What you need to know:
- Kenya is rated top in Africa in sale of carbon credits
- But the country lacks regulations for buying and selling them, leading to loss of billions in unrealised revenue
The government is fast-tracking development of a regulatory framework for carbon credit business as the country seeks to raise significant revenue to fight climate change.
While Kenya is rated top in Africa in sale of carbon credits, the country lacks regulations for buying and selling them, leading to loss of billions in unrealised revenue.
According to Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza, the carbon credits business would go a long way in enhancing efforts to conserve Kenya’s biodiversity as well as helping in diversification of tourism products.
Ms Malonza says the government has keen interest in the carbon credit trade and the ministry of environment had been tasked with coming up with regulations.
“Carbon credits is big business in Kenya but has remained a complex topic even for those in government. It is laudable that the Northern Rangeland Trust has pioneered in this area hence there is need to collaborate with the government for transparency,” Ms Malonza said at Lewa Conservancy in Meru County when she visited the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) headquarters.
The trust oversees one of the world’s largest soil carbon removal projects dubbed the Northern Kenya Grassland Carbon Project (NKGCP).
The carbon project was, however, suspended after Survival International, a rights organisation, faulted its verification methodology.
NKGCP – which has so far earned more than Sh500 million for 14 community conservancies – seeks to improve rangeland health and carbon removal from the soil.
The European Union ambassador Henriette Geiger said the trust had come close to having a sustainable conservation model compared to other models in the world.
“We are aware of the criticism NRT is facing but this is nothing to worry about because it is a new model. The EU will continue to support NRT’s conservation model. We welcome positive criticism since Kenya needs the right mix to achieve tourism of the future,” Ms Geiger said.
Wildlife Principal Secretary Silvia Museiya said the NRT’s carbon project was a key step towards sustainability of conservation efforts in the arid north.
“The carbon credit project is a pacesetter in the world and such an initiative is bound to face challenges. However, some of the issues raised by Survival International could have been addressed if NRT was working closely with the government.”
“It is a great initiative since the money goes to supporting livelihoods in line with the government’s bottom up agenda,” Ms Museiya said.
Earlier, Environment CS Soipan Tuya said the policy guidelines would provide benefit sharing modalities for communities.
NRT chief executive officer Tom Lalampaa said the carbon credit project was benefitting close to one million people in northern Kenya.
“Further sale of the carbon credits for the period between 2017 and 2020 was suspended but half of the credits had been sold. We hope the suspension will be lifted soon. We are keen on improving on the carbon verification methodology,” Mr Lalampaa said.