Indonesia warns of REDD carbon cowboys

11 November 2009

The Indonesian government is warning local authorities to be wary of those purporting to be carbon brokers promising big financial gains for future REDD projects. The Jakarta Post reports that bogus operators are attempting to sign up local governments and landholders on the promise of developing lucrative forest preservation projects, which in many cases are a con.

REDD is the term given to the emerging international initiative to develop a global financial mechanism to pay for the saving of tropical rainforests. This is seen as vital to efforts to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and restore a balanced flow of carbon between the land and the atmosphere. Payments would go from rich countries to developing nation governments, their landholders and forest communities in return for preserving their forests.

In Indonesia’s key rainforest provinces, fraudsters are extracting land commitments through memoranda of understanding (MOUs), the government says, which are then used to attract large amounts of finance from carbon investors overseas. In many cases, none of the money has yet been seen by locals in Indonesia, says Wandojo Siswanto from the country’s Forestry Ministry.