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Growing conflicts over Tanzania's 'charismatic carbon'

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
7th September 2010
Publisher Name: 
The Ecologist
Thembi Mutch
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The country's forests are at the centre of a new global scramble to 'buy up' carbon, but as Thembi Mutch reports, is the process really going to benefit the environment or people?

Last month I rang my ethical isa broker. ‘I want to invest in forests in Africa,’ I said. We talked for an hour. I put the phone down knowing that there was little or nothing ethical about my ISA, and I certainly couldn’t dictate that they invest in the biodiverse tropical forest that I overlook as I write here in Arusha, Tanzania.

The conversation was emblematic of the situation faced by an Africa trying to adjust to a brave new world in which the west once again has eyes for the continent’s resources – this time it’s carbon.

At present, there are (politically) two ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: emit less, or create more carbon sequestration initiatives. The second approach, under the auspices of the UN’s ‘Clean Development Mechanism,’ involves high carbon emitters buying carbon credits from low carbon emitters – usually the less industrialised global south.

A key emerging mechanism for carbon sequestration is known as ‘REDD’ – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation – designed to tackle the 17 per cent of annual carbon emissions that result from the destruction...


Extpub | by Dr. Radut