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!