What future for carbon finance in Africa in the midst of the post-Kyoto uncertainty?

Aubagne, July 20, 2011 – From July 4 through July 6, GERES attended the Africa Carbon Forum in Marrakesh and launched an appeal to promote ethics and development outcomes from the carbon markets. While uncertainty is increasing concerning the future of carbon finance, new mechanisms like NAMAs* are now seen as key measures for gas emission reduction in the South. 

Post-Kyoto uncertainty at the heart of all debates

The slightly gloomy atmosphere of the Forum showed the deep concerns of project developers and investors facing  the  post-2012  uncertainty,  even  though  many  observers  behind  the  scenes  are  actually  quite confident  about  the  pursuit  of  carbon  markets.    The  European  Union,  which  plays  a  major  role  in  these markets through its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), has already agreed to buy credits generated by reduction projects in the South beyond 2012, provided they are from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).  But  this  provision  would  automatically  exclude  emerging  countries  like  South  Africa  and  intermediary countries in the Maghreb.  Indeed, these countries are a driving force for the continent in the field of clean energy and excluding them might slow down the efforts of all African countries.  All eyes are now turning to Durban where the fate of the emission offsetting mechanisms, or at least the broad outlines of the future reform, should be set.

GERES side event in Marrakesh

In this context of uncertainty, and bringing together experts from GIZ, Gold Standard, Manna Energy, and South South North, the round table organized by GERES in partnership with CDC Climat raised the issue of “suppressed demand”.  This methodology can provide a better correlation between efforts to combat climate change and attempts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.  It means anticipating the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the least developed countries with a view to their future  economic  transition  in  order  to  generate  more  carbon  credits.    This  method  of  calculation  should encourage  poor  communities,  with  very  low  emissions,  to  leapfrog  to  clean  energies  by  rewarding  their efforts to use renewable energies and improve their energy efficiency.

With wide acceptance by all its partners of the need to improve the integration of the concept of “suppressed demand” in the existing mechanisms, GERES has recently noticed a timid step towards recognition of this methodology by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

New post-2012 perspectives

The development of NAMAs is one of the new tracks being explored.  It consists of implementing programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sector of activity.  This new mechanism, which can be implemented at a national or even regional level, looks very promising for Africa where emission sources are unevenly spread geographically and by sector.

More generally, African participants are concerned that an abrupt end put to carbon finance in 2013 could jeopardize  their  chances  for  development  just  when  Africa  was  finally  going  to  benefit  from  these mechanisms.    It  is  also  their  voices  that  GERES  wants  to  bring  to  the  17th  Conference  of  the  Parties  in Durban at the end of the year with the aim of influencing the reform process of carbon markets and making sure it benefits the poorest communities.

*NAMA: Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action


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GERES launches an appeal to promote ethics and development outcomes from the carbon markets


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