12 Jun 2009

PNG carbon racket dupes landowners

5:06 pm on 12 June 2009

Landowners in Papua New Guinea are being cheated by conmen offering fake carbon trading deals and promising big returns.

AAP reports the carbon trading racket has duped at least 500 villagers since late last year around Popondetta in Oro Province.

Some people have paid 400 US dollars to register as shareholders in a carbon trading company after being promised big dividends from the millions of dollars expected to be made from carbon trading in the country.

The villagers receive a receipt from an agent but never see their money again.

The conservation organisation, WWF says there is confusion in Papua New Guinea about how to make best use of its lucrative rainforests

WWF spokesperson Dave Melick, says people are calling it 'sky money' or 'selling the air'.

This month, Reuters and The Economist magazine reported a litany of anomalies with PNG's Office of Climate Change.

It appears the office has been offering millions of dollars worth of carbon credits while no legislation or policy exists in the country or under United Nations guidelines.

The Prime Minister's spokesperson says a review is being conducted into the apparent irregularities.

Government sources says the Climate Change Office director Dr Theo Yasause could soon be sacked.