Zimbabwe Holds Talks Over Plan To Take Half Carbon Credit Revenue

The Zimbabwe government is Monday due to hold talks over its shock announcement that it will claim half of all revenues from carbon offsetting projects in the country.

Mangaliso Ndlovu

The environment and climate ministry said in an advisory that a meeting was planned for Monday evening in Harare to discuss the carbon credit framework, but gave no further details.

Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu is expected to address the meeting on the framework which the government says aims to “promote and regulate carbon trading” in Zimbabwe.

The government last week said 50 percent of all revenue from carbon offset projects should go to the treasury.

At least another 20 percent should go to local investors, it said, with foreign partners allowed to pocket no more than 30 percent.

All carbon credit deals are to be subjected to government approval, the government said, adding all agreements previously entered by international agencies and organisations with local authorities and others are thus “null and void”.

Companies or individuals can buy carbon credits from entities that remove or reduce greenhouse gas emissions — including investing in renewable energy, natural carbon sinks such as mangroves, or planting trees that absorb and store CO2 as they grow.

With one credit equivalent to one ton of CO2, they are already widely used to boost firms’ environmental credentials, with much of the trade happening between companies in a so-called voluntary market.

The industry has been tainted by a number of scandals that have revealed a landscape rife with opportunities for greenwashing.

Some credits have been sold without being tied to any significant climate benefit, and there have been concerns over double counting.

UN experts last year said firms with net zero emissions pledges should not use credits to “offset” their carbon pollution without first doing everything possible to cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

The 2015 Paris accord agreed to aim for a global warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Yet the sector — already worth more than $2 billion — is expected to boom in the coming years, as the planet races to tackle global warming.

Meanwhile, under the umbrella of United Nations-led climate talks, countries are negotiating an international carbon offset trading system to reach their climate targets.

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