Saturday, June 6, 2009

Comesa sets up fund for carbon reduction projects

From Martin Kadzere in Victoria Falls, THE HERALD

COMESA is setting up a fund to finance carbon reduction programmes and other climatic change related initiatives, secretary-general, Dr Sindiso Ngwenya has said.

Dr Ngwenya told a business council meeting at the Comesa 13th Summit of Heads of States and Government yesterday that the funds would be accessed through a yet to be created division to be run by the PTA Bank.

While he noted the regional block could lay foundation for low carbon economy that creates jobs, the challenge was whether the region had the capacity to transform its economies in an environmentally sustainable and carbon friendly mode.

"The carbon market is anticipated to be the new trillion dollar economy of our century," said Dr Ngwenya.

"Africa must have a stake. It is only with proactive private sector that Africa will be able to positively harness the tide of climate change. To facilitate private sector interventions, we as secretariat are in the process of setting up a unit hosted by the PTA Bank to design a carbon facility through which funding and other support climate programmes can be accessed."

A low carbon economy is a concept that refers to an economy which has a minimal output of greenhouse emissions into the biosphere, but specifically refers to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Recently, most of scientific and public opinion has come to the conclusion there is such an accumulation of green house gases in the atmosphere due to anthropogenic causes, suggesting why the climate is changing. The over-concentrations of these gases is producing global warming that affects long-term climate, with negative impacts on humanity in the foreseeable future.

Most Africa nations are low carbon societies because they are not heavily industrialised. In order to avoid climate change at any point in the future, all nations considered carbon intensive societies and societies which are heavily populated, should become zero carbon societies.

Several of these countries have pledged to become "low carbon" but not entirely zero carbon, and claim that emissions will be cut by 100 percent by offsetting emissions rather than ceasing all emissions also known as carbon neutrality.

Dr Ngwenya called for involvement from both Government and the private sector to avert cost that would arise from climatic changes.