New Africa carbon markets initiative inaugurated at COP27

by IANS |

Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt), Nov 8 (IANS) Carbon markets offer an incredible opportunity to unlock billions for the climate finance needs of African economies while expanding energy access, creating jobs, protecting biodiversity, and driving climate action.

However, Africa currently produces only a tiny percentage of its carbon credit potential.

Led by a 13-member steering committee of African leaders, CEOs, and carbon credit experts, the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) was launched on Tuesday with the aim of dramatically expanding Africa's participation in voluntary carbon markets.

The initiative was inaugurated at COP 27 in collaboration with The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, with the support of the UN Climate Change High Level Champions -- Mahmoud Mohieldin and Nigel Topping.

ACMI announced a bold ambition for the continent, to reach 300 million credits produced annually by 2030. This level of production would unlock six billion in income and support 30 million jobs.

By 2050, ACMI is targeting over 1.5 billion credits produced annually in Africa, leveraging over $120 billion and supporting over 110 million jobs.

Commenting on ACMI's ambition, Damilola Ogunbiyi, the CEO of SEforALL and a member of the ACMI's steering committee, said: "The current scale of financing available for Africa's energy transition is nowhere close to what is required. Achieving the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative targets will provide much-needed financing that will be transformative for the continent."

Crucially, ACMI is committed to supporting high-integrity credits where an equitable and transparent distribution of revenue goes to communities.

ACMI steering committee member and USAID Chief Climate Officer Gillian Caldwell noted: "The African voluntary carbon market will only succeed if people trust that African credits are driving real climate action and having a positive human impact. As the VCM scales in Africa, USAID and ACMI will ensure that it does so with integrity as a core pillar."

To stimulate the production of high-integrity credits, the ACMI is collaborating with global integrity initiatives like the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM) and the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), as well as other regional carbon market platforms.

ACMI released Africa Carbon Markets Initiative, Roadmap report: Harnessing carbon markets for Africa at the initiative's COP 27 launch event.

The report identifies 13 action programs to support the growth of voluntary carbon markets (VCMs) on the continent.

Although voluntary carbon markets are already growing quickly, retirements of African credits have grown by an average of 36 per cent annually over the past five years, aggressive action will be required to maintain this level of growth over the coming decades.

Multiple African nations, including Kenya, Malawi, Gabon, Nigeria and Togo, shared their commitment to collaborating with ACMI to scale carbon credit production via voluntary carbon market activation plans.

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