23 Nov 2010 03:11:24
Kenya plans 1st Africa's carbon trading
Kenya plans to launch a carbon trading platform to facilitate the trade of carbon credits and to help drive renewable energy.
Kenya plans to create a carbon trading market to help drive clean tech and carbon emissions reduction within the country and across Africa. The carbon trading platform is expected to be open for business by the middle of next year, and it will be the first of its kind in Africa, enabling all African countries to sell their carbon credits.
The carbon offsets trading platform is meant to help kick-start foreign investment in renewable energy and forestry projects under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism CDM and REDD+ mechanisms.
According to scientists, carbon dioxide is one of the main gases causing climate change, and such exchanges are one way to offset carbon emissions. One carbon credit is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide, or in some markets, carbon dioxide-equivalent gases.
Some forecasts warn that Africa will be badly affected by climate change, even though most of the carbon emissions which cause it are produced in the West and Asia. The UN CDM has seen more than 5000 projects developed around the developing world over the last six years, but Africa has largely missed out with less than 150 getting off the ground.
Kenya's public debt could be paid off with carbon revenues in six years
Kenyan authorities say the carbon trading platform could make Nairobi a carbon trading hub in such projects for the whole continent. The government has even established a carbon finance unit in the Ministry of Finance, and says the country’s public debt could be paid off with carbon revenues in six years.
Kenya’s largest forest and water catchments, the Mau and Aberdares, are being eyed for their potential to deliver billions of dollars in avoided deforestation credits for preserving and restoring these natural assets. The Mau forest has been reduced by 40% in recent decades due to logging and land-clearing.
Officials hope the trade in carbon credits will open up investment in the generation of renewable energy and forestry projects. Kenya's government estimates that its largest forest, the Mau, has the potential to earn the country close to $2bn (£1.2bn) a year over the next 15 years.
But, this value would have to be certified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change before the country runs to the bank.