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Credits from Uganda?

Last year was a turbulent one for the Norwegian company Tree Farms, the self-styled largest afforestation company in East Africa. It all began with two NorWatch reports pointing out a number of objections to the company's "carbon projects" in Uganda and Tanzania (see NorWatch 5/2000 and 8/2000). The year ended with a collapse in climate change negotiations.
Artikkelen er mer enn to år gammel. Ting kan ha endret seg.
Last year was a turbulent one for the Norwegian company Tree Farms, the self-styled largest afforestation company in East Africa. It all began with two NorWatch reports pointing out a number of objections to the company's "carbon projects" in Uganda and Tanzania (see NorWatch 5/2000 and 8/2000). The year ended with a collapse in climate change negotiations.

The options contract for trade in carbon credits between Tree Farms and the gas power developer Industrikraft Midt-Norge, which they say was signed on April 27 last year, is still in force, though. The deal gives Industrikraft exclusive rights to purchase emissions credits at a price of USD 2.90 per ton of CO2. It long remained unclear whether this options contract applied only for the Tanzanian project or whether the Ugandan project, too, was included.

After the publication of the NorWatch report CO2lonialism, Tree Farms' management said the deal with Industrikraft had only included the Tanzanian tree plantations. According to the unofficial version, however, the negative press reports following the report had made Industrikraft require the Ugandan project to be taken out of the portfolio (see NorWatch 6/2000).

Now, Olav Nordberg, Environment Manager in Industrikraft Midt-Norge, informs that Tree Farms' project in Uganda was withdrawn before the deal was signed, and thus was never formally a part of the options contract. Nordberg also praises NorWatch for putting the issue in focus, which in his opinion has given the projects a kick in the right direction.

Before the Hague climate meeting, NorWatch got hold of a company presentation by Tree Farms. There, it is claimed that the plantation project in Uganda still aims at selling carbon credits, which contrasts starkly with what Tree Farms have stated earlier. It is also claimed that "an amicable solution has been found" in the land conflict. When the British television company Channel 4 visited Tree Farms' project in Uganda in November 2000, though, there was little sign of any solution. The local population was cultivating its lots and many people were still unsure what the future would bring.

The collapse of the climate negotiations and the confusion surrounding Tree Farms' project in Uganda make it highly uncertain whether carbon credits can ever be bought from Uganda.

Norwatch Newsletter 1/01

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