Gabon, a country located on the west coast of Africa, is planning the world’s biggest carbon credits issuance ever, involving 187 million carbon credits with almost half of them to be sold on the offsets market.
Gabon is the second most forested nation around the world, with 23.5 million hectares of tropical forests covering 88% of its lands.
The country wishes to harvest its abundant forests in a sustainable manner to create revenue, it has thus applied in last April to be a part of The Architecture for REDD+ Transaction’s TREES program. This will be the source of the carbon credits, which are likely to hit the market before the COP27 meeting in November.
The Gabonese economy is heavily reliant on the oil sector, which accounts for 80% of its exports and about 45% of GDP. To diversify its economy away from oil, the country is working to preserve its substantial carbon sink.
It is the first African country to be compensated for its efforts to safeguard forests. This type of endeavor aids forests in capturing and storing more carbon. It earned its first payout of US$17 million for such efforts from the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI).
Gabon plans to sell carbon credits for up to $291 million, determined by the average price for similar projects as determined by a carbon offsets data supplier.
Lee White, the country’s environment minister, also announced the plan of TotalEnergies SE to use the credits as offsets. This would be accomplished by the oil company’s acquisition of Compagnie des Bois du Gabon (CBG), which controls over 1.48 million acres of forest, or about 2.6% of the country’s total land area.
The oil company intends to provide carbon offset credits as well as a forest management model. Credits will be generated through reforestation, agroforestry, and forest conservation.
Meanwhile, Gabon is establishing a national REDD+ registry to manage payments from various initiatives, requiring all carbon credits generated to be registered with the registry.