in Australia, Peru

The Carbon Cowboy: David Nilsson on 60 Minutes Australia

David Nilsson arrived in Peru two years ago and promised indigenous communities billions of dollars in return for signing over the rights to their forests. This week, 60 Minutes Australia broadcast an investigation into Nilsson’s operations in Peru and elsewhere.

The highlight of the programme is when a 60 Minutes producer poses as a potential investor in Nilsson’s project in Peru and Nilsson (unaware that he is being filmed) describes the full extent of his scam. There have been several articles about Nilsson (here and here, for example) but this is the first time he’s been caught lying on camera.

Nilsson claims to have three million hectares of forest in Peru under a 200 year contract. The carbon contract runs for 25 years, after which, Nilsson explaims, “people can come through and harvest the rainforest there”. Once the trees are out of the way, “they can plant palm oil”.

Click on the image below to go to the 60 Minutes programme:

The Carbon Cowboy

Broadcast on 60 Minutes Australia, 8 July 2012

Liam Bartlett: If there’s a place in the world that time forgot, this is it. Peru. Birthplace of the mighty Inca civilisation. Land of lost cities and remote tribes. So how on earth did an Australian property developer end up here, promising billion dollar carbon deals to some of the poorest people on the planet?

Dan Pantone: They completely trusted him. And now they are left with nothing.

Liam Bartlett: His name is David Nilsson. He’s from Queensland and says he’s just here to help.

They’re putting their livelihoods, their tribes, their rainforests on the line. And you get 50% of all that. Not a bad deal for you but not too good for them, is it?

David Nilsson

David Nilsson: Well, what else are they getting? Who else is giving them a better deal in the world?

Liam Bartlett: You’ve got to wonder what Peru has done to deserve this latest invasion. Five hundred years ago it was the Spanish conquistadors who came here in search of gold and silver. Later came the rubber barrons and then the loggers. But there’s a new breed of treasure hunter. They’re called carbon cowboys. And what they’re after is down there in the vast rainforests of the Amazon.

These immense jungles store a large part of the earth’s carbon dioxide and in the new world of carbon trading, whoever gets the rights to this captured carbon could make himself a very rich man indeed.

David Nilsson is out hunting. Roaming the Amazon in search of native tribes willing to sign over the rights to the carbon in their rainforest.

David Nilsson: We had a good trip. Everything’s signed up. Our mission’s accomplished.

Liam Bartlett: Nilsson’s carbon contracts give his company Amazon Holdings power of attorney handing him effective control of the rainforest for 200 years and half of all profits.

Dan Pantone

Dan Pantone: He told me that he was part aborigine from Australia and that he came from extreme poverty and he wanted to help the indigenous people here.

Liam Bartlett: Dan Pantone is an American scientist who’s spent years in the Amazon working with native tribes. When Nilsson arrived in Peru two years ago, he hired Pantone to introduce him to a remote tribe called the Matses, some of whom still live and hunt as their ancestors did.

Dan Pantone: He saw that they own a lot of land. They own about 450,000 hectares.

Liam Bartlett: When you first met him how did he describe his project?

Dan Pantone: Basically, he calculated how many billions of dollars the Matses are going to get from carbon credits. He actually had his calculator handy and the numbers he was showing for the Matses, he was showing billions of dollars.

Liam Bartlett: Mature trees like this are what carbon trading is all about. Over its lifetime, this will absorb about a ton of carbon dioxide. So big companies are happy to pay to protect these in order to release a ton of their own pollution into the atmosphere. They offset a ton of their pollution for a ton of carbon dioxide that’s absorbed by that tree. It’s called a carbon credit.

So when the Australian government says carbon is worth about A$23 a ton, and you start counting the number of trees in this jungle, well the maths is mind-boggling.

David Nilsson has been chasing this carbon fortune for years, from Papua New Guinea to the Philippines. Now this self professed carbon cowboy has set up base in Peru’s jungle city of Iquitos, a wild-west town if ever there was one.

He’s got a good lawyer, a young Peruvian girlfriend and boasts about his past as a successful property developer in Australia. Nilsson even boasts that he can divine underground water. But his real gift, it turns out, is divining ordinary human weakness.

Dan Pantone: He told me I was going to be a millionaire within a year.

Liam Bartlett: So what exactly was he after here?

Dan Pantone: The contract would be giving him virtually total control over their natural resources. Over their, not only their carbon, but their forests, virtually everything.

Liam Bartlett: Incredibly, David Nilsson has already convinced some tribes to sign away their rights. And Dan Pantone is taking me deeper into the Amazon to visit one such community. They are called the Yagua. They are dirt poor. Many can’t read or write. They have handed Nilsson half of all the carbon that’s in their forests.

Hegnay Iscaata

Can you read this for me please?

Hegnay Iscaata signed the document put in front of him.

Translator: He’s saying he signed it, but he can’t read.

Liam Bartlett: He can’t read, at all?

Translator: He says he can’t read.

Liam Bartlett: Only a handful of Yagua refused to go along with Nilsson’s plan. One of them is a young leader, Angel Yaicate.

Did you sign that contract?

Angel Yaicate: No.

Liam Bartlett: Why not?

Translator: Because I knew it was a scam.

Liam Bartlett: It is scam. A monumental double-cross, and an environmental travesty. We’ve obtained an executive summary of the agreement, and incredibly, the main focus is actually logging. As part of the carbon deal, Nilsson’s company effectively owns the trees and plans to eventually log them. Even worse, he’ll replace them with environmentally disastrous palm oil plantations. Already, the colossal scale of logging by others is shockingly clear. But these are desperately poor people, who are easily manipulated, unaware that the supposedly independent lawyer advising them is actually David Nilsson’s lawyer.

Can he tell me the lawyer’s name please?

Translator: Walter Cambero. That’s David Nilsson’s lawyer.

David Nilsson

Liam Bartlett: David Nilsson is now back in Australia, hunting for investors to pay big money for his slice of the Amazon. What he doesn’t realize at this pitch is that the would-be investor is a 60 Minutes producer and we’re in the room next door.

David Nilsson: Okay, I’ve got these three million hectares.

Producer: Right. How did you come across? Sorry, say again?

David Nilsson: Nearly three million hectares.

Liam Bartlett: David Nilsson does not have three million hectares of rainforest, or anything like it. But that doesn’t stop him from promising a fortune for would-be investors.

David Nilsson: It’s going to be billions.

Producer: Beg your pardon?

David Nilsson: Billions. I just, I’m scared to quote it, because it’s fucking huge, put it that way.

Liam Bartlett: And David Nilsson all but brags about plans to ultimately cut down the rainforests, once the 25-year carbon deal expires.

David Nilsson: My contracts are 200-year contracts, etched in stone, so when the carbon’s gone, people can come through and harvest the rainforest there. We’d have a forest management plan they can reforest, they can plant palm oil, they can cut all the timber. No one can stop them. No one can stop them.

Producer: But by doing this carbon plan, you’re stopping that happening?

David Nilsson: Yeah, but the carbon plan only goes for 25 years. The contracts still run and there’s enough timber there to supply the world down there. China will love it.

Liam Bartlett: Time, we decide, to have a word with Mr Nilsson.

David Nilsson?

David Nilsson: Yes.

Liam Bartlett: Liam Bartlett, 60 Minutes.

David Nilsson

David Nilsson: G’day mate, how are you doing?

Liam Bartlett: No not your day, is it?

David Nilsson: No mate, not my day, nope.

Liam Bartlett: Telling some more tall stories, trying to get someone to part with their money.

David Nilsson: No, mate, no. No, I’m not mate, no. It’s no scam.

Liam Bartlett: It’s no scam?

David Nilsson: No. The person that started the scam, Dr Pantone, we’ve taken legal proceedings against him.

Liam Bartlett: We know all about Dan Pantone.

David Nilsson: And hang on, and he’s under house arrest.

Liam Bartlett: No, he’s not under house arrest, that’s a lie. That’s your first lie, to me. You’ve told plenty in the last hour, haven’t you?

David Nilsson: Well, this is what I’ve been doing.

Liam Bartlett: Running around telling lies?

David Nilsson: No. Interview finished. Please turn that camera off.

Liam Bartlett: Well, it’s not going off, because we want some answers about the Amazon tribes that you’ve been dealing with.

David Nilsson: I’ve nothing more to say.

Liam Bartlett: What these Amazon tribes didn’t know, couldn’t know, was the long trail of people who’ve trusted David Nilsson and lost money. Just ask the investors who put money into one of his projects here at Clairview, in North Queensland, in the early 1990s.

It’s a beautiful spot, and it seemed a great investment. David Nilsson was selling 5-acre lots, up here in the ridge, here for A$70,000 apiece, and he had plenty of takers. But one buyer from Nauru became suspicious when she failed to receive a rates notices from the local council. That’s when the penny dropped. As the Queensland Parliament was later told, those lots didn’t exist, never had. But Nilsson banked the money anyway and the investors never saw it again.

Leo Keke

Leo Keke: He’s very convincing, very, very convincing.

Liam Bartlett: Leo Keke is a senior barrister from Nauru. He was one of the investors who thought he was buying land at Nilsson’s Clairview development.

What did you end up with?

Leo Keke: I end up with nothing. A lot of us, all of us, end up with nothing. So really, he’s a conniving scum.

Liam Bartlett: David Nilsson has done well for himself, and hopes to do very well out of his carbon deals with the Amazon tribes who have trusted in him. At this formal signing ceremony, the audience is told their agreement is supposedly with “a company of the United Nations”. So, you’ve got to ask, do they really know who or what they’re dealing with, or that David Nilsson actually plans to log their forests?

You’re tying this forest up for 200 years. 200 years. And you plan to log it.

David Nilsson: No, I don’t.

Liam Bartlett: Plant palm oil plantations on it.

David Nilsson: No, I don’t.

Liam Bartlett: You’re just to – sir, your own words. We have you on tape.

David Nilsson: Well.

Liam Bartlett: After 25 years, when the carbon’s finished, you’re going to log the whole lot. I mean, have you no shame?

David Nilsson: Ah, mate.

Liam Bartlett: Have you no shame?

It’s clear many Yagua now bitterly regret signing this toxic deal, but feel powerless to undo it.

Dan Pantone: They opened up their homes to him. He slept in their homes. And trusted him, they completely trusted him. Now, this hurts them permanently. We’re talking about permanent damage here.

Liam Bartlett: Meanwhile, the other tribe in Nilsson’s sights, the Matses, have held out against his grand plans. They won’t sign, at least for now.

David Nilsson

David Nilsson: I’m not ripping them off.

Liam Bartlett: But it seems nothing will stop David Nilsson trying to sell his dodgy bundle of signatures to the highest bidder.

You were just boasting that you’ve got control for 200 years.

David Nilsson: No, no, I said, listen, goodbye. Thank you very much gentlemen.


Leave a Reply


  1. Finally the truth is become a winner and the liar revealed its own untrue promise words. David Nilsson is not the only one, there are many out there spreading their sweet words, promises and illusions about carbon credits including REDD+ to the disadvantages people in the developing tropical forest states.

  2. Oh dear, poor David Nilsson, getting caught REDD-handed. After all, he was only following the kinds of business practices used by the likes of Goldman Sachs….or McKinsey, or Lehmanns, or UBS, or Barclays…

    Never mind, we can surely trust the boys in suits to look after the rainforests and their carbon for us. Bollinger’s all round!

  3. Its great that Nilsson and Goldsworthy (shift2neutral) are getting the publicity they deserve, there arrogance and deceit is mind boggling. Indigenous people are suffering at the hands of these scammers and in Goldsworthy’s case dying. In Butuan City 2 tribal leaders were shot (one dead) for supporting Goldsworthy.

  4. The roadmap that this individual is following is established and accepted by the corporate structure. It is as old as the modern world. It is nice to take the David Nelsons of this world down, especially in protection of the victims of scamming. Please let us not use this distraction from recognizing, that the entire system of international finance, corporate charters, industrialization of natural processes and the selling of peoples futures is universal, systemic, and needs review. If we do not include a mandate for environmental sustainability and protection, as well as for social responsibility and the protection of the rights of people, including indiginous populations, as well as a mandate to protect basic natural resourcesfrom privatization, such as water, air, sunlight and soil, and a mandate to prevent the wholesale monopolization of species and seeds, we will have the legacy of spanking a villain while betraying our heritage and missing the opportunity to set a new course that could be beneficial to all of mankind. Let us resolve, that creating a few golden prisons, surrounded by slums, guarded by armed thugs, is not what the cerator had in mind. I know we can do better than that.

  5. This is why we have carbon standards and verification bodies — neither of which are mentioned in this report. Carbon markets aren’t complicit in this guy’s deeds — they are a victim.

  6. @Steve Zwick (#5) – Thanks for this comment. Carbon standards and verification bodies are not mentioned in this report for the simple reason that they are irrelevant. Nilsson obviously couldn’t care less about standards, verification or certification. Conversely, voluntary standards are impotent to deal with people like Nilsson, unless he decides to try to comply with the standards. In which case all the standards and verification bodies can do is decline to certify Nilsson. But they won’t put out any press releases, they’ll just quietly not issue any certificate, leaving Nilsson slightly poorer having paid for the verification process, but otherwise unaffected.

    As such, carbon markets are complicit in Nilsson’s operations. Nilsson is using the existence of carbon markets to defraud indigenous communities in Peru.

  7. @Chris Lang (#5) – Are you saying that any sector or service is culpable for the actions of anyone who pretends to be a part of that sector, even if he has nothing to do with it? More specifically, if someone who isn’t a doctor pretends to be one, is the medical profession complicit? Or if a blogger writes something that is patently false, do we hold the New York Times accountable?

    I agree that the carbon sector in general (and the REDD sector in particular) needs to do a better job of explaining how it works and what functions the various standards fulfill, but that’s a far cry from saying that honest, hard-working carbon professionals are complicit in the acts of some knucklehead who is pretending to be one of them.

  8. @Steve Zwick (#7) – Thanks for this reductio ad absurdum. Using you example of the medical profession, if the best that the medical profession could do to prevent fraudsters from offering their services as a medical doctor was a series of voluntary standards and verification bodies then I would argue that the medical profession would be complicit. Obviously, it is in the interests of the medical profession to prevent fraudsters.

    As you are fully aware, carbon trading is largely unregulated. Anyone can set up a carbon trading project, anywhere. It requires no qualifications and no previous experience. Likewise, anyone can sell carbon credits. Like it or not, your “honest, hard-working carbon professionals” are complicit every time a “knucklehead” pops up, as long as they continue to do nothing to prevent them.

  9. @Chris Lang (#8) — Some arguments don’t need to be reduced to be ridiculous, and guilt by association is one. In this case, there doesn’t even seem to be an association — this guy pretended to be a carbon project developer, just as Brett Goldsworthy did. (Goldsworthy talks a good line, but when he approached legitimate carbon developers he was tossed out of the office). Nothing that either of these clowns did would ever have even come close to being recognized as a legitimate carbon offset by anyone who has done any homework at all.

    I completely agree that it’s in the sector’s interests to prevent fraud — indeed, it’s in everyone’s interests to prevent fraud — but the sector itself isn’t the omnipotent monster many perceive it to be. It does a good (but not perfect) job of policing itself via standards that embrace rigorous procedures of verification and validation — but it doesn’t have the resources to police the whole world.

    I also agree that we need better regulation of carbon markets, and that’s happening. Governments around the world have begun to emulate, embrace, and regulate the voluntary carbon sector. They’re doing it because the methodologies that have evolved over the past 20 years work, as we documented in “Bringing it Home: Taking Stock of Government Engagement with the Voluntary Carbon Market”.

    The sector is evolving, much as the securities sector did. Up until recently, for example, securities fraud was seen as a police matter in many parts of Europe, and even Germany didn’t have a federal securities regulator until 1995.

    Yes, we need to protect ourselves from characters like Nilsson and Goldsworthy. We need to out them, and to prosecute them. But we also need to differentiate them from legitimate operators — who are, ultimately, also victims of their activities.

  10. ok, what’s been done to stop David Nilsson and the likes? that’s why I searched for this blog.
    I’m not inerested in arguing, I want to know what to do to protect these idiots.

  11. What is the peruvian government doing about it? And what is the australian government doing about him? Julia he is such a bad example for Australia, he should be in prison for fraud, for abusing human rights and for trying to destroy our rainforest.
    You can stop him.

  12. @Bella (#10) and Selva (#11) — that really is the critical question. Based on the story, it appears he has committed fraud in both countries.

  13. @Steve Zwick (#9) – I don’t think that the point is guilt by association. The point is that the carbon markets are not adequately regulated. And I don’t understand why there isn’t more pressure from within the carbon trading industry for strict regulation that could help limit the activities of the carbon cowboys.

    (Of course a second question is whether carbon markets can be adequately regulated, given the counterfactual nature of the commodity being traded – i.e. greenhouse gas emissions that don’t exist, but that would have existed if a project or policy hadn’t been implemented.)

    Meanwhile, I find it surprising that there isn’t more about the carbon fraudsters on It’s much bigger and better funded than REDD-Monitor… and as we’ve established in this discussion, it’s in everyone’s interest to expose these fraudsters.

    Anyway, where we agree is that Nilsson appears to have committed fraud. And it’s about time that the Peruvian and Australian authorities did something.

  14. @Chris Lang (#13) — I agree that we need better regulation, and that there should be more pressure from within the carbon industry to limit the activities of the carbon cowboys. Beyond developing standards and promoting regulation, however, I’m not sure what the industry can do — especially since these cowboys — who, again, are not a part of the legitimate carbon community — appear to have already committed fraud, which is a crime in itself. That means we don’t have to develop new regulations to deal with them — we just have to enforce the regulations that do exist.

    As for our coverage on Ecosystem Marketplace, we do cover bad operators, but generally focus our attention on the legitimate carbon universe. We don’t have the resources to properly cover those operating outside the legitimate markets, except by linking too other peoples’ coverage.

    We have both a news section and an aggregation section. In our news section, we generate our own stories, but only if we have something to say that others haven’t, or if we have a third-party contribution that offers insight and lessons-learned for practitioners. In our aggregation section, we link to stories that others have covered adequately. Over the years, we have generated stories about bad actors, but only if they have acted badly within the legitimate carbon universe. When people act badly outside the legitimate carbon markets, we have tended to simply link to mainstream coverage.

    This doesn’t mean we haven’t tried to go further. In my earlier post within this string, for example, I mentioned Brett Goldsworthy — another apparent bad actor in Australia. I spent plenty of time trying to figure out what he was up to, and in the end was only able to confirm what had already been published. I had nothing of value to add, so I simply linked to the existing coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald, among other places, which was accurate as far as it went, but also failed to differentiate between Goldsworthy and legitimate carbon project developers.

    I do occasionally contribute to mainstream publications, and that’s where I would do a story differentiating between cowboys and real project developers. It’s what 60 Minutes should have done here.

  15. @Steve Zwick (#14) – Thanks Steve. I’ll look forward to quoting your comment that, “we don’t have to develop new regulations to deal with them [carbon cowboys] – we just have to enforce the regulations that do exist”. I think that the problem is bigger than you realise. Perhaps that’s at least partly because I find it difficult to tell the difference between what you describe as the “legitimate carbon community” and the cowboys.

    To illustrate the point, do a search for the phrase, “Carbon could become one of the fastest growing markets ever”. Then tell me which of the company websites that appear in the search results are part of the “legitimate carbon community” and which are cowboys. If a company sells carbon credits at an inflated price, via a boiler room, does that make them part of the “legitimate carbon community”? Presumably not, in your view. Which then means that you don’t write about them, because you “don’t have the resources”. This sounds like see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil…

    Given the list of funders to Ecosystem Marketplace, I’m amazed that you can claim not to have the resources, while at the same time, claiming that, “markets grow and evolve, and they do so, in part, because of the transformative power of reliable and transparent information. Providing such information is the role of Ecosystem Marketplace.”

    I’d like to suggest that Ecosystem Marketplace gets just one of its reporters to take off the rose-coloured carbon market sunglasses for just one day a week in order to take a look at the other side of carbon markets. Surely by helping expose the problems with the carbon markets (and like it or not, the carbon cowboys are part of the problem) you would be helping your friends in the “legitimate carbon universe”.

    On the one hand, you’re telling 60 Minutes that it should report on “real project developers” as well as exposing Nilsson. On the other, Ecosystem Marketplace reports only on the “real project developers” of carbon trading projects, without doing much to help highlight the problems created by characters like Nilsson.

  16. @Chris Lang (#15) — Chris, if you want to quote me out of context, we can begin a discussion about the difference between journalism and blogging.

    Joking aside, we all have to pick our battles, and none of us can cover the entire world of anything. Within REDD, we focus what resources we do have on efforts to generate offsets that are measurable, reportable, and verifiable, and on the treatment of stakeholders within these projects. We do re-post stories about the world beyond verified carbon projects — which, actually, is all you usually do. When we can add value to a story via our own reporting, we do so.

    A good number of stories I’ve seen re-posted — not just on your site but in several places — don’t really pan out. A case in point is your recent piece on Envirotrade, which was based on other peoples’ reporting. If you had taken the time to contact them — as we did — you wouldn’t have had to print the lengthy rebuttal they offered.

    As for your quote, I don’t see anything wrong with someone saying that carbon markets could grow fast. In fact, for REDD to deliver environmental benefits, it must scale up.

    As for boiler rooms who sell verified carbon offsets, that is something we are looking into. If we do a story of our own on this, I guarantee you it will be fact-checked and thorough.

  17. By the way, regarding David Nilsson and the Matsé: the Matsé issued a communique in June saying that they have never sold any kind of land titles to Nilsson. They also say they have never made any type of contract with Nilsson or anyone else to sell carbon credits, and that they stopped working with AIDESEP in May. AIDESEP is a Peruvian Association of Indigenous Groups that apparently spread the rumor that the Matsé were selling title and rights.

    This is a consumer protection story, and carbon markets are a victim — not a perpetrator.

  18. @Steve Zwick (#16) – If I quoted you, I would provide a link to your comment and explain that the context was a discussion about regulation of carbon markets (among other things). I wonder why you think I would quote you out of context?

    I’m perfectly happy to post responses from companies that feature on REDD-Monitor. Envirotrade’s response in particular raises several questions that I’ll follow up on, as part of an on-going discussion.

    In case you haven’t noticed, REDD-Monitor has been doing a series of interviews with REDD actors in Indonesia. Some are in favour of REDD and carbon trading, others are opposed. Has Ecosystem Marketplace ever published an interview with a critic of carbon markets?

    I look forward to reading your article about boiler rooms selling carbon credits. There seem to be plenty to chose from.

  19. @Steve Zwick (#17) – Could you please provide a link to the communique from the Matsés in June. Thanks!

  20. @Steve Zwick (#17) – Steve Zwick states, “…this guy (David Nilsson) pretended to be a carbon project developer, just as Brett Goldsworthy did. (Goldsworthy talks a good line, but when he approached legitimate carbon developers he was tossed out of the office). Nothing that either of these clowns did would ever have even come close to being recognized as a legitimate carbon offset by anyone who has done any homework at all.”

    Steve Zwick, you are dead wrong on this one. David Nilsson had a signed contract with a certified carbon auditor named Carly Green of Environmental Accounting Services. Carly Green is a VCSA-approved AFOLU expert for IFM and ALM carbon projects ( ). Nilsson boasted, “Carly Green is part of my team and one of only 21 certified carbon auditors in the world.” To this day, Carly Green has never publicly renounced her connection with Nilsson, and in fact, has done just the opposite, stating on her website ( ) that she did not have a “falling out” with Nilsson, correcting the error that was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald article that exposed Nilsson as a carbon cowboy. This certified carbon auditor was deeply involved in Nilsson’s scam and Carly Green even traveled to Peru in February of 2011, presumably trying to convince the regional president of Loreto, Yvan Vasquez, to sign a deal with Nilsson.

    The people who are supposed to be preventing carbon cowboys (carbon auditors) are signing contracts with them, and Carly Green signing a contract with Nilsson is a good example just how flawed the carbon auditing process is. It would seem that Nilsson is indeed an expert in exploiting people’s greed, and carbon auditors are not immune to being blinded by dollar signs and helping carbon cowboys like Nilsson complete their scams. Presently, there is no real control of carbon developers and there are economic incentives for supposedly legitimate carbon auditors to support these scammers, even after they are revealed to be carbon cowboys.

  21. @Chris Lang (#19) I don’t have a link, but I can e-mail you a scanned copy. I believe I have your e-mail address, and will send that over.

  22. @Dan Pantone (#20) — I don’t know the nature of the contract you are referring to, so let me answer with a general statement.

    If Nilsson hired Ms. Green to audit his project, then you appear to be providing an example of how the system WORKS — and not a “good example (of) just how flawed the carbon auditing process is,” as you maintain.

    I say this because the question isn’t whether she signed a contract or not, because an auditor has to sign a contract before beginning an audit. The question is what she did AFTER realizing this wasn’t a legitimate project.

    I agree that if Nilsson is running around claiming that the auditor is a part of his team, then the auditor should be more aggressive in denouncing him, although she may be contractually prevented from doing so. (I’m speculating here). I’d love to see her speak out on this, and I agree the sector should be more aggressive in pursuing these clowns. But the media also has an obligation to point out that the carbon sector has created rigorous standards, and that Nilsson hasn’t generated credits that are recognized under these standards.

    IF it emerged that there was collusion between Ms Green and Nilsson to misrepresent his project, that would a serious matter. Also, IF a project built on collusion ever became certified, that would also be a serious matter — although it would also be the exception that proves the rule.

  23. @Steve Zwick (#22)- Steve, please let me explain further. There was never any Project Design Document (PDD) to audit. Nilsson never hired Carly Green to audit the project, but presumably he signed a “joint venture” contract with her to develop carbon projects, with her receiving a percentage of the profits.

    Steve, this example is not complex and is actually quite simple. Again, you stated that, “…this guy (David Nilsson) pretended to be a carbon project developer, just as Brett Goldsworthy did. (Goldsworthy talks a good line, but when he approached legitimate carbon developers he was tossed out of the office). Nothing that either of these clowns did would ever have even come close to being recognized as a legitimate carbon offset by anyone who has done any homework at all…” Carly Green, a VCSA-approved AFOLU expert for IFM and ALM carbon projects, did not “toss him out of the office,” but presumably became his “partner” signing a joint venture contract with Nilsson.

    It would appear that “differentiating between cowboys and real project developers” (as you put it) is not that easy to do, with the people who audit carbon projects (Carly Green, in this case) not only failing to identify them (Nilsson, in this case) as carbon cowboys, but willing to be partners with them. The “legitimate carbon community” (as you put it) appeared to be quite willing to deal with Nilsson, even after his being identified as a carbon cowboy by the REDD-Monitor and the Ecosystem Marketplace.

    That said, I applaud you for having the courage and the morality to put David Nilsson’s name on your website (, fully knowing how Nilsson harassed Chris Lang for daring to print his name. Unfortunately, it would appear that not all the “legitimate carbon community” has your courage and morality.

  24. As a representative of Australia, Nilsson brings all citizens into disrepute by his actions. Therefore the Australian Government should revoke Nilsson’s passport immediately, effectively leaving him stateless (“A person without a country”)! That way they could just leave him to his own devices as he has left the very tribes he conned! Incidentally, has anyone followed up the Aus Gov to see what, if anything, has been done to prosecute this criminal and also are the agreements between him and the tribes enforceable?