One of the most famous quotes of the Vietnam War was a statement attributed to an unnamed U.S. officer by AP correspondent Peter Arnett. Writing about the provincial capital, Bến Tre, on February 7, 1968, Arnett said: “‘It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,’ a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.”The quote was distorted in subsequent publications, eventually becoming the more familiar, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”
In a truly bizarre parallel, the New York Times writes:
“They said if we hesitated they would shoot us,” said William Bakeshisha, adding that he hid in his coffee plantation, watching his house burn down. “Smoke and fire.”
But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.
The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.
The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.
In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.
But there was just one problem: people were living on the land where the company wanted to plant trees. Indeed, they had been there a while.
“He was a policeman for King George,” Mr. Bakeshisha said of his father, who served with British forces during World War II in Egypt.
All of this, for something not worth a nickel in America anymore…
Note the flatlined final price of 5 cents per ton of CO2…
…because the Chicago Carbon Exchange closed, as nobody wanted to buy carbon credits that had no tangible value.
And yet people are being burned out of their homes in Africa to plant trees for carbon credits. It is madness.
In the meantime, it appears the existing trees are responding to increased CO2, so planting new stands may not even be needed:
Forests in many regions are becoming larger carbon sinks thanks to higher density, U.S. and European researchers say in a new report.
In Europe and North America, increased density significantly raised carbon storage despite little or no expansion of forest area, according to the study, led by Aapo Rautiainen of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and published in the online, open-access journal PLoS One.