Gabon has passed legislation that will pave the way for the world’s second most-forested country to begin trade in carbon credits.
The bill adopted by the central African government on Monday provides the legal framework to allow the trade of carbon credit generated by keeping its forests untouched on global exchanges, Environment Minister Lee White said in an interview.
The country aims to maintain its current status, where its wild areas absorb more carbon than the nation emits, beyond 2050, the government said in a statement.
Gabon is home to lowland gorillas and diminutive forest elephants, which roam its share of the Congo Basin—a crucial natural carbon store second only to the Amazon rainforest.
It’s a valuable resource for companies and governments looking to balance their emissions ledgers. They can pay Gabon for credits based on its pledge to protect forests, and use those certificates to offset their own pollution.
In June, Gabon became the first African country to receive payment for reducing emissions by protecting its forests.
The far-reaching legislation gives companies two years to comply with emission limits, said Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, who chairs the African Group of Negotiators on climate change. “Each company will have a permit with an allowance of emissions ,” he said in a Bloomberg interview Tuesday. “So in oil, in agriculture, in forestry, you will be followed and you will have to follow the rules.”
Oil accounts for 80% of export revenue in Gabon. That’s left the second-smallest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries vulnerable to the vagaries of global markets. Perenco SA, TotalEnergies SE and Tullow Oil Plc operate in the country, which has the capacity to pump 220,000 barrels of oil a day.
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