Thursday, June 18, 2009

Media round up

Other parts of the media are also picking up on this difficult story about the issue of irregular carbon credits in Papua New Guinea. All credit to the journalists who are digging.

Reproduced in full is the latest from AAP, published in Australian paper The Age. Ilya Gridneff seems to have had a run in with the silver-tounged Jim Johnson of Carbon Planet.


Eco firm pays out for PNG carbon trading
Ilya Gridneff
June 18, 2009 - 4:09PM

An Australian-based environmental company has paid $1.2 million to develop carbon trading projects in Papua New Guinea where no policy or legislation exists to facilitate such deals.

South Australian-based Carbon Planet, with offices across Australia and in London, promotes itself as a leading force in the global 'carbon economy'.

An Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) document obtained by AAP shows Carbon Planet's financial statement to the end of June 2008 reporting a $A1.2 million payment for development of carbon trading in PNG.

Carbon Planet chairman Jim Johnson refused to comment when asked by AAP about the funding in PNG.

"I've got nothing to talk about," he said.

"I am really sick of you people casting aspersions on my company.

"No payment has been made to PNG, your information is incorrect."

AAP read out ASIC's Carbon Planet statement which says: "Payments include $1.2 million of advanced funding on origination projects in PNG which the company expects to recoup in the 2009 financial year."

Johnson responded: "I am not explaining at all. I am not having this conversation," before hanging up.

PNG has the world's third-largest rainforest and the government has great interest in turning the asset into carbon trading revenue, but at present no such policy or legislation exists in PNG, nor under UN guidelines.

Earlier this week, PNG's Office of Climate Change (OCC) director Dr Theo Yasause denied that his office accepted money from foreign companies or made any deals despite, leaked documents suggesting otherwise.

AAP understands Carbon Planet is working on one scheme with Nupan PNG, run by Australian Kirk Roberts, who has developed potential projects in PNG's Kamula Doso regions, in Western Province.

In November 2008, the OCC issued a contract for one million tonnes of voluntary carbon credits to Nupan for the Kamula Dosa project.

Dr Yasause said the OCC document issued to Nupan was a "sample" and was now null and void.

Also, an ongoing court battle with Kamula Dosa landowners restricts any business dealings in the 80,000ha of pristine forest.

Carbon Planet's literature predicts the global voluntary carbon market will be worth around $US9.9 billion-$US17.1 billion ($A12.5 billion-$A21.5 billion) per year by 2012.

They expect the global compliance market to be worth $US2 trillion ($A2.5 trillion) by 2020.

But while carbon trading has the potential to be a lucrative business, Carbon Planet has other financial issues.

KPMG partner Gary Savage in a Carbon Planet audit flagged the company's $4.6 million after tax loss by the year ended June 30 2008, and by October net losses had reached $6 million.

"These circumstances indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern..." Savage wrote.

ASIC would not comment.
© 2009 AAP

And other stories...

PNG carbon racket dupes landowners Radio New Zealand International

PNG in hot seat: claims of false carbon credits The Canberra Times

PNG Climate Change Office says carbon credit report based on stolen documents
Australia Network News