In 2016, Sara Peña Valderrama completed her PhD in social anthropology, where she studied a forest carbon project run by Conservation International in Madagascar. Her thesis is available on Durham University’s website: Entangling Molecules: an ethnography of a carbon offset project in Madagascar’s eastern rainforest. She submitted this Guest Post about what happened when the project changed to a carbon project. She is currently a Honorary Research Associate at Durham University.
In 1996, Uganda’s National Forest Authority awarded a 50 year licence covering an area of land just over 9,000 hectares to a Norwegian company called Green Resources. Twenty years later, local communities are still feeling the impacts of the company’s industrial tree plantations.
Green Resources is a Norwegian company that claims to be “Africa’s largest forestation company.” The company has established a total of 45,000 hectares of industrial plantations in Africa. It also generates carbon credits from its plantations.
Green Resources is a Norwegian company with plantations in Africa. According to the company, its plantation operations follow, “high international practice for sustainable forest management, ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] responsibilities and carbon sequestration”.
At COP16 in Cancun at the end of 2010, parties to the UNFCCC agreed that, “Parties should, in all climate change related actions, fully respect human rights.” Since then, however, there has been no further guidance. And the word “should” rather than “shall” is worrying, to say the least.
In March 2015, Bloomberg quoted Jens Frølich Holte, political adviser to Norway’s Minister for Climate and Environment, as saying that, “Carbon trading can speed up the global transition away from a fossil economy. Trade creates benefits and this is as true for carbon as it is for other commodities.”
A new report from INTERPOL describes the crimes that have already taken place in global carbon markets and warns that “The intangible nature of the global carbon trading markets puts them at risk for exploitation by criminal networks”.
Last week, the clean development mechanism registered its 7,000th project. At a first glance, the statistics look impressive. Over a 10 year period, the CDM has issued 1.3 billion carbon credits, added 110,000 Mega Watts of renewable energy and seen US$215 billion invested in low carbon projects in the Global South.
At the end of last week, the number of credits issued under the Clean Development Mechanism reached one billion. “This exciting milestone is a testament to the expanding use of the CDM,”, according to Christiana Figueres, the UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary.