EDITOR, The Tribune.
The world is changing rapidly and the way forward for countries like The Bahamas needs to be reinvented. As a nation, we are impacted by global warming and need to find ways to both protect and take advantage of this challenge.
A growing component of global warming is the regulation, trading and investing of carbon credits, a topic well discussed at the latest Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The world needs to see a reduction in global carbon emissions from 36 billion tons to roughly 18 billion in 2030 to keep global warming under control.
An important component of this reduction is the movement of capital into projects that reduce or remove carbon emissions. Almost every major business in the world will be impacted in some fashion by carbon credits. If you pollute, you will need to find offsetting green projects that give you carbon credits to offset your pollution.
At the UN conference in Glasgow, countries agreed on rules and guidelines for carbon markets. Defining exactly what qualifies as a carbon credit is difficult and the Institute of International Finance has sponsored a group to help create standards.
As a country, The Bahamas will always find it difficult to get funding from other countries for climate related investments. Most countries have strong political reasons for allocating capital based on things like access to resources, or other geopolitical issues. Rather than trying to convince countries to give funds, The Bahamas should band together with other low emission and climate vulnerable countries to create a framework that encourages companies, rather than countries, to provide that capital.
One way to do this would be a push to get global institutions to agree that every dollar invested in a carbon credit in a vulnerable low emission country is worth two dollars invested in a less vulnerable high emission country (or some higher multiple). If a company can be incentivised to invest, it will, provided the projects are certified, have some element of public/private cooperation, and meet the standards set out for carbon credits. It would be easier to convince foreign governments to establish incentives for investments than to invest themselves.
Some of the best carbon credit projects are related to forests and solar fields. Examples of carbon credits focused on forestry can be found at ncx.com, forestlandgroup.com and pachama.com. Why can’t The Bahamas create global recognised carbon credit projects for solar facilities around the country as well as the re-forestation of Abaco, Andros and Grand Bahama? It can, and should.
If a framework was in place that qualifies these projects as carbon credits, and there was a system in place that incentivised companies to invest, we could find new sources of funding for worthy projects throughout the country.
December 15, 2021.