United Nations Warns That Its Primary Climate Change Initiative (REDD) is Not Going to Work
Political corruption has always existed in the U.S., but our country has enjoyed relative protection from the kind of institutionalized corruption that is common in many parts of the world – mostly the developing world. Rule of law has been a significant competitive advantage for us.
But that legacy is rapidly changing. The Black Liquor scandal and other similar government initiatives, have demonstrated that the current Congress and President have stooped to levels of corruption and political favoritism that would have been intolerable during previous administrations – during times when the mainstream media actually served a purpose.
But, in regard to corruption, we haven’t seen anything yet. The government takeover of our health care system, in combination with energy subsidies and other proposed climate change legislation, will lead to an explosion of fraud and political corruption. The opportunities for cheating, and the lack of oversight, will be extraordinary.
Corruption associated with climate change legislation will, however, be an international activity. It is interesting that the United Nations, known for its own out-of-control corruption, has blown the whistle on its key climate change program - Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). REDD is designed to redistribute wealth to the poorer nations. In exchange for billions of dollars of “assistance”, the developing nations agree to limit logging, stop developing palm oil plantations, or disturb forests in other ways, such as building power plants in forested areas, etc. The plan at this time is for $10 billion/year of REDD funds to flow to developing countries by 2020.
These aid payments provide incentives for the poor to remain poor and dependent on the developing world. It is an international welfare system. That is not how the program is described, but that is the intent. The UN wants to stop harmful development that could result in more carbon emissions. It is another dedevelopment program – just like the President has planned for us in the U.S.
This is wrong on just about every level, but a key problem is that most of the billions of dollars being transferred to the developing world will end up just where the trillion dollars in the President’s stimulus package went – to politically connected individuals and organizations. These funds will not result in permanent jobs or provide the poor with opportunities to escape poverty. Economic development is required for that miracle to take place.
The UN is concerned, however, that nations receiving REDD aid are planning to take the money, but then ignore commitments to end projects as promised. What a surprise.
The next passages are from; United Nations Warns that Corruption is Undermining Grants to Stop Logging.
A revolutionary scheme backed by the World Bank to pay poor countries billions of dollars a year to stop felling trees is the best way to stop logging and save the planet from climate change, according to wealthy countries and conservationists, yet documents seen by the Observer show the plan is actually leading to corruption and possibly more logging…
Under Redd, 37 mainly tropical countries have requested more than $14bn (billion) in grants from rich countries by 2015 in return for cutting their carbon emissions from logging and other forestry activities. This is expected to lead to an income of more than $10bn a year by 2020 when a global carbon offset scheme is running.
The carbon money flowing from rich to poor countries will then theoretically dwarf international aid and could reduce global emissions by 17-20% – more than that emitted by all the world’s transport.
But analysis of the 16 forestry reform plans so far submitted by Redd countries to the World Bank shows that many intend to abuse the system in order to collect the money while carrying on logging as usual.
Documents seen by the Observer show that the Democratic Republic of Congo wants to open up 10 million hectares (25m acres) of new logging concessions as part of its plan. The country, which is ranked as one of the most corrupt in the world, argues that it will reduce emissions by planting more trees elsewhere.
Guyana intends to use some of its Redd money to pay a property dealer from Florida to build a road and a major hydroelectric plant in some of its most densely forested areas. Indonesia has said it will impose a moratorium on the conversion of its extensive peat forests to palm plantations, but only after 2013, allowing logging companies to ravage its forests until then. Other countries are setting the present rate of deforestation deliberately high or are ignoring all present logging, so that they can be paid to do nothing.
The environment groups, which include Global Witness, Greenpeace International, Fern and Rainforest Foundation, also fear that Redd is being used by governments to victimise and steal the carbon rights of people who live and depend on the forests.
Last month police arrested a UK-based businessman alleged to have paid government officials and others in return for the emission rights on 20% of Liberia‘s forests. Interpol said last year the chances were “very high” that criminal gangs would seek to take advantage. Peter Younger, Interpol environment crimes specialist and author of a report for the World Bank on illegal forestry, said: “Alarm bells are ringing. Redd is simply too big to monitor. The potential for criminality is vast and has not been taken into account.”
Simon Counsell, director of Rainforest Foundation, said: “Redd has been touted as the quickest and cheapest way of preventing climate change, but what we are seeing are expensive and ill-conceived plans that fail to address the underlying causes of deforestation, and might make things worse. Redd needs to be taken out of the hands of the World Bank, and a new global institution [must be] established to rigorously oversee payments to tropical countries on the basis of the actual amount of logging or deforestation that is averted.”
These critics are correct that the program will not have the desired effect. But it should be killed, not given to some other bureaucracy to manage. It won’t work no matter who is in charge.
The forests in developing nations should be managed in a sustainable manner – as they are in Europe and North America. Carbon emmissions may or may not increase as a result, but carbon emmisions are not the problem. The problem to solve is how best to utilize the natural resources of developing countries so their ecomomies can show long-term growth, and provide opportunities for the poor to work themselves out of poverty.