It’s not often that I find myself making such a suggestion, but the would would be a better place if Australian real estate developer and moral disease David Nilsson suddenly “disappeared” while on a trip to the Amazon. It would in fact be quite fitting.
As the Sydney Morning Herald reported in July of last year (Carbon Cowboys 7/23/11):
Nilsson first travelled upriver from Iquitos in April last year to a rendezvous with tribal leaders…the Matses were intrigued by the arrival of this unknown, wealthy Australian. He promised that he would make them rich, and share half of any profits from using their land as a carbon sink with local people…But the draft ”joint venture agreements” he presented to tribal leaders had a clause saying that the contracts must be kept secret and that showing them to anyone else would constitute a ”material breach”.
According to a local press report, Nilsson told them the agreements – obtained by the Herald – were written in English and not Spanish because “the World Bank and the [United Nations] only recognise the English language and the law of England and Wales for carbon projects.”
It also emerged that Nilsson’s Carbon Sustainable Resources Limited was not the international carbon trading entity it appeared to be, and had no actual office or staff. The company, registered in Hong Kong, has a website that, a year later, is still ”under development” [and] apparently still has interests in Papua New Guinea, as the controlling entity of a company called Carbon Credit Corporation Ltd. The group’s documents say it plans to convince tribal groups in PNG to participate in deals to generate carbon offsets from rainforests. In PNG, the promised cash for carbon payments are referred to locally as ”sky money.”
So who is David Nilsson anyway? Well, one thing is for sure, he is no stranger to controversies over land swindles and political corruption. In fact, he seems to have made somewhat of a career out of it.
In 1990 he visited Nauru to seek investment in a company called Darling Downs Development. Several Nauruans, flush with royalties from that island’s phosphate industry, said they were enticed to invest in a property development near Mackay, Queensland. Nilsson was named in the Queensland Parliament by a Labor MP, Jim Pearce, in 1997, after an investigation into the deal started by the aggrieved Nauruan investors. The MP said that several investors from Singapore had also been sold land in Queensland by Nilsson’s company at inflated prices.
Clearly this is a shady character of the snake-oil salesman type. But he’s even worse, due to his arrogance and destructive activities; far beyond just selling fake medicine, he’s actively destroying people’s lives and futures in order to line his own pocket. You can read more about the Mates people here. To learn more about this shady “Carbon Cowboy” and his dirty tricks, follow the links.
Until next time…hey Nilsson, why not take one for the team.
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