On 18 January 2019, Sami Raja was sentenced to eight years in prison at Southwark Crown Court. He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. Four other men were sentenced in September 2018. Between January 2012 and August 2013, they miss-sold carbon credits to retail investors through two companies, Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd.
Since May 2018, if you buy ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in Wardour Street, London, you will also buy a small part of a carbon credit. For every scoop of ice cream, a penny goes to buying carbon credits from the Cordillera Azul National Park REDD project in Peru.
A company called “NLC Partners” is contacting people who were scammed into buying carbon credits as investments. NLC Partners claims to be able to sell the carbon credits. Needless to say, this has all the hallmarks of a recovery room scam.
When a company buys REDD carbon credits to offset its continued pollution, it relies on certification organisations such as Verra (previously called Verified Carbon Standard) and the Forest Stewardship Council to prove that the project is genuine, well managed, and really does result in reduced emissions. World Rainforest Movement recently visited the state of Mato Gross, Brazil to investigate the Florestal Santa Maria REDD project. WRM’s report reveals the problems with REDD, the problems with relying on this sort of certification, and the false solution of offsetting emissions from flying.
The Kariba REDD+ Project covers an area of 784,987 hectares in four districts of northwestern Zimbabwe. The project started in July 2011, and aims to generate almost 52 million carbon credits from reduced deforestation over its 30-year project life. The project is certified under the VCS and Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard systems.
A study published in October 2017 looks at how the demands of carbon forestry interact with the needs of community-based natural resource management. The study looks at one of the oldest village-based forest reserves in Tanzania, the Duru-Haitemba Villages Land Forest Reserve, in northern Tanzania. The Forest Reserve covers a total area of 9,045 hectares.
There is no way of avoiding the fact that flying is a disaster for the climate. For individuals, there is no faster way of frying the planet. Nevertheless, international aviation is not included in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The organisation responsible under the UN system, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has so far taken no meaningful action to reduce emissions from aviation.
In July 2017, a group of over 150 people who had been scammed into buying “carbon benefit units” got in touch with REDD-Monitor. Several London-based boiler room operations, including Industry RE, had sold them the “carbon benefit units”, supposedly as investments. Unfortunately they were worthless.
Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd was the name of a company incorporated in the Bahamas in October 1999. The company set up forestry projects and traded carbon credits. Its directors included Eric Bettelheim (Executive Chairman and General Counsel), Alan Bernstein (Chief Executive Officer), and Hugh van Cutsem (Director).
April Salumei is a REDD project in Papua New Guinea. Various companies, including Qantas, Eneco Energy Trade, and Norwegian supermarket chain Rema 1000, have bought carbon credits from the April Salumei REDD project. Should you so wish, you can buy carbon credits from the project on the USAID-funded website Stand for Trees.
For a REDD project to generate carbon credits, the project developer has to write a story about what would have happened without the project. This story, or baseline scenario, is crucial to REDD. As long as the actual deforestation is less than the deforestation in the baseline scenario, the REDD project can generate carbon credits.