Rwanda's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions qualifies it to benefit from the international market in carbon credits, an official with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has said.
Mweusi Karake, the Public Relations and Communications Officer of the bloc's Climate Change Initiative, said a combination of recent achievements and plans to further reduce emissions had better positioned Rwanda to put its projects on the carbon credit market.
"As COMESA, we realise that through the biogas use initiative, Rwanda has significantly contributed to reduce greenhouse gases that were being emitted previously," said Karake. He said this during a meeting in Kigali which brought together various players that have contributed to the reduction of emissions through the use of biogas.
These included representatives from the Private Sector Federation, Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Rwanda Correctional Services and Energy Water and Sanitation Authority, among others.
Karake says that COMESA is committed to playing a lead role in ensuring that the country's efforts are appreciated and rewarded.
"We are already done with the first phase as we have already secured a letter of no objection from REMA (Rwanda Environment Management Authority), and with this, we are now set to the next step that will automatically lead us to our destiny," Karake said.
Carbon credits are sold at the international carbon markets especially by the developed countries to reduce the rate at which they contribute to climate change or global warming.
This is done through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol that aims at enabling developed or highly industrialised countries to meet part of their emission reduction commitments by buying of Certified Emission Reduction units from CDM emission reduction projects in developing countries.
The Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that came into force in 2005 had by September last year been signed by 191 countries.
It calls for countries to committee to reducing their emissions of four greenhouse gases. These include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluoride.
Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) is among the parties that have played a key role in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by adopting use of biogas in ten of its fourteen correctional facilities..
Mary Gahonzire, the Deputy Director General of RCS said the use of biogas at the centres since 2009 has significantly reduced on the amount of firewood used.
"Our last survey indicated that as a result of using biogas, we are now saving Rwf 800 million, money that we previously used to buy firewood," she said.
She added that plans are underway to also have biogas used in the remaining four correctional centres once they are relocated.
Reports indicate that between 2005 and 2009, through the CDM arrangement, developing countries earned $25 billion in carbon credits from the international market.
It is said that the European emissions trading system is the biggest buyer of the UN carbon credits due to pollution emitted by its heavy industries.