Potentially Misleading Carbon Credit Advice Exposed

Consumer Affairs program Fair Go screened in New Zealand targeting potentially incomplete or misleading advice given on carbon credits by real estate agents

http://tvnz.co.nz/fair-go/carbon-copy-video-4738017

Unfortunately the item did not clarify that if pre 1990 forest was replanted then there was no carbon credit liability. Instead an impression was given that up to 800 NZU units per ha would have to be purchased at harvest.

The article also quoted prices of $10 per NZU when recent prices have been somewhat less.

Overall however, with input from long time CM reader Garth Cumberland, the article did identify some of the risks and more importantly established that the real estate agents involved were not able to give the advice required. It is understood the Real Estate Agents Authority along with prominent agency networks moved to warn licensed agents of their obligations after the item was aired.

In essence the message was proper professional advice is essential when getting involved with the NZETS.

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One Response to Potentially Misleading Carbon Credit Advice Exposed

  1. eitg says:

    Firstly, good work on the story about carbon forestry and real estate agents.

    I have been working in this industry since 2005, and while the subject is complex I am continually astounded by the lack of knowledge many professionals involved with the forest sector have with the matter. I wouldn’t place all the blame on real estate agents. The criticism extends to lawyers, accountants, forestry consultants and even Government officials who administer the schemes!

    The reality is that carbon forestry is vastly complicated and the rules have actually been constantly evolving and changing. However you are absolutely correct that those without knowledge should not be presenting their own ignorance as fact to the unsuspecting public. So well done on exposing this.

    Unfortunately your own story actually made some pretty major misrepresentations of fact which are clearly wrong and would influence negatively any potential purchasers of forestry blocks! Overall it was mostly correct but two points which you should responsibly correct are:

    1) FairGo reported more than once that native forest is not able to earn carbon. This is incorrect. Post 89 indigenous forests are eligible to earn carbon credits annually under the ETS (pre-1990 natives are not eligible for this). In fact thousands of hectares around New Zealand are registered and earning carbon right now; and

    2) The impression was given that a landowner would have to repay carbon if a pre-1990 forests was cut down. This is partly correct. It is true Pre-1990 non native forests cannot earn carbon however there is no liability if after harvesting the is replanted. A landowner owner only needs to pay back the carbon if the land is deforested and converted into another landuse. I.e. forest being cleared and put into dairy farming.

    The second point might sound nit picking but actually the implications are quite massive on land values. As long as the owner replants the forest after harvest they will never incur any liabilities.

    Again, great story but please do clarify the above, especially the repeated assertions about native trees. Carbon credits are very helpful in promoting the regeneration, protection, and conservation of young indigenous forests across New Zealand.

    All the best, Ollie

    Ollie Belton
    Permanent Forests International Limited
    PO Box 1683, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
    Tel: +64 (0)3 366 7989
    Fax: +64 (0)3 384 0926
    Mob: +64 (0)21 249 7494
    Skype: ollie_belton
    Email: obelton@permanentforests.com
    Web: http://www.permanentforests.com

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