Carbon credit cruelty
KICUCULA, Uganda — According to the company’s proposal to join a United Nations clean-air program, the settlers living in this area left in a “peaceful” and “voluntary” manner.
People here remember it quite differently.
“I heard people being beaten, so I ran outside,” said Emmanuel Cyicyima, 33. “The houses were being burnt down.”
Other villagers described gun-toting soldiers and an 8-year-old child burning to death when his home was set ablaze by security officers.
But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.
The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.
The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.
In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.
Disgraceful indeed. But though credit is due to Oxfam for exposing the scandal, can anyone detect a whiff of hypocrisy here?
After all, few NGOs are more assiduous than Oxfam in talking up the threat of “Global warming”:
Global warming can be tackled, and disaster avoided, if world leaders act together, and act soon.
Oxfam believes all nations have a part to play – including the poorest, where people may have to find new ways to farm and make a living.
And the richest – particularly the US and members of the EU – should reduce greenhouse gas emissions – immediately. They should also help poor countries cope with the likely impact of global climate change.
There’s no time to lose.
And presumably, the kind of concerted action Oxfam is urging world leaders to adopt includes measures like the carbon credit scheme yielding such fat rewards for those caring, nurturing environmental types at businesses like New Forests Company.
Let’s just have a look at New Forests Company’s list of directors, shall we, so we can get to know these delightful people better:
Chairman is Robert Devereux, ex-business partner and brother-in-law of another leading environmental campaigner, Richard Branson.
Director Jonathan R Aisbitt is ex-Goldman Sachs.
Executive director and CEO Julian Ozanne is the ex-husband of the X-Files’s Gillian Anderson who starred in the infamous No Pressure video.
I’m sure that every one of these kind, caring people is properly appalled that Ugandan children are being burned alive in order to facilitate their company’s carbon credit trading operation.
Then again, this wouldn’t be the first time that Third World natives have become accidental casualties of the holy mission to save Mother Gaia, would it?
- Prince of Wales to give up his Aston Martin, two Jags, two Audis and Range Rover to save planet. Not.
- 10:10: who are YOU going to kill to help save the planet?
- ‘Killing parakeets is racist’ – and other green lunacies
- Australia’s green orchidectomy*
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