Rainforest-clad Papua New Guinea is not ready for international funding for U.N.-backed forest carbon credits to stem deforestation, said Greenpeace, citing corruption, "carbon cowboys" and lack of political leadership. A Greenpeace report into PNG's attempts to promote a U.N.-supported scheme REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), found it was more interested in the funding than reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
REDD, which the United Nations hopes will become part of a broader climate pact, aims to reward developing nations that preserve and restore carbon-absorbing rainforests, a step that could curb the pace of climate change.
Rich nations would be the main buyers to help them meet emissions reduction targets, effectively helping them offset some of their pollution by preserving forests in poor nations."
But REDD requires substantial initial funding to launch pilot projects, craft policies and ensure money reaches communities.
"There has been little international interest in PNG as a responsible recipient of REDD funding due to high levels of corruption, carbon cowboy scandals and a lack of political leadership on REDD," Greenpeace said in its report.
"PNG is not currently ready for REDD funding," it said. The report was released on Monday on the sidelines of a U.N. environment conference in Japan. PNG is committed to reducing emissions by about 30 percent by 2030, said Greenpeace, but added widespread logging had left only 55 percent of its forests intact.
"We regret that Greenpeace directs all its effort into a glossy but superficial report instead of trying to solve the problems together with the relevant Government departments, NGOs and development partners," said a government spokeswoman - Papua New Guinea and the adjacent Indonesian province of West Papua account for the world's third largest expanse of tropical rainforest after the Amazon and Congo forests".
"PNG has the second highest proportion of national greenhouse gas emissions from land use and land use change and forestry in the world," noted Greenpeace.