Can Criminals Affect Climate Change Using the Carbon Market?

May 30, 2009 by Tommy Linsley  
Filed under Climate Change

INTERPOL fears that forest-CO2 scheme will draw organized crime

Thomson Reuters Carbon Market Community

Can we call these guys “Carbon Criminals”?

Reuters, 29 May 2009 - Organized crime syndicates are eyeing the nascent forest carbon credit industry as a potentially lucrative new opportunity for fraud, an Interpol environmental crime official said on Friday.

Peter Younger is an environmental crimes specialist for Interpol, the world’s largest international police agency.  His organized crime fears are related to a U.N.-backed scheme called reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

The purpose of REDD is aimed at unlocking potentially billions of dollars for developing countries that conserve and restore their forests.  In return for their conservation efforts, these countries would earn carbon credits that can be sold for profit to developed nations that need to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

“If you are going to trade any commodity on the open market, you are creating a profit and loss situation.  There will be fraudulent trading of carbon credits,” Younger told Reuters in an interview at a forestry conference in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian island of Bali.  Younger goes further to say, “In future, if you are running a factory and you desperately need credits to offset your emissions, there will be someone who can make that happen for you.  Absolutely, organized crime will be involved.”

Younger calls on governments, multi-lateral bodies and NGOs (legally constituted, non-governmental organization created by natural or legal persons with no participation or representation of any government) to realize the need for more involvement by law enforcement agencies in the development of REDD policies and in the fight against illegal logging and deforestation, which are responsible for about 20 percent of mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Can You Win With Carbon Credits?

Can You Win With Carbon Credits?

Realizing that he was the only law enforcement official at the conference, Younger also said, “Consider resourcing law enforcement efforts and not just relying on NGOs and other nice people to do it for you.”

Is the Problem Growing?

It is no secret that forests soak up and displace large amounts of carbon dioxide and REDD aims to reward governments and local communities for every ton of CO2 locked up by a forest over decades, equaling to a very large global cash flow concerning forest credits.

Rightfully, local communities should earn a share of REDD credit sales to pay for better health, education and alternative livelihoods that entice them to protect rather than cut down surrounding forests.

However, revenue-sharing policies have not been finalized and will differ for each country.  Some NGOs fear central and provincial governments might demand control of that money and severely limit the amount going to local communities.

“It starts with bribery or intimidation of officials that can impede your business.  Then if there is indigenous people involved, there’s threats and violence against those people.  There’s forged documents”, he added.  Younger also states, “In illegal logging for instance, there are companies that may have a lawful side of the business and this is the dirty laundry on the side”.

~ Sourced from the Thomson Reuters Carbon Markets Community - a free, gated online network for carbon market and climate policy professionals.

Background: UN-REDD Program

UN Secretary-General and Prime Minister of Norway Launch UN-REDD Program

United Nations Secretary-General and Prime Minister of Norway Launch UN-REDD Program

(courtesy of United Nations Development Program)–>

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (third from left) poses for a group photo with Jens Stoltenberg (third from right), Prime Minister of Norway, and the other participants, following a joint press conference to launch a new initiative to reduce emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation.

The United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD Program) is a collaboration between FAO, UNDP and UNEP.  A multi-donor trust fund was established in July 2008 that allows donors to pool resources and provides funding to activities towards this program.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the cutting down of forests is now contributing close to 20 per cent of the overall greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.  Forest degradation also makes a significant contribution to emissions from forest ecosystems.  Therefore there is an immediate need to make significant progress in reducing deforestation, forest degradation, and associated emission of greenhouse gases.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agenda item on “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries and approaches to stimulate action” was first introduced at the Conference of the Parties (COP11) in December 2005 by the governments of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, supported by eight other Parties.

Then skip forward, in response to a COP13 decision, requests from countries, and encouragement from donors, FAO, UNDP and UNEP have developed a collaborative REDD program.  The UN-REDD Program is aimed at tipping the economic balance in favour of sustainable management of forests so that their formidable economic, environmental and social goods and services benefit countries, communities and forest users while also contributing to important reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

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9 Responses to “Can Criminals Affect Climate Change Using the Carbon Market?”
  1. David from Adjuvant Chemotherapy says:

    Almost certainly a strong regulation system needs to be in place, as is true for other markets like finance or resources. In finance, there’s always fraud, e.g. Madoff and others who engage in Ponzi schemes, and in resource markets there is lots of smuggling and illegal mining. The trick is to find the right balance of regulation and capital freedom.

  2. Testing a new plugin.
    It’s CommenTwitter by (thanks)
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  4. Max from says:

    I think there must be strong regulation, too. This kind of smuggling is just to easy to accomplish, I think.

  5. Anthony Clark from Travel Guide says:

    yeah be careful NYPD has now gone Green, Criminals (Those who are not communing with green movenent) get alert, one mistake of yours can show you a way to Jail, this is marvellous law that is been infered recently, i m sure then only people will get more alerted.
    Anthony Clark@Travel Guide´s last blog ..Tips for Visiting Niagara Falls on a Budget My ComLuv Profile


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