|Posted on December 17, 2015 at 8:50 AM|
As the world’s climate negotiators just reached an agreement on how to tackle climate change during the COP21 in Paris, it is timely to highlight the importance of forest ecosystems for carbon and wildlife. The BirdLife International Partnership, including the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) and the Royal Soiety for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have been working with other NGOs to ensure that proposals to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) are enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
Embodying REDD+ in the agreement is especially important for poorer and smaller countries such as Sierra Leone where 122 Forest Edge Communities, the Government of Sierra Leone, CSSL and RSPB have just reached a historical milestone with the Gola REDD project successfully passing its independent audit against the two leading standards on the voluntary carbon market; demonstrating that we avoided the emissions of 1.19 million tonnes of CO2 over the period between August 2012 and December 2014. This is an enormous number and may seem somewhat abstract in our daily lives. But if we imagine a family car setting off from Sierra Leone this morning, and imagine that it is somehow able to circumnavigate the globe 76,000 times, then this gives you some idea of the amount of CO2 that the Gola project has prevented every year from being emitted through deforestation.
So, conserving tropical forests can play an enormous role in reducing CO2 emissions and mitigating climate change, but the challenge is how the grand commitments in meetings such as Paris translate into reality on the ground. This is where carbon markets can play a role. Through quantifying the reduced CO2 emissions from our work we are able to enter the baffling world of carbon trading, and enable companies and individuals to purchase carbon credits that quantify real savings in CO2 emissions and provide benefits to nature and people. We hope that this will be a mechanism to continue to pay for the globally important work in conserving the Gola Rainforest in years to come.
This is the very first project of its kind in West Africa, thereby demonstrating Sierra Leone’s leadership in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and showing how a strong civil society partnership like BirdLife can deliver truly ground-breaking work. We are truly the power of many.
If you would like to find out more about the Gola REDD project and if you are interested in purchasing any carbon credits, please email golaREDDproject@rspb.org.uk