Voluntary Carbon Agreements Not Supported by the Government

By Emmanuel Narokobi

As reported in today’s National, Dr Wari Iamo who is Acting executive director of the Office of Climate Change (OCC) and also Secretary for the Department of Environment and Conservation stated that, “…PNG is taking a leading role on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) as mandated under the Bali Road Map” and as part of the Coalition of Rain Forest Nations (CRFN) PNG is involved in negotiations to setup separate funding mechanisms to deal with REDD.

Dr. Iamo said that a team of professionals were working on the separate funding mechanisms which were aimed at focusing on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. This was expected to be completed soon for CRFN members such as PNG, United Nations, World Bank, Australia, UK, Norway, Japan and others.

Looks like the OCC is slowly getting back on track with Dr. Iamo who is an environmental scientist himself, and its absolutely important because even the Media Council President Joe Kanekane commented at a media conference that there seemed to be a perception that the OCC was a “money-making body”.

Dr. Iamo also addressed some outstanding issues in another media statement today that went as follows:

“This statement is in response to recent media reports on agreements being entered into by land owners and certain companies, with respect to rights over carbon.

The Government recently acted to suspend the Executive Director of the OCC and to have a review undertaken of the OCC operations, partly to deal with serious issues such as carbon trading agreements.

Currently PNG does not have an institutional framework that regulates carbon trading. The Government intends to wait until the global community rules for forest carbon trading under the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiative are developed before drafting policies and legislation. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting should determine the types of rules countries can apply for carbon trading under the REDD.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister recently released a a Media Statement that clarified the Governments position on carbon trading. The Government’s goal is to have the role of tropical rain forests formally recognized in future climate arrangements. The Prime Minister is strongly arguing that PNG should wait for the development of formal mechanisms under the Reduced Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiative before entering into carbon trading initiatives.

Until such time as the Government develops a formal carbon trading framework there is no policy or legal guidance for the pursuance of carbon trading except under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM only allows for afforestation and reafforestation projects. The agreement reported in the media many of which cover areas logged after 1990 and intact forested lands under the Authority of the Forestry Act are not able to be registered under the CDM.

Voluntary Carbon Agreements (VCA) are not currently supported by the Government as they fall outside formal REDD arrangements and are highly unlikely to deliver high carbon prices. PNG would be selling its forests cheaply by going down the VCA path.

Finally, the Government wishes to provide clarity on the issue of agreements over areas under the authority of the Forest Act, in particular Forest Management Agreements (FMA). In the process of developing an FMA, landowners vest the right in the timber resources with the State.

Carbon trading agreements cannot be legally signed over these lands until the Government has put in place an appropriate policy and legal framework. This will not be done until after the completion of the investigation in the the OCC and following review of the outcomes of the critical global climate change meeting to be held in Copenhagen during December 2009.

In the event that disputes arise with respect to carbon trading agreements signed by landowners with carbon traders outside of areas under the Authority of the Forestry Act, the government may be unable to assist in resolving any conflicts.

The Government strongly advises landowners not to enter into any agreements with private companies relating to carbon until the rules for carbon trading have been agreed by the global community and the policy and legal framework for carbon trading has been determined”.

9 thoughts on “Voluntary Carbon Agreements Not Supported by the Government

  1. Thanks Emmanuel,

    The authority has spoken. I hope this puts to bed any doubts anyone out there may have on PNG’s position on carbon trading.

    It’s crystal clear. No legislative framework = No cheap deals!

    “Voluntary Carbon Agreements (VCA) are not currently supported by the Government as they fall outside formal REDD arrangements and are highly unlikely to deliver high carbon prices. PNG would be selling its forests cheaply by going down the VCA path.”

    1. The opposition is not an Authority

      ILG’s do not need a Framework

      A VCU ‘voluntary carbon unit'( now named,”Wontok Credit”) worth between 4 to 10 US is supported by everyone in PNG specially the Forest Owners and Governments.

      Again how can REDD VER compete with a CER ?

      Please leave the business to the experts.

      1. Even experts need to be able to explain what they are doing, for the good of the carbon industry, it’s players and its recipients.

        Have a read of Natasha Loders comments on transparency here

      2. YES the Department of Environment and Conservation is THE AUTHORITY in this country. If you dispute this fact, then there is something terribly wrong. And it is not the Opposition. If you can not get this simple demarcation right, then what else is there that you can not get right?

        Voluntary Carbon Market may not necessarily need a legislative framework, and this is exactly where the problem is. Where is the guarantee that our illiterate forest owners’ rights will be protected in the absence of legislation?

  2. The Opposition Leader is spot on with these clear and short 20 questions for the Prime Minister to answer.

    It cannot get any more simple and clearer than that.
    The Chief needs to answer so the nation can form their own opinions.

    It would be interesting to read the Prime Minister’s response on these so please see if you can post it here as well.

  3. The LandOwners who own the forests under the incorporated act of PNG.

    support ‘Voluntary Carbon’ credit structures for a monatary return of their forests.

    No Government or induvidual has any say in the ILG decissions.

    VER on todays maket is of a good value. approx 4 to 10 US Dollars pending on the quality of the project.

    PNG bad media , blog reports and Australian Government propoganda is reducing the price of a VER in PNG.

    REDD cannot deliver a similar VER price as it is has a competitor in a CER.

    The Oppositions 20 questions is only rubbish written by previous media reports.

    1. I have just been told that the Government of PNG support Voluntary Carbon Trading.
      Acknowledging that the VCS is the only real mechanism that can create a proper commercial business to protect forest’s of PNG.
      It has been a disgrace that media and blog reports have miss lead the public.
      The Wari Iamo seceret deals with Australia will soon be exposed.
      VCS is for the people of PNG it gives the people the chance to turned there much treasured properties in to worth ful return instead of a land grap and charity handouts proposed by Australia , NGO’s etc.
      Emmanuel your favourite cowboy has always been right and his logical comments and completed ‘methodology and PPD” structures have always given myself and colleauges confidence in this induvidual.
      As I am in PNG at this present time I can assure everyone my information is correct.
      I am told a statement is being prepared of the announcement.

      The agenda of PNG is set and a policy is being put in place.

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