Carbon fraud

D.S Gavara-Nanu, Flinders University,

In 1997, the United Nations met to consider methods to combat the destruction of the World’s forests and contain the emission of carbon dioxide.  Enter the Kyoto Protocol (“Protocol”) which facilitated the development of Emissions Trading Schemes (“ETS”); the “Cap and Trade” scheme was one under which nations were allocated a fixed amount of “carbon credits” in order to emit carbon.  Nations which exceed their limit, can pay other nations for their credits, in order to continue to emit carbon.

In 2005, rainforest nations proposed the Reducing Emissions Deforestation and Degradation scheme (“REDD”), under which industrialised nations pay rainforest nations to maintain their forests, to allow the former to emit carbon.  REDD became REDD+ as a result of the inclusion of conservation methods.

Proponents against carbon trading argue that the concept will fail because it was designed and endorsed by governments which have faith in an unseen commodity which encourages corruption (Bachram, 2004; Labatt, 2007; Lohmann, 2009; Gilbertson, 2011)).  With the European Union (“EU”) ETS valued at over €30 billion, it easily attracted organised criminal networks who stole substantial amounts of money and credits (Europol, 2009; Frunza, 2013).  After these thefts, the EU tightened its control over its ETS.  Attention is now on the voluntary carbon market where REDD+ is in danger of exploitation too (Vidal, 2009).

I will investigate the origins of the criminals who infiltrated the EU ETS and identify the loopholes they circumvented; and then analyse Papua New Guinea’s REDD+ scheme, its intertwined domestic logging industry and identify the threats to REDD+ in PNG.  A merge of laws will occur through analysing:  (1) criminology, (2) climate change law and (3) international law and this merge will result in safeguarding the interests of Indigenous landowners in REDD+ countries by attempting to develop initiatives to deal with exploitation.