Sunday, 25 October 2009

Beware of fake carbon brokers, says govt

As predicted by Interpol, Nature Alert, and I'm sure others.


Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 10/25/2009

The government has warned local authorities not to sign any agreements with fake carbon brokers who promise huge profits from carbon trading in the forestry sector.

Wandojo Siswanto, an expert working with the Forestry Ministry, said carbon brokers were approaching regents or mayors directly, asking them to sign MOUs to develop reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) projects.

“They are promising regencies or cities huge rewards if they commit to REDD projects, but in fact are not offering any concrete programs,” he said.

“It has already happened, in Kalimantan and Sumatra. Brokers claiming to be carbon developers have launched mass campaigns by showing regents films to convince them to sign MOUs, but local administrations have not seen a single rupiah in return yet.”

He said brokers sold the MOUs in international markets to enrich themselves, not regencies or cities.

Wandojo, who is also head of the country’s working group on the forestry sector at the international climate change conference, declined to name the brokers, saying there were at least 20 international carbon brokers in the forestry sector in Indonesia.

“There are misperceptions about REDD, particularly from local administrations who see it only as carbon trading that can be used as an extra source of revenue. It then makes it easy for carbon traders to convince regents or mayors to trust them,” he said.

Wandojo said his office could not do much to resolve this issue since the local authorities were granted the power - through regional autonomy - to manage their forests.

Many are hoping that REDD, an alternative scheme to cut greenhouse gas emissions to deal with climate change, will be part of the post-2012 global climate agreement.

Indonesia was the first country to issue a regulation on REDD, allowing indigenous peoples, local authorities, private organizations and businesspeople, both local and foreign, to run REDD projects.