Carbon credits: The next round of indulgence trade in Liberia

Chimpanzees in Sapo National Park Liberia's forests are home to chimpanzees - and the target of carbon traders (© Sonja Metzger/ WCF)

Mar 22, 2024

The battle over Liberia's forests – supposedly in the name of climate protection – is entering a new round. BluEarth Carbon, a U.S.-based company, wants a piece of the lucrative carbon credit market. For the past year, a Dubai-based carbon trader has been trying to cash in on Liberia's forests in the same way.

According to The Daylight and REDD Monitor, the BluEarth Carbon project covers more than 55,000 hectares of forest. According to a letter of intent, the company would pay the community of Ziadue just over $82,000 for a feasibility study – that’s $1.50 per hectare. Ultimately, Ziadue will receive only 10 percent of the revenues from the business.

Further research and analysis suggests that BluEarth Carbon did not obtain community consent as required. The company's management appears to have little experience with forest conservation and carbon credits, but quite a bit in mining, logging, palm oil plantations and investments. There are also inconsistencies regarding the number of hectares of forest that the community of Ziadue actually has.

In March, BluEarth entered into a “strategic partnership” with Ecological Carbon Offset Partners LLC to develop projects in Liberia. This partnership appears to be technical in nature.

Liberia’s environmental protection agency has warned the community not to enter into a contract with BluEarth Carbon. The government was not involved as required by law.

Carbon credits are a false solution in the fight against the climate crisis. They allow oil companies, airlines and other polluters to offset their climate-damaging emissions on paper without actually reducing them and without changing their business models, distracting from the need for effective climate action.

In March 2023, the Dubai-based company Blue Carbon had already attempted to gain access to one million hectares of forest from the Liberian government in order to make a fortune in carbon credits.

With BluEarth Carbon, the threat to the forests and the people who live there continues to grow, making it all the more important to expose every dangerous carbon credit deal immediately.

Please sign our petition “Do not sell out Liberia’s forests for Dubai’s climate excesses” if you haven’t already.

Politically, Liberia is in a period of calm – perhaps the calm before the storm. A new government took office in January 2024. It is generally interested in doing business with carbon credits, but is putting the brakes on while it takes time to study and define the legal framework.

In a twist that seems too cheeky to be coincidental, BluEarth is based in Las Vegas – the perfect backdrop for a venture that attracts high rollers to a game where the house's victory is all but a foregone conclusion.

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