parliament about carbon trading and the role of the Office of Climate Change. Having received no answers to his questions, he produced a new media statement at the end of August 2009, repeating his questions to the prime minister.
“REDD is a risky and false solution to climate change, both in theory and in practice,” argues a new report by Friends of the Earth International. “Now it is time to ditch risky REDD for known community approaches that are effective, ethical and equitable.”
“REDD+ projects can be expected to have poor social and environmental outcomes unless they use substantially different approaches, which build on the capabilities of the wide range of local natural resource managers to undertake efficient resource management and conservation in the Amazon.”