The government believes it will be in the position to launch the first blue carbon credit from Bahamian sea grass before the end of 2022, and expects in the next few months to launch the country’s first carbon exchange through cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Senior Policy Advisor and Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday.
During the “Blue Carbon: Charting the Path for Governance and Partnerships” event yesterday at the United Nations Ocean Conference 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal, Fitzgerald said in the next two to three months, scientists who have been mapping the country’s blue carbon assets will complete their research and present their findings to the Verification of Environmental Technologies for Agricultural Production (VERA) testing program.
“About nine months ago, Beneath the Waves came to the government of The Bahamas and began to share some of the science that they had uncovered, after spending ten-plus years in The Bahamas following and researching our shark population, particularly the tiger shark. They indicated to us that we had the largest seagrass bed in the world. Our prime minister at the time then made a decision that The Bahamas would lead the world in moving blue carbon forward, not only in regulating and putting in regimes to manage the blue carbon in our country, but also in ways to monetize it,” he told attendees at the conference.
Fitzgerald continued, “What is the way forward for us now? In the next two to three months, we expect to launch our carbon exchange. We are working now with FTX in order to finalize that exchange. Within the next two to three months, we expect Beneath the Waves to submit its scientific research, which will outline the extent of our seagrass meadows in The Bahamas. We are told that it is multiple times the size of the second largest sea grass meadow in the world.
“Thirdly, we will begin within the next two to three months, to present to VERA for verification the scientific findings that we have, and we expect by the end of this year we will be in a position to launch the first blue carbon credit from sea grass, that the world would see.”
Organized by the governments of Portugal and Kenya, the UN Ocean Conference brought world leaders and corporate entities together to deliver science-driven innovations and solutions to respond to the world’s environmental emergencies. It is considered to be the premier occasion for global leaders to network on advancements in environmental science.
The government is currently developing carbon credit secondary markets trading legislation with the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, which Fitzgerald said is expected to be tabled and debated next month in Parliament alongside the recently tabled Climate Change and Carbon Market Initiatives Bill, 2022, which would entrench the legal regulatory framework for the trading of blue carbon credits in The Bahamas.
“In April this year, we enacted the climate change and carbon markets initiative, which did three things: it made sure at the end of the day that we complied with our commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; it made sure that we were compliant with our obligations under the Paris Agreement; and thirdly and importantly, it set up a market framework for us to trade carbon credits. It allows us to do this in three ways: multilateral or bilateral – or sovereign to sovereign as they say; secondly to private entities; and thirdly, in the voluntary market. The voluntary market is the route that we chose,” Fitzgerald told attendees of yesterday’s event in Lisbon.
“Next month we will introduce in Parliament the Carbon Trading Exchange Bill, Which will allow us to establish a carbon trading regime and a carbon trading exchange within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. That legislation will do two things. One is that it will allow us to ensure that all of the carbon credits traded on the exchange are properly verified and have the proper accreditation in order to be listed on the exchange. It requires that whatever body is doing the accreditation goes through the international accreditation forum.
Secondly, it allows for us to create different financial instruments in order to trade carbon credits, be it swaps, options, other types of derivatives, forward contracts and so forth. It also allows us to use the digital assets act that we have established in order to trade and move carbon credits through digital assets.”
Without knowing the full scope of Bahamian blue carbon assets, experts have estimated that The Bahamas could benefit as much as $375 million from carbon credits per year.