Somehow I’m not surprised:

It could save the rainforests of Borneo, slow climate change and the international community backs it. But a plan to pay tropical countries not to chop down trees risks being discredited by opportunists even before it starts.A forest carbon market is emerging in anticipation of a global, U.N. climate deal in December in Copenhagen, expected to allow rich countries to pay to protect rainforests as a cheap alternative to cutting their own greenhouse gases.

Officials in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have underlined how things may go awry.

Reuters has uncovered evidence of a multi-million-dollar offer of assistance from carbon brokers to a government agency, and confusion over whether offset sales were from valid projects.

There is growing interest from countries and companies in the developed world to buy the rights to the carbon stored in trees as they grow, to offset their own emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

But development and environment groups have long warned that suddenly placing a big value on rainforests could spur friction and even conflict in some developing nations, because of uncertain tenure rights, corruption and inadequate policing.

Most carbon offset schemes are fundamentally dishonest. When you create artificial “value” you simply cannot prevent opportunists from gaming the system, not that I can blame them for trying. But you can be sure that the purported goals of such poorly-designed schemes will be subverted.

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