PNG reporter writes how the country will drive to ban logging and go straight into carbon trading

Following the Papua New Guinea Government decision to ban round logs export by 2025 and industrial logging operations by 2030, the National Forest Authority, Environment Conservation and Climate Change Department and Climate Change and Development Authority are to provide an alternative to replace the largest revenue earner. 

The National reporter Michael Philip writes about how the country will drive to ban logging and go straight into carbon trading.

PNG’ Logging Industry

Logging operations is the biggest revenue earner for the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government, but the decision to ban logging will be the biggest challenge put forward to its relevant departments.

The challenge to provide an alternative from the PNG forests now lies between the relevant departments and authorities.

Prime Minister James Marape, after the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, announced in the Budget 2022 that his Government had agreed to ban round logs export by 2025 and end logging operations by 2030.

This was to allow total participation of resource owners to focus on downstream processing.

Following the Government decision to ban logging operations, it has allocated K12,200 million (US$3.4 million) to the forestry sector as capital investment.

Marape said the Government wanted fair participation between resource owners and the relevant Government authorities for them to be able to enjoy equal shared benefits.

Carbon trade

During a meet and greet with the worlds multi-billionaire Bill Gates at the COP26 meeting, Environment Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori said: “PNG was fortunate in its endeavour to monetise the drive to ban logging and go straight into carbon trading based on credits that the country had.

“It is a privilege to partner with the coalition for Rainforest Nations and Ernst and Young to oversee our drive in this direction.

“It is very encouraging to know that one of the richest man on the planet chose to conduct his business meeting with PNG leaders.

“It boded well for PNG’s interest in carbon trading that it had met with some of the world’s most influential players in the industry.

“The only thing we can take from this is the involvement of people with credibility that will pave the way for PNGs drive in what we want to do to go in carbon trading.”

International Partnership

Last November, PNG and the Australian governments agreed to join forces to create an efficient and accessible carbon market under the Australian government’s Indo-Pacific carbon offset scheme.

Mori and Australia’s industry, energy and emission reduction minister Angus Taylor announced that PNG would be the second international partner to join the carbon scheme.

Taylor said the partnership would see both countries share expertise to ensure PNG was internationally recognised as a source of high-integrity offsets.

“We look forward to working with PNG, Fiji and other members of our Pacific family and regional partners to share our expertise and drive investments in low-emission technologies,” Taylor said.

“Australia is the gold standard for transparency and accountability in emissions reporting and we expect all major economies to be held to the same high standard.

“That is why we are working with countries in our region to build the capability of their emissions reporting.”

Taylor said Australia’s plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050 recognised there was a role for voluntary purchase of high integrity credits from the Pacific.

First carbon trade project

The memorandum of agreement the signing early last month between Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) and New Ireland Holdings Ltd marked the first successful negotiations between the two parties to develop the country’s first carbon project.

New Ireland Hardwood Timber (NIHT), under its subsidiary company New Ireland Holdings, is the first carbon developer undergoing operations in New Ireland.

NIHT chief executive officer Esrom ToLigur said they decided to switch from a Timber Harvesting Company to a carbon trade developer because it was a win-win situation for every stakeholder.

“The carbon project has created job opportunities for our locals, especially the resource owners,” he said.

“We are grateful that after the successful negotiations with the CCDA, it helped us to move forward and develop the carbon credit projects in New Ireland.

“We plan to continue the project in all other provinces so we support the Government decision to ban logging operations and find other alternative sources to create revenue for the Government from our forests.”

Revenue

CCDA acting managing director William Lakain said, “we could not continue destroying our environment with logging operations but rather think about our future generations as to how they are going to live up to a life where there is no rainforest”.

Lakain said all other relevant authorities under the ministry would have to come up with other alternatives to utilise the sector and make revenue.

“Despite industrial logging operations in the country generating the biggest revenue for the Government, they now agreed to stop the operations to protect Papua New Guinea’s rainforest and the flora and fauna.

“If Government puts a stop to industrial logging operations, the challenge now is with us as the climate change department and also other relevant authorities to find other ways to utilise the biggest revenue earner sector.

“We have to prove to the Government that we can provide an alternative revenue.

“National Fisheries Authority is also another biggest revenue earner for the Government and they will also be in the same situation like us if the Government wants to stop fisheries operations in the country.”

Lakain said following the Government’s decision to ban logging operations, it was indirectly telling them (relevant departments) to provide some other alternative from the environment sector.

Moreover, the country’s unique rainforest needs to be safeguarded for the future and it was now the responsibility of the relevant departments to source ways on how to create revenue for the Government from the rainforest.

This story was originally published at The National on 17 February 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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