David Sepmat Gavara Nanu - Criminal networks and carbon fraud - Supervised by Professor Willem de Lint / Dr. Russell Brewer
PhD candidate, David Sepmat Babida Gavara-Nanu, traces the history of the emergence of “carbon fraud” – the term denoting fraudulent criminal acts committed through the exploitation of carbon credit trading markets. The exploitation of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme in 2008, by various international organised criminal networks, resulted in the theft of millions of dollars and carbon credits from unsuspecting institutions and vulnerable people. This event formed the basis for the birth of this research in 2015.
As a result of the theft, the Trading Scheme tightened its regulation leading INTERPOL to predict that criminal groups will depart from defrauding the compliant carbon trading market and move to exploit the non-compliant markets. Utilising a number of theories including predominantly Crime Prevention Theory, this research project explores potential avenues organised criminal networks might utilise to hijack the United Nations endorsed - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation scheme. Focusing on Papua New Guinea as a single case study, the project examines criminal networks operating in that country who are most likely to infiltrate REDD+ projects there, with the collaboration of corrupt government officials. The research combines theories in green criminology, international law, economics and social science, whilst collating data through qualitative means, seeking ultimately to develop theories and policies intended for REDD+ implementing countries and the financiers of REDD+ projects, to combat carbon fraud.
Drawing on the expertise, experience and lateral thinking of members of the Centre for Crime Policy and Research, this research project promises potential ground-breaking findings in climate change development in an area not fully understood and highly controversial. However, it exemplifies the Centre’s evolving status in becoming a leader in innovative research cutting across the Centres’ key areas of interest of organised crime and criminal networks, corruption prevention, justice and security systems and transnational security.