“When a wealthy criminal murders a person in Europe, he can pay a broker a lot of money to go to an African country and frame an innocent man into spending the rest of his life in prison while the family he can longer provide for are given a few handout crumbs to make them forget the loss of the father, husband and livelihood. The family never even get to know the heinous crime done in Europe for which their kin has been incarcerated. For a few more coins, the government of the African country hands over the running of the judiciary, so the European broker can prosecute and jail as many people as he wants. This is a recipe for massive financial profits as the depraved and wealthy European criminals can now live out all their cruel fantasies and fetishes, knowing that there is an endless supply of African innocents to be incarcerated on their behalf”.
The above story is not true. It is just a fictitious dystopian allegory that I have created to describe the global criminal enterprise known as carbon credits, or carbon trade. I needed a simple story to break it down, because spurious complexity and deliberate obfuscation are the hallmarks of all great scams of our times. Whenever someone questions it, he can be dismissed with the statement “You don’t unsderstand…” Now, substitute the European criminal with a polluting industry, and the innocent African is simply that- An innocent person living in rural Africa, dependent on in situ natural resources for his survival and livelihood. The brokers are all the big conservation NGOs plying the carbon trade that are almost worshipped by all and sundry. The same ones who hold environmentally destructive festivals of offroad driving, drink and debauchery to fund their fencing projects. It is crucial to understand the neurosis of fencing and the obsession around it; In Africa, carbon credits can only accrue from lands where black people have been removed and fenced out. It doesn’t matter how many trees are on it, you cannot get credits if there are black people living there and using it. If there are white tourists at an exclusive lodge with a huge carbon footprint on the land, its no problem, the broker still get the credits and sells them for large sums of money. The key to money laundering is to talk up the value of, and sell something intangible (unaccountable) that you do not produce, and cannot be accounted for. At a lower, more primitive level, we had the traditional short lived schemes that took their name from the swindler Charles Ponzi in the 1920s. The longevity and success of these scams is directly proportional to their complexity and the creation of an ethereal “commodity” that is bizarrely “traded” between two people, neither of whom can ever claim ownership thereof. Carbon trade is perfect in this sense and it would be an entertaining irritant like cryptocurrencies. The greatest challenge with carbon trade is that it requires the oppression and disenfranchisement of communities in Africa in order to function. It ALWAYS harms indigenous people, and since people have started questioning it, they are now shape-shifting again and beginning to call themselves “nature-based solutions”. We live in a world today where people are terrified of thinking, and anything promoted by people who are rich and well-presented gains instant acceptance (more so if the promoter is Caucasian, in addition to all that). Cryptic mechanisms are especially helpful in countries like Kenya, where state agencies in charge of our natural resources (especially Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service) haven’t the faintest understanding of how valuable our wildlife and forests are. If the carbon trading nonsense going on in Kenya wasn’t a scam, these two would be the wealthiest state corporations, not begging for alms from donors and tourists. We can now understand why NGOs are suddenly obsessed with fencing all our forests and rangelands at colossal costs. These biomes are priceless on the carbon markets, but only if they can remove and keep black people out of them. Some of the black people thus removed are now destitute, and those of them who have arms are currently engaged in violent resource conflict in Northern Laikipia. Why do you think conservation NGOs are silent about the conflict? They know the cause, but want to maintain the “African savages” or “political violence” labels that always serve so well to cover their corporate crimes.
Today, I wrote on my timeline that carbon credits are a global money laundering scheme. Nobody from any of the broker NGOs spoke up to oppose me, but my timeline was crowded with people asking me to give them a link to a ‘credible’ article that says so. This illustrated an extremely deep malaise that is all too common to public observations of the conservation sector in Africa (especially Kenya);
- These questioners obviously have NO IDEA what carbon trading is. If they did, they would notice that none of the practitioners confronted me
- They heard of carbon trading from white people, so they are asking for reference to a paper written by a white author (as opposed to the opinion of a black observer) in order to question it. In this case ‘credible’ was just a euphemism.
- The majority of Kenyans have been emasculated intellectually, and will do anything to avoid having to think for themselves, make a decision and take responsibility for the said decision.
However many different flowery terms, global conferences and stars they use to promote their schemes, we must understand that the movement of large sums of money without any goods or services in exchange is money laundering, a criminal enterprise, and this is what international conservation organizations are doing, day in day out. They call it innovative funding models, carbon credits, trading, offsets, nature-based solutions, amongst other names. This fraud is also harmful to our environment, because payment of ‘protection money’ or ‘greenwashing fees’ in this manner entitles them to continue harming their environment in situ. The brokers who receive the money are the same people who audit this intangible carbon, and eject people from their homelands in order to ‘sell’ forests they never created and earn money for nothing. They are pirates. All of them. This is organized crime, and anyone who expects to find an article in a conservation journal questioning the source of this free money has serious cognitive challenges.