Mr. October is on deck. Marciano Dasai, Suriname’s minister of spatial planning and environment, spoke at Climate Week in New York and is pitching 4.8 million carbon offsets to the real heavy hitters — the rich nations responsible for most of the globe’s CO2 emissions.
It’s the World Series of carbon finance — a potential win-win for affluent and emerging countries. The global community must put up or shut up — to disclose their progress regarding their climate targets. Almost all nations will fall short. The good news is they can buy offsets — scrutinized and part of the global accounting system — from Suriname, which will bring them to market in the coming weeks.
“We are carbon negative,” Dasai told me. “We can offer offsets to carbon-positive countries, which can use them to meet their carbon goals. As long as we can help, they are welcome to buy. It is a stepping-stone for us to adapt to rising sea levels and aberrant weather patterns. We can next look to new technologies and renewable energies — the things the developing world can afford to do now.”
Deep breath. If countries are decarbonizing their electricity and transportation sectors and still need to meet their net-zero goals, then buying carbon credits is appropriate. Moreover, they will purchase them from rainforest nations that go above and beyond the call of duty — keeping their trees standing, which are natural CO2 vacuums.
Alternatively, the rainforest nations could allow farmers, loggers, and drillers more access to those lands, defeating the objectives. But they must get paid a competitive price for the “internationally transferred mitigation outcomes” or ITMOs they will sell. Nevertheless, analysts at Climate Week explained to me last week that the current demand is low; greenwashing fears are pervasive.
I am the editor-at-large for the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, comprised of 65 countries with the potential to sell Paris-approved ITMOs issued by national governments and sold to other countries.
For the record, Suriname has 600,000 ethnically diverse people with a per capita income of $5,000 yearly. It runs its economy on hydropower and a small amount of diesel generation. Since independence from the Dutch in 1975, it has relied on natural resources to power its economy — a composition of gold, oil, and bauxite.