Monday, November 29, 2010

Africa: It Pays to Go Green

Central Africa’s first carbon sink plantation

29 November 2010 - Olivier Mushiete sees himself as a pioneer: His ever-expanding acacia forest on the Bateké plateau, 120km east of Kinshasa, is central Africa’s first carbon sink plantation.

“Each hectare of acacia trees can capture 25-30 tons of CO2. They grow quickly and have no known predators, parasites or viruses. What’s more, they are leguminous so their leaves fertilize the soil. They’re great,” he enthused.

Every day the plantation traps several tons of CO2. Mushiete, an agricultural engineer, has sold some of this sequestered greenhouse gas, in the form of carbon credits, for US$4 million, with the first payments due in 2012, once the first trees reach maturity.

Such credits are a product of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which is designed to allow industrialized countries to offset their emissions by supporting certain kinds of development projects in poorer countries.

The credits are equivalent to a certificate, denoting a specific reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gases. They can be sold to businesses, institutions and individuals. Each carbon credit refers to a saving of one ton of CO2. {read rest}

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