4 September 2012

Tanzania: More People Understand Carbon Trading - Experts

MORE people now understand the benefits of carbon trading and accept such projects in their areas, experts from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) say.

Dr Eliakimu Zahabu of SUA told the 'Daily News' that fears have been allayed to help mitigate effects of climate change, as communities gradually understand what carbon trading is.He however urged that enough research and appropriate education be conducted before deals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by measures such as planting trees are signed.

Carbon trading is a market-based mechanism for cutting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the main contributor to climate change and is usually emitted through burning fossil fuels.The loss of forests around the world accounts for around 20 per cent of greenhouse gases.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the country lost an average of 352,570 hectares of forest a year between 2000 and 2005. When the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are in the atmosphere, they trap sunlight and raise temperatures.

Dr Zahabu said carbon trading deals were initially complicated for ordinary people to comprehend though handling carbon trade financing proposals still requires understanding of the trade.Tanzania and Norway have deals worth over $8 million under the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (Redd+) strategy, as part of the $73 million the Norwegians will be providing in five years to develop and implement Redd+ in developing countries.

Dr Zahabu said SUA has been undertaking such forest carbon measurement training for villagers since 2000 to enable them to acquire vital skills to do the work of carbon measurement on their own rather than seek services from external consultants who would demand hiked fees.

He said that when carbon trading starts, the costs of outsourcing carbon measurement and monitoring will be very high, which may affect villagers' earnings. Dr Zahabu said a carbon project must identify and determine the extent of all forest utilization levels before the start of the project and make sure that the uses are not transferred elsewhere in the presence of the project.

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