By Elvis Dumba
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Zimbabwe is completing the development of its national carbon credit framework which is expected to guide businesses, benefit communities and protect investors who wish to establish businesses in the country.
Zimbabwe has vast opportunities for carbon trading in the energy sector through investments in solar, wind, mini-hydro, and geothermal power generation. The expansion of African economies in recent years has increased the demand for electricity to levels beyond the current power generation capacity.
Energy efficiency, cleaner technologies in the manufacturing sector, and the replacement of hydrofluorocarbons present further opportunities for Zimbabwe and Africa.
The carbon trade business is becoming a key measure not only to trigger finance but to assist in global emissions reduction.
The Zimbabwean government revealed the plan during The Africa Business Forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia through the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Chief Director for Environment, Climate and Meteorological Services, Professor Prosper Matondi, who represented the country’s President Emerson Mnangagwa at the forum.
Carbon credits are built by allowing some producers to emit carbon dioxide, while others remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or slash their emissions.The trade involves the completion for the emitters to be paying the sequesters, such as forest owners, or the investors in green energy and the like, some of their costs.
“Looking at the ability of the carbon trade to address climate challenges, it is true that Africa is gifted with an abundance of natural resources in the form of forests, wildlife, water, good agricultural soils, and minerals. These resources play a vital role in carbon sequestration,” read a part of the President’s speech at the forum.
President Mnangagwa, in the speech read on his behalf, said in Zimbabwe, the energy sector has a ready market for carbon credits as the country is facing power challenges due to increased demand in all socio-economic sectors.
“In addition, there are opportunities in the transport sector to reduce emissions through partnerships in mass bus transit systems and railway transport with an emphasis on renewable energy,” he said.
“The rural areas have a lot of potential in relation to forest conservation and afforestation whilst the large urban areas generate a lot of waste and present opportunities for methane capture as well as waste-to-energy projects.
“In the area of agriculture, Zimbabwe could benefit and treble the impact of a food response strategy through programmes that reduce carbon. This can be achieved by unlocking businesses that promote conservation farming such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa and agroforestry. Such businesses consume less energy, provide for soil reconditioning, and production of organic nutrients that are vital for building healthy soils to sequestrate carbon.”
The world, and in particular Africa, faces deep climate-related challenges caused by global warming that is now 1.1 degrees above historic norms, and with the current business-as-usual, is expected to be 4.2 degrees or above by 2030.
The capacity of Africa’s natural resources (forests and wetlands) to sink carbon is severely challenged. Carbon trading is seen as playing a central role in delivering a broad-based and cost-efficient reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and achieving the climate targets of the Paris Agreement of 2015.
The introduction of carbon trade has been slow, complex, and misunderstood globally and in particular, in Africa.
The present fight to address climate change and the associated need for low-carbon development provides a great avenue for Africa and in particular Zimbabwe to negotiate better trade terms with the rest of the world.
There is an abundance of carbon trading opportunities for Zimbabwe and Africa’s natural forests, reforestation programmes as well as renewable energy related to solar, wind, biogas, and geothermal power, and waste-to-energy programmes.