Earlier this month a visitor to this blog by the name of STV asked on one of my posts about what the Carbon Credit office (as STV described it) was doing. Well Dr. Theo Yasause, the Executive Director of the Office of Climate Change has recently issued 2 certificates of approval to two companies at K10,000.00 each. One is Masefield Asia Pacific Ltd. who is represented by their regional director Nagendra Chaturvedi and the other was Peter Donigi’s Carbon Markets Consulting Ltd.
After beating our fists on the table at Bali last year, lets see what these two companies will actually do in terms of developing this nascent industry in PNG. So how exactly does all this work??
For starters a whole lot of education needs to be done by the Climate Change office for people to understand carbon trading. And the Climate Change office will have to begin by setting the limits or caps on the amount of a pollutant that can be emitted by the participants.
Both companies with their certificates will now be required to hold an equivalent number of allowances (or credits) which represent the right to emit a specific amount. The total amount of allowances and credits cannot exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that level. Companies that need to increase their emission allowance must buy credits from those who pollute less. The transfer of allowances is referred to as a trade. In effect, the buyer is paying a charge for polluting, while the seller is being rewarded for having reduced emissions by more than was needed. Thus, in theory, those that can easily reduce emissions most cheaply will do so, achieving the pollution reduction at the lowest possible cost to society. (image from http://www.greenpeace.org.uk)
So that’s pretty much how it will all work, but I’ve always wondered why we don’t just give plain old financial incentives to villagers so that they don’t cut down their tree’s in approved locations? I guess it will come down to who will pay them and I don’t think the government can afford to do that. So I imagine Carbon trading turns emissions limiting into a sustainable industry.
But it would also be beneficial for PNG if some sort of review could be done to explain what it means to PNG specifically. The Garnaut Climate Change Review which was a study by Professor Ross Garnaut, and commissioned by then Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd and by the Australian State and Territory Governments on 30 April 2007, might be a good start for us.
The Review examined the impacts of climate change on the Australian economy, and recommended medium to long-term policies and policy frameworks to improve the prospects for sustainable prosperity. A number of forums were held around Australia to engage the public on various issues relating to the Review. The Secretariat to support the Review was based in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. The final report of the Garnaut Review was delivered on 30 September 2008. Draft legislation will be released in December 2008, to become law in 2009.
PNG has a drastically different environment and I know that we would focus more on forestry issues in any policies that we may draw up, but I point out the Garnaut review principally because Prof. Garnaut himself is no stranger to PNG. In the mid 70’s he was the First Assistant Secretary (Head of the Division of General Financial and Economic Policy), in PNG’s Department of Finance and today he is the current Chairman for the PNG Sustainable Development Program. So maybe he can help us to start a review here? (if it hasn’t already been done that is).
Another good reason why we need a review:
‘The government of Papua New Guinea is facing criticism over its plan to seek compensation via the carbon market for protecting the country’s rainforests, reports Australian Broadcasting Corporation News (ABC News).
Landowners are concerned they will not see proceeds from the carbon trading mechanism the government has been instrumental in pushing at international climate talks. Under REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), countries like Papua New Guinea would receive funds for cutting emissions that result from deforestation and land use change. The funds would come from pool of money paid into by industrialized nations. REDD has been championed by a diverse array of interests — including scientists, governments, development agencies like the World Bank, and even some conservationists — because the system has the potential to pay for rainforest conservation while delivering benefits to rural populations. But concerns remain, especially on how funds will be used and distributed. There are worries that REDD could exacerbate disputes over land, especially where title is poorly established or the government has a poor record of managing resources for the benefit of local communities. This is particularly an issue in Papua New Guinea where the government recently asserted its authority over all transactions involving forest carbon, even on private land. The position effectively blocks landowners signing private deals with carbon traders’ > Read More