PNG Carbon Goldmine Concern

Karl FitzgeraldCommentary7 Comments

Creative Commons License photo credit: backpackphotography

Today’s Age report on Carbon Cowboys Riding High

THE Australian at the heart of Papua New Guinea’s carbon trading rush is entrepreneur and racing identity Kirk Roberts, who is believed to have convinced many tribal groups to sign their rainforests up for future use as carbon credits.

Mr Roberts, who runs his carbon operations through a company called Nupan Pty Ltd, claims to have power of attorney over 90 forestry deals, giving him control over land potentially worth tens of millions of dollars as carbon sinks.

We warned on this when we first heard that Jeffrey Sachs was giving PNG carbon sink advice (back in May). Anyone who has heard Prof Michael Hudson or read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine understands what we mean.

The danger in signing away your full rights as a carbon sink custodian is that over time, the value of saving the planet will become more and more important. As the lungs of the planet, these ancient forests will become increasingly valuable. Why sell the carbon rights off now in total rather than lease out their sequestering capabilities over their lifetime? With a yearly lease, where the land is valued per annum, the local PNG tribes would get a share of the ever increasing value of these living treasures.

We have warned about the speculative nature of these new eco markets on the Renegade Economists podcast for many moons. This story is the dangerous outcome to the bankers bonanza opening up in green markets. Speculative middlemen will simply sneak in and claim the lion’s share of the profiteering made possible by the creation of ‘fee simple’ property rights (rather than ‘fee annual’ – defining yearly payments).

This REDD scheme will do little to reduce overall carbon emissions. Neither will carbon trading.

Stories are being leaked on how companies are setting up bogus refrigeration companies in India that use the worst possible emitting gases, then ‘reforming’ them towards less harmful gases as the cheapest carbon ‘credit’. Why not avoid the pain of nightmares from our future grandchildren by going to a carbon tax? Sorry speculators, you will have to do something productive!

See our other commentaries on carbon trading here

The earth’s bounty should be shared amongst all to create the equality of opportunity that we are hood winked into believing democracy delivers!

7 Comments on “PNG Carbon Goldmine Concern”

  1. Kirk Roberts is very alert and skilled.
    He learnt many important political realities from his father.
    Importantly the issues of land tenue in PNG as he believes is the most inportant issue for the country to retain within its own forest people.
    The Brigalow Corporation scinario is trying to infect through out the Pacific, similar to now Europe.The G8 or G22 EU are a failure, similar to the Australian Tax system.
    Evidence is avalible to whoever chooses to explore.
    Kirk Roberts has travelled throughout PNG and understands better than most what logging has done to the people and the enviroment.
    He say’s that REDD is just something that they all want to rely on, not many fully understand though, but so many write and are claimed authorities and ‘sell news’ from it and confused themselves and most others.
    Kirk Roberts has simply said we will stop the forests and its biodiversity from being raped.
    How one would say, but because he can!
    The Australian Government are the wrong people to manage PNG forests, they have been observed and fail.
    It would not be right to allow them to control and make a real mess out of PNG.
    The media have written so many untruths and lied, we understand why and who is behind the properganda.
    In all some genuine talk back is needed.
    Thank you

  2. Kirk Roberts is doing untold damage to the Carbon Trading opportunities in PNG and the potential benefits that could flow to local communites.

    He continues to lay claim to project areas that he clearly has no rites too. Mr Roberts has not conducted any of his dealings according to the United Nations Guidlines for Carbon credit certification.

    Mr Roberts has not provided the landowners of PNG with proper awareness programs that are designed to create a genuine understanding of Carbon Trading and its mechanisms of UN standard, Free – Prior – Informed Consent.

    His claimed rights over the Carbon Resources are laughable! He does not have the written consent of all landowners. Having a signature or two from a village representative obtained in Port Morseby without the consent of the entire landowner group and local provincual Government will never pass the scrutiny of the international carbon community,or court when tenure issue’s arise as they are sure to do.

    Mr Roberts is an arrogant egomaniac. He struts around PNG as some great white hope. This self promoting Carbon Trading Messiah continues to show his contempt for the process and the people of PNG.

    If he had any scruples and was genuine about trying to help the landowners he would conduct himself in a professional,honorable manner in accordance with the strict and well constructed UN frame work.

    This would see the correct beneficiary’s receive what are their rightful entitlements and not jeopordize this wonderful opportunity to save the forests and compensate the people for ensuring its protection.

    Mr Roberts, if you intend to continue your business in PNG consider this. Tidy up you act both personally and professionaly.
    If you are unable to and are working at your highest capacity then understand you are out of your depth and the wrong person for the job!

    A suggestion to help improve your image, refrain from giving television interviews as you come across as ill informed arrogant and frankly stupid.

    To the Government of PNG please act now!!

    To have a person of Kirk Roberts reputation as the “Spokesman” of Carbon Trading Developers in PNG is appalling.
    He is not a true reflection of what is possible for the people of PNG and the new opportunities Carbon presents.

    There are Carbon Development Companies in PNG working hard,professionally and ethically to help realize this wonderful opportunity for the people of PNG and the wider global community.

    These Companies don’t deserve to be branded with the Cowboy stigma! A right of reply from any of these credible Developers would make interesting viewing and place some some much needed balance and clarity on what is happening and actually possible from this new initiative.

    Best Regards

  3. This article at REDD delivers more current detail on PNG’s carbon cowboys, with links to the SBS TV episodes.

    Carbon Trading must be axed as another financial hoax and replaced with a carbon tax system, backed up with payments to communities, landowners for maintaining eco system services. We must write more on eco system services.

  4. So far in PNG there is 1 vcs’methodology’ and 1 proper PDD structured template and projects near completion for PNG forest owners thanks to my boss and Nupan. is a good source of information that will argue your comments.
    It is very important to understand that the UNFCCC is not able to achieve ‘anything’ although its servants as Kevin Conrad for PNG constantly ill inform the PNG people, PM and Government.
    The UNFCCC only allow properganda through this Conrad and his and UNFCCC media statements, pledging countries just simply do not have the monies advertised.
    Leading to Copenhagen and now after to Olso the UNFCCC is found wanting and has no major world country support and is teasing the world with 1 Billion dollar agreements with strange terms and conditions eg Indonesia and Norway.
    The anti Roberts media is now sucking eggs REDD monitor as one.
    Arron their is no other developer in PNG with any commercial structure in place for Forest people of PNG other than logging companies and rubbish from Conrad.
    What other carbon developers are you talking about?

  5. hasimanijoyce@gmail. com.
    Could you help my Papua New Guinea Greens Party to establish a structure to ensure my communities benefit.
    I know people are taking advantage of my people.

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