Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Carbon credits: Illiterate tribals in Andhra Pradesh sell carbon credits to developed nations

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Illiterate tribals of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram
and Srikakulam districts have something major to celebrate on the eve
of the New Year. They have generated about 80,000 carbon credits
through afforestation on barren lands. Developed nations like Canada,
Spain and Luxemburg have now lined up to buy these carbon credits from
the tribal-farmers, paying each of them Rs 2500.

For the first time in India, tribal-farmers got money for carbon
credits directly from the World Bank. The carbon credit cheques were 
distributed in Visakhapatnam on December 26. Poor tribals from
Rayagada, Koraput, and Kalahandi districts of neighbouring Orissa are
also the beneficiaries of the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund.

About 1500 tribals had turned barren and wastelands including hilly
tracts spread over 1600 hectares into lush green social forests by
growing teak, Pongamia, mango, cashew, neem and Casuarina trees. The
green cover has resulted in the generation of 79,811 carbon credits.
This in other words means they have nullified the ill climatic effect
of 79,811 tonnes of carbondioxide or other green house gases released
into the atmosphere through human activity.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
mandates that developed nations should purchase carbon credits. One
carbon credit equals to permit to release one tonne of carbondioxide.
Armed with the purchase of carbon credits generated by the tribals of
Andhra Pradesh, the governments of Canada, Spain and Luxemburg have
secured the legal right to emit green house gases to the extent of
credits they had bought.

Sai Kishore Nellore, executive director, Veda Climate Change Solutions
Limited, which mobilised the tribals for the massive afforestation
programme, told this correspondent that they had entered into
partnership with the BioCarbon Fund of the World Bank and a local
industry, JK Paper Mills, Rayagada, to generate carbon credits and
trade them with the developed nations. The Centre for Integrated Rural
Development of Gitam University, Visakhapatnam extended the technical
support.

“We have created a unique institutional mechanism whereby small and
marginal farmers would be able to participate in the international
carbon markets under the UNFCCC. We have realised the carbon revenue
and will distribute them to the beneficiaries. This is for the first
time that the World Bank is giving away cheques directly to people
under Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement,” Sai Kishore said.
Canada, Spain and Luxemburg will in turn fund the World Bank for the
credits purchased.

The tribal-farmers have brought degraded lands to life, helping to
control soil and water erosion, besides producing raw material for
housing, construction, and industry. The reforestation activities have
also generating high-quality greenhouse gas emissions removals that
can be measured, monitored, and verified. A World Bank team inspected
the green cover before finalising the payments.

Incidentally, this is also the first project in Asia to release the
revenue to farmers as part of the Clean Development Mechanism of the
UNFCCC in the afforestation/reforestation large-scale sector. “The
tribal-farmers have addressed the most challenging issue of our times
namely climate change mitigation, while improving their personal
living standards,” he added.

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