“Carbon Colonialism”: Four Corners Exposes Alleged Carbon Farming Exploitation in New Guinea

Essay by Eric Worrall

Four Corners: “… US regulators took civil action … Strauss repeatedly and knowingly and/or recklessly defrauded investors by disseminating false and misleading information. …”.

If the video above doesn’t work, click the original link to view the video. The original link also has a full transcript of the video.

Also from the Aussie ABC (which produces Four Corners);

Carbon colonialism

By Stephen LongMeghna Bali, and Max Murch

Four Corners
Updated 14 Feb 2023, 12:13pm
Published 14 Feb 2023, 4:47am

The south-western shores of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, are fringed by pristine rainforest.

An American company called NIHT Inc has partnered with local people here to put an end to deforestation in the region.

NIHT stands for “New Ireland Hardwood Timber”, and as the name implies, it started out as a timber company with its own plans to cut down the rainforests.

It shifted instead to preserving the trees and turning the carbon within them into an asset.

Businesses in Australia have been enthusiastic customers of NIHT Inc.

The Sydney Opera House, Planet Ark, Nespresso, the law firms Gilbert + Tobin, and Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and Active Super are among its clients.

They’ve been buying carbon credits from the NIHT project to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. And the pitch is attractive, with NIHT promising to stop “exploitative commercial timber harvesting in the project area” and to “alleviate the impact of poverty”.

But there’s a gap between the NIHT marketing and reality.

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-14/carbon-credits-projects-papua-new-guinea-logging-four-corners/101936714

ABC Four Corners claims Stephen Strauss, CEO of NIHT, was once sued by US regulators. From the documentary: “… US regulators took civil action … Strauss repeatedly and knowingly and/or recklessly defrauded investors by disseminating false and misleading information. …”.

I tried to find the court case. There are a few cases which might be the lawsuit ABC Four Corners are talking about, but unfortunately the ABC did not provide enough information to identify the exact case.

You would imagine given the extent of alleged wrongdoing, the ABC would be within its right to question the very existence of the carbon credit industry. Instead, the documentary sadly takes the view that the carbon credit industry needs to be cleaned up rather than discarded.

Having said this, the documentary is a surprisingly watchable. It focusses on allegations of legally unsophisticated tribal groups being deceived into signing complex carbon farming contracts with clauses allowing unlimited expenses deductions for the other party, allegations impoverished natives were denied the profits they were promised, allegations of misrepresentation, and various characters whom the ABC appears to accuse of exploiting both the natives and well intentioned Australian companies seeking to purchase carbon offsets for their Aussie business activities.

The one group the program doesn’t try to expose is the politicians who made it possible for this alleged exploitation to continue for such a prolonged period. 19th century colonial abuses could never have happened without cooperation between European leaders, exploiters and corrupt local leaders, so I can’t help wondering if the same is true in today’s PNG. As I watched the professions of innocence and helplessness, for some reason I kept thinking, people aren’t always who they claim to be, especially in a place as allegedly corrupt as Papua New Guinea.

Of course, I’m sure all the politicians interviewed by the Four Corners reporters are as blameless and innocent as they claim to be.

One more thing I’d like to add. Stephen Strauss, if the ABC got their facts wrong, please contact WUWT and present your side of the story.

via Watts Up With That?


February 14, 2023 at 05:13AM

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