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Is PNG too risky for the carbon market?

BY STEVE ZWICK

On Monday, an AAP article reported that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare has officially denounced voluntary carbon schemes as being too risky.

The article – republished in PNG Attitude – said Somare was encouraging forest owners to wait for a formal United Nations REDD regime before preserving forests to earn credits for saving them.

The message, however, is not posted on Somare's web page, and the voluntary programs he's denouncing were never verified to any recognized standard.

It's just the latest in a series of weird signals to come out of PNG, which is under fire on both compliance and voluntary carbon fronts.

On the compliance front, PNG's handling of the REDD+ Partnership drew fire at UN climate change talks in Tianjin, where scores of participants accused their negotiating team of stifling efforts to bring small landowners and indigenous groups into the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Somare and new Deputy Prime Minister, Don Polye have been drawing heat for continuing to deal with Australian company, Nupan, which claims to be developing voluntary carbon offset projects in PNG.

Nupan is run by a colorful character named Kirk William Roberts. He makes a great TV villain, and some have tried to equate him with the markets themselves, but the fact is that his company has never had a carbon credit verified or validated under any recognized crediting scheme.

He is tangential to the carbon markets, and not of the carbon markets. That may change the day one of his projects is accredited, but that day has not come.

In fact, his projects have never gained credence in the legitimate carbon community. Further, allegations of intimidation on the part of Nupan would, if proven true, disqualify the company's projects from approval under the CCB.

And now, after all this, Somare is apparently telling us that voluntary carbon markets are too risky for his people?

As has been the case with much of the weirdness swirling around PNG and its foray into the carbon markets, I have not yet been able to confirm Somare's statement with his office.

If it ends up being true – and if the allegations against Nupan pan out as well – I will be forced to concede that, yes, voluntary carbon markets are risky.

And the risk is especially great for the get-rich-quick set, and for anyone looking to steamroll indigenous groups.

Let's work on keeping it that way.

Source: PNG Exposed Blog

Comments

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Nigel Kaua

I salute Nupan on its 'trial' campaign to advocate for sustainable income for indigenous landowners in PNG.

Kirk Roberts is still a hero in the face of climate change issues simply because he is fighting for a good cause of this planet earth to exist several more millions years.

In PNG the indigenous people own the land and the forest (97%) most of which is virgin and untouched. PNG does not need to cut down the trees for logging and plant again for carbon.

We have already experienced the impact of climate change. If the third world wanted to spend on reforestation and REDD+ it can do it on some bare land anywhere else. Not in PNG.

The PM does not own any landowner or even forest in PNG. Nor does the government of PNG.

The World Bank says PNG will benefit greatly from the carbon trade but I do not agree with this statement. I think the world will benefit from PNG on carbon trade.

We don’t need your cash, sorry we have enough and almost everything we need. No logging business, no REDD+.

The Bougainville crisis will give you some idea how land is important to PNGians. PNG will hate Somare if he signs for and brings in REDD+ and throws out voluntary carbon trade.

But PNG knows Somare will not bring in REDD. Ploye and Singin, we love you both and PNG treasures the little signatures you put here to recognise land ownership in our Melanesian society.

If it is not to be Nupan then it has to be a similar agency but PNG indigenous landowners will remain firm on a voluntary carbon deal. Back off REDD+ for PNG.

Somare’s statement describing the voluntary carbon trade as “premature and risky” must explain how it is risky. Somare never said that.

Dr Wari Iamo is out of the picture. He is public servant trying to work for pay as an employer of the government agency implementing government policies.

We love our country, PNG!

Nigel Kaua (Papa Graun – PNG)

Timithy Burton

Just a quick one. It appears that the article in 'The National' did not quote Sir Micheal personally to add how 'risky' is the UNFCCC and the structure of REDD+ to the forest owners of PNG?

What 'start up' business anywhere is not risky? Considering Nupan has spent some millions so far, it is obvious Nupan has weighed up those risks.

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