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PNG govt taken to task over carbon trading

Sir Mekere Morauta, Leader of the PNG Opposition, speaking in Parliament, has challenged the Somare Government over its putative carbon trading activities.

He has expressed alarm at developments that had recently come to light in relation to premature carbon trading, and unusual agreements with a large number of companies to trade carbon on behalf of PNG “without proper scrutiny and without regulatory policy or legislation in place”.

“If we are not careful, cowboys operating behind the scenes, using our name and wearing our cloak, will reap the lion’s share of carbon revenue,” Sir Mekere said.

“It appears that the Prime Minister and his henchmen, including the Minister for Planning and more recently the Director of the Office of Climate Change, have been hawking these potential assets around the world to all and sundry”.

Sir Mekere said one firm appointed by the government, Climate Assist (PNG), is a one dollar company based in Rockhampton with its sole director, Mr Gregory Corby, providing an address in Toowoomba.

“Another Australian company, Carbon Planet, last year advanced the Office of Climate Change $1.2 million,” he said. “As with Climate Assist, the Opposition wonders what connections Carbon Planet and its Chairman, Mr Jim Johnson have with the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister’s associates.”

“A close relative of the Prime Minister is involved with yet another company, Pacific Carbon,” he said. “The media alleges the PM’s relative has been urging people in East Sepik to sign away rights to land for trading carbon to this company.

“We also wonder why, when questioned about this payment by an AAP reporter, Mr Johnson would say so defensively: ‘I am not explaining at all. I am not having this conversation’.

Sir Mekere went on to say that these three cases were not the only examples of premature carbon trading conducted by the PNG government.

“Apparently last year, the Office of Climate Change authorized a Swiss based broker, South Pole Carbon Asset Management, to market 1 million tonnes of avoided carbon dioxide emission per annum from a PNG logging project based in the Sepik."

He also revealed that Macquarie Bank is the latest company to want to jump on the bandwagon.

“Macquarie Bank has been in discussions with the Office of Climate Change, offering to broker carbon trade deals and retain 15% of profits,” he said. “If the voluntary carbon market turns out to be worth billions of dollars in the next couple of years, as predicted by a number of players, the Bank’s 15% would be very handsome income indeed.”

“It is obvious that the whole situation in relation to carbon trading in our country is a complete and utter mess,” Sir Mekere concluded. “Instead of developing an appropriate policy and legal framework that ensures protection of the interests of landowners and the state, the Prime Minister, Ministers and the staff of the Office of Climate Change have been criss-crossing the globe, appointing ‘brokers’ on who knows what terms, and basically selling people’s and national assets at whim.

“If the funds have not been paid to Consolidated Revenue, we want to know how are they being accounted, and what authority the Office of Climate Change has to raise or to spend these funds.

“Above all, we want to know why the Government is promoting all these deals, when there is no regulatory policy or legislation for carbon trading in PNG."


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Maru John

Is there a policy for carbon trading in PNG now?

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