Concern Over Stalled Forest Carbon Project
Nearly a year after an agreement involving the Federal Government and a duo of environmental management firms was finalised, fears are being expressed over the prospects of the accord, which appears to be mired.
Last September, officials of the Federal Environment Ministry and the Global Oxygen Development Corporation New York/UNISPACE Nigeria Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop forests carbon projects in the country, as well as establish a carbon centre for the West African region.
Nigeria is through the scheme proposing to explore the potential benefits of the local as well as regional carbon markets. The project is geared towards the promotion of sustainable community development through the concept of Aforestation, Reforestation & Revegetation (ARR) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forests Degradation (REDD) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The project is likewise expected to facilitate the natural resource of land space that the country is richly endowed with for the benefit of gaining carbon credits, earned either via the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (of the Kyoto Protocol) process or REDD.
But, several 10 months after, the dream has remained a dream. UNISPACE/Global Oxygen Development Corporation officials are blaming government for the development. They insist that they are ready and fully on ground to go ahead with the project, but that there have been little or no positive move on the part of the government since the agreement was signed.
They underlined their readiness to bring in the funding and technical expertise which will be of immense benefit to the communities and at no cost to the states, but lamented that bureaucracy and the slow pace of work at the Federal Ministry of Environment might be causing a bottle neck.
Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, when the equivalent of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases (GHGs) is prevented from entering the atmosphere during a production process, carbon credits in the form of certificates are issued, and thereafter traded at a carbon market (or exchange), which is similar to the Stock Exchange.
In an apparent improvement on a World Bank study that identified 750 CDM project opportunities in Nigeria, UNISPACE and its CDM experts have recognised no less than 1,500 bankable projects in the country.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was established to contribute to sustainable development and (GHG) emission reductions in developing nations, and to give developed countries some flexibility in how they achieve Kyoto Protocol emission reduction targets.
Nigeria has made some appreciable progress in the CDM field. A couple of months ago, the UNFCCC ranked the nation ninth in anticipated global certified emission reduction (CER) projects. According to the UNFCCC, Nigeria has an expected average annual CER of 4,693, 552 units, which is the highest in Africa and forms 1.03 percent of the world's total.
Nigeria has however so far earned 1,867 CER units, supposedly from four registered CDM activities, which are the Kwale Recovery of Associated Gas Project, Ovade-Ogharefe Gas Capture and Processing Project, Save 80 Fuel Wood Stoves and Asuoko/Umutu Gas Recovery and Marketing Facility. Several other projects are reportedly under UNFCCC consideration for approval.
In line with the agreement, UNISPACE Nigeria Limited and Global Oxygen Development recently signed a forest carbon project contract agreement with the Taraba State Government, the first state in the country to explore the UNISPACE initiative.
Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai stated that the state saw the idea as a special opportunity at a time when the United Nations was encouraging developing countries to take advantage of CDM and the carbon credit concept.
Managing Director and Chief Executive of UNISPACE/Global Oxygen Development Corporation, Oluremi Adiukwu-Bakare, explained that the contract would go a long way towards reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the Taraba, and also increase the state's Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through earnings from CERs.
Similarly, UNISPACE Nigeria Limited/Global Oxygen Development has commenced discussion with the Ekiti State Government towards assisting the state in setting up a forest carbon project that would reduce emissions, deforestation and forest degradation.
Giving the breakdown of the potentials of the carbon market and the development strategy, Tolu Daramola, the UNISPACE forester, explained that a west African carbon market would open up new economic opportunities for the local communities and enhance the income of farmers and rural dwellers in project areas, thereby providing job opportunities and earning of carbon credit as a means of eradicating poverty and enhancing sustainable development in the state.
He said, "We envisage generating 168,877 tCO2/per year, which translate to $2,533,167 (at $15/tCO2). The first phase of the project development shall focus on the establishment of a Community Base Empowerment Centre (CBEC) in each of the communities where the project is located. There will also be a development of a Project Idea Note (PIN) along with stakeholders' consultation which would be submitted to the Designated National Authority (DNA) in order to obtain the Letter of Endorsement in harmony with the National Approval Process and Procedure for projects under the CDM. The PIN will be followed with the development of Programmatic Project Design Document (Po-PDD) that will be submitted to the CDM Executive Board."
Funding arrangement, according to him, will be handled by UNISPACE/Global Oxygen Development Corporation with support from the state government through the provision of land for the ARR CDM project.
"UNISPACE has identified over 1500 potential and bankable CDM projects in Nigeria with over 700 from afforestation, reforestation, revegetation and REDD.
Consequently we have identified at least one CDM/voluntary carbon market (VCM) bankable REDD/forestry project in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Proposed Project, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (forests) Degradation (REDD) under the Verified Carbon Market (VCM) and Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation (ARR) under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)".