By Chris Lang
Greenpeace’s Unearthed reports that, “Nigel Farage could make 18.5m Euros from share options he holds in a carbon offsetting company”. That’s the same Nigel Farage that is launching a campaign against the UK government’s 2050 “net zero” target.
Oddly enough, Richard Tice, property developer and co-founder of the campaign against “net zero”, argues that politicians only support action on the climate crisis in order to make money out of the “green agenda”.
Step forward, ex-politician Nigel Farage, who worked with Tice in the Brexit Party. Private Eye, as usual, hits the nail on the head (see the image on the right).
A year ago, REDD-Monitor wrote about Nigel Farage’s appointment to the Advisory Board of Dutch Green Business Group (DGB). To say the least, this was an extremely dubious partnership. Farage’s Brexit campaign involved a series of blatant lies. As did DGB Group’s promotion of carbon offsetting – not least that carbon offsetting could in any way help address the climate crisis. Of course the reality is that we cannot offset our way out of the climate crisis.
Farage’s share options
In September 2021, at the general meeting on DGB’s shareholders, Farage was given one million share options in DGB for his role as Chairman of the Advisory Board. The share options have a strike price of €1.50 – that’s the price that Farage would have to pay for them.
Farage can buy the shares only if the share price reaches €20. Shares are currently worth about €1, having fallen steadily over the past year:
But if DGB’s share price did reach €20, Farage could pocket €18.5 million – the shares would be worth a total of €20 million, for which Farage would have to pay €1.5 million (the strike price).
Farage doesn’t seem to think any of this is very likely. “If I had a better forecast at Cheltenham last week I would have won £20 million,” he told the Financial Times.
Meanwhile, DGB’s CEO Selwyn Duijverstijn, told Unearthed that the company’s relationship with Farage “has been on hold since September and is under review”.
Farage: Why DGB Group?
In an interview on DGB’s website, Farage explains why he joined the DGB Group’s Advisory Board, while revealing that he’s incapable of opening his mouth without making a fool of himself:
I’ve always been a conservationist. Even from my early years, I’ve always thought looking after the environment, looking after nature, adding to biodiversity, all those things have always appealed to me.
Here’s Farage tweeting about how much he cares about endangered tope sharks:
Farage says he’s been “very sceptical about what’s being done in the name of climate change”. But he really likes tree planting:
I’ve always thought taxing people, banning things, I don’t find it a very attractive way. I think there’s a far better way we can deal with this. CO2. We output CO2, but there are things in the world that consume CO2. And one of the best things, they’re called trees.
Last year he told the Daily Express that, “I want this project to be a unifying theme that will manage the preservation of the rainforest through tree planting.”
Farage says he got involved with DGB because “It’s the only publicly quoted traded company that is there exclusively in this space.”
The goals are to plant lots of trees, the goals are to sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide, and the goals are to create habitats where there will be increased biodiversity, whether that’s birdlife, or mammal life, or flora and fauna, whatever it may be.
But Miro Forestry, one of the companies that DGB Group is buying carbon offsets from, is planting monocultures of fast growing trees in Sierra Leone. Miro Forestry’s industrial tree plantations are logged to produce timber.
The benefit of plantations always depends on the planted tree species. Mixed cultures are better than monocultures and native species are better than exotic species.”
Miro Forestry is planting monocultures of exotic species. It terms of biodiversity, then, the plantations could not be worse.
On 2 March 2022, DGB Group announced that it had sold 126,297 carbon offests from a “reforestation [sic] investment project in Sierra Leone” to a “multinational energy company”. DGB sold the offsets for US$10 each.
Verra’s database reveals that on 10 February 2022, the Sierra Leone plantation project sold four batches of carbon offsets with vintages from 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, totalling 126,297 carbon offsets.
But the Verra database does not say who bought these carbon offsets. Just like DGB Group doesn’t say who they sold them to. Surprise, surprise! The unregulated carbon market is completely untransparent.
Monocultures of industrial tree plantations in Sierra Leone are generating carbon offsets to allow a “multinational energy company” to continue burning fossil fuels and thus make the climate crisis worse.
Later in the interview on the DGB Group website, Farage admits that he’s in it for the money:
So look, it’s a commercial company, it wants to make money and there are going to be vast amounts of money made in all of these areas over the next few years as firms are forced by legislation to offset their CO2 emissions. So there is a big commercial market here, yes, but is there a bigger and broader, perhaps long-term goal, we can maybe make the earth a slightly better place. And here is a positive, free market way of beginning to turn that around.
So Farage is promoting a company that buys carbon offsets generated by monoculture tree plantations in Sierra Leone and which are sold to a “multinational energy company”. Carbon offsets do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DBG Group’s sales of carbon offsets guarantee the climate crisis will get worse. But if the company’s share price hits €20, Farage will make €18.5 million.
Yet Farage claims that all this can somehow “make the earth a slightly better place”. Just like Brexit made the world a better place, I suppose.