The U.N. estimates that deforestation and forest degradation are to blame for 20 percent of carbon emissions.
The U.N. is pioneering a carbon market that would allow rich countries to pay poor countries not to cut down forests. It’s just the kind of feel-good program that could save the planet—or make loggers and organized criminals filthy rich.
The Guardian looked into REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) and determined that the program must develop safeguards or it will inevitably be exploited by organized crime, duplicitous industry and corrupt officials in the developing countries it’s meant to enrich. —PS
Interpol, the world’s leading policing agency, said this week that the chances were very high that criminal gangs would seek to take advantage of Redd schemes, which will be largely be based in corruption-prone African and Asian countries.
“Alarm bells are ringing. It is simply too big to monitor. The potential for criminality is vast and has not been taken into account by the people who set it up,” said Peter Younger, Interpol environment crimes specialist and author of a new report for the World Bank on illegal forestry.
“Organised crime syndicates are eyeing the nascent forest carbon market. I will report to the bank that Redd schemes are open to wide abuse,” he said.