December 02, 2023
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Emmanuel Macron announced on Saturday December 02, 2023 at COP28 the conclusion of two partnerships granting 100 million euros to Papua New Guinea and 50 million to the Congo to help these countries protect their forests so that they can continue to absorb and store CO2.
A third partnership earmarking 60 million euros for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is under discussion, added the French president at a round table on forests and the ocean held in Dubai during the climate negotiations.
These partnerships are based on a model announced at the One Forest Summit, organized by Mr. Macron with Gabon in Libreville in March. Other similar agreements are due to be concluded “between now and COP30”.
“Nature is the best technology at our disposal for capturing and absorbing CO2”, he said on Saturday, adding that “countries that actively protect their forests” and thus preserve their CO2 absorption capacity should be remunerated.
These announcements come a day after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for the creation of an International Tropical Forest Preservation Fund, under which 80 countries would be remunerated for “each hectare of forest preserved or restored to native vegetation”.
Lula, who invited Emmanuel Macron to visit Brazil in March, hopes to raise $250 billion in this way.
According to the French president, the partnerships have several components: “a scientific partnership to measure and monitor the level of these vital reserves”, “an economic partnership” integrating indigenous populations and the local ecosystem, and a final component designed to promote “innovative means of financing, which would make it possible to generate high-quality carbon and biodiversity credits”.
The Elysée gave no immediate details on these carbon credits or the source of funds for these partnerships.
Carbon credits, much criticized after studies questioned their benefits for the environment and local populations, will be the subject of negotiations at COP28, when a new regulation provided for in the Paris Agreement is due to be adopted.
NGOs fear, however, that these future rules will not be sufficient to prevent greenwashing, and that they could potentially enable states and companies to claim carbon neutrality on paper, by buying carbon credits with no real effectiveness, instead of actually reducing their own emissions.