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Progress made on carbon market, says govt official

Progress toward having The Bahamas’ blue carbon assets ready for the first offering on the voluntary market space has progressed, with key stakeholders gearing up to have those assets traded on the United Nations carbon markets by the third quarter of next year, a key government official said yesterday.

According to Charles Hamilton, climate change advisor within the Office of the Prime Minister, before that happens it is imperative the region convenes for the first regional meeting of the Caribbean heads of government in preparation for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), which he said would ensure the Caribbean is recognized as a formal negotiating block on climate matters.

“We’re also looking to see that we can be united with our messaging going into COP27 and also united in the key issues The Bahamas is advancing, including the carbon credits market, and seeing how we can work together as a region to address the inequities that we have seen globally,” Hamilton said during yesterday’s Office of the Prime Minister press briefing.

“How is it that a ton of carbon can be sold in the global north for $100 per ton, while smaller countries are seeing it being sold for $5 or $10? We are looking to flip that script completely.”

The Bahamas has led the way in carving out a space in the carbon markets space with the passage of the Carbon Credits Trading Bill, and also the Climate Change and Carbon Markets Initiative Bill.

“For us, first thing’s first. We want to ensure that there is clear climate access finance windows available for Caribbean countries to be able to access funding that is not tied to any loans or associated with multilateral development banks. We want to ensure that the Caribbean is recognized as a formal negotiating block,” Hamilton said.

“We have shaped this meeting to be able to address some key topics including mitigation – how do we reduce green house gases (and) how do we ensure that renewable energy and energy security becomes a priority for our region? Adaptation – ensuring adaptation finance flows and that we can build resilience against the issue of rising sea levels and hurricanes. That the means of implementation are prioritized from the access to climate finance, and in addition our reporting is done in a way that’s transparent and that people can understand exactly what we are doing in order to do our part to address the climate crisis.

“And to address cross-cutting issues like sustainable tourism. How do we ensure that the critical pillars of our economy are built in alignment with the long-term temperature goals associated with the Paris Agreement? We need to have a collective voice. The Caribbean does not really have a standing within the UN negotiating space, so we are looking to bring forward this meeting to ensure that the Caribbean can be one of those heavy hitters. We are one of the smallest regions, but we are at the frontline of the climate crisis.”

The government intends to launch the first carbon credit trading market in The Bahamas within the next few months, as it prepares to introduce the world’s first blue carbon credits by the end of 2022.

Researchers have estimated that The Bahamas’ carbon assets from sea grass could be the second largest in the world.

Hamilton was recently elected to the 12-person Article 6.4 supervisory body of the United Nations International body to supervise and regulate carbon exchange markets worldwide.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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