Could Carbon Credits Become the Next Blood Diamonds?

September 25, 2011 in Daily Bulletin

The Kyoto protocol attempts to use the power of the free market to help deal with the problem of global climate change. One of the provisions allow for the trading of carbon credits. It’s a simple system where those who want to pump excess pollution into the atmosphere can buy the right to do so from somebody who pollutes less, or, indeed, scrubs the environment of pollution. As with most markets though, this one comes with unintended consequences. The New York Times reports that Ugandans were forcefully and violently evicted from their homes to clear the land for the planting of trees. Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • New Forests Company bought a 50 year license to grow trees in three districts in Uganda. These trees would soak up carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere thus giving it the right, by the United Nations, to sell carbon credits on the open market.
  • The company expected to make up to $1.8 million a year from selling the carbon credits to polluters from around the world.
  • Over 20,000 people claim that they were evicted from their lands after their government and the company told them that they were living on the land illegally.
  • One Ugandan later took a job with the very company that played a role in ejecting him. He claims that he was promised $100 a month but only received $30.

To read the company’s reactions to the report and the allegations, as well as to find out more about the investors that support the company click here.

Source: The New York Times