Guyana engages airlines in groundbreaking carbon credit initiative

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In a pioneering move for climate change mitigation, Guyana is actively engaging airlines in the sale of its recently issued high-quality carbon credits through the groundbreaking UN-backed initiative called CORSIA.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali recently announced that the country has commenced commercial discussions and engagements with airlines, positioning itself as a key player in the burgeoning carbon market.

The Significance of Guyana’s Carbon Credits

Guyana recently made history by becoming the first country to implement a Paris Agreement corresponding adjustment for ART TREES issued carbon credits. This adjustment allows for the authorisation of carbon units for use in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), a critical tool in the global effort to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint, fostering a more sustainable future for air travel.

Guyana has been issued a total of 7.4 million carbon credits by ART TREES. Some of the credits, at US$20 per tonne, has already been sold to Hess Corporation, and will eventually earn the country US$750 million. Airlines have about five million credits to but from the first credits issued to Guyana.

ART TREES stands for The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions Environmental Excellence Standard. It is a set of standards and processes designed to ensure that carbon credits generated from forest conservation and reforestation projects are high-quality, credible, and effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

REDD+: Stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, plus the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.” It is a framework created by the United Nations to combat climate change through forest conservation.

ART TREES aims to support efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, promote sustainable forest management, and enhance forest carbon stocks.

Forest conservation projects register under ART TREES and must follow strict guidelines to ensure their activities lead to genuine emission reductions.

Projects are regularly monitored, and their results are verified by independent third parties to ensure accuracy and transparency.

Once verified, projects receive carbon credits that can be sold in the carbon market. These credits represent a certain amount of CO2 emissions avoided or removed from the atmosphere.

ART TREES is therefore a robust standard for creating and verifying carbon credits from forest conservation projects, ensuring they contribute effectively to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Understanding CORSIA

CORSIA is a global initiative designed to mitigate the increase in total CO2 emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels. It is a crucial part of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) strategy to achieve carbon-neutral growth. Airlines are required to offset their carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits, fostering a market for emission reductions and removals. 

Importance for Airlines

Compliance with CORSIA is essential for airlines, not only as a regulatory requirement but also as a step towards sustainable operations. Airlines worldwide are under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint, and investing in carbon credits enables them to offset emissions that are currently unavoidable. This helps them meet international standards and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.

Guyana’s Role and Impact

President Ali emphasized the quality of the carbon credits issued to Guyana, highlighting their suitability for the aviation sector.

“These are high-quality credits that target the aviation sector,” he stated. “As you know, there are new standards required for the aviation sector, and they will have to get carbon credits offtake.”

By securing the world’s first Paris Agreement corresponding adjustment for ART TREES issued carbon credits, Guyana has set a global precedent. This achievement underscores the country’s robust environmental stewardship and strategic engagement in the international carbon market.

Future Prospects and Commercial Engagement

President Ali revealed that Guyana has already begun commercial discussions and engagements with airlines for the sale of its eligible carbon credits. “We have commenced commercial discussions and engagement with airlines for the sale of Guyana’s eligible carbon credits for that market,” he said.

This proactive approach not only opens up new economic opportunities for Guyana but also significantly contributes to global efforts to combat climate change. By engaging with airlines, Guyana ensures that its carbon credits play a vital role in helping the aviation sector meet its sustainability goals.

Guyana’s innovative step in the carbon credit market highlights the critical role of international cooperation and market-based mechanisms in addressing climate change. As airlines strive to comply with CORSIA and other emerging environmental standards, the availability of high-quality carbon credits from Guyana will be crucial. This development not only showcases Guyana’s leadership in environmental sustainability but also provides a viable path forward for the aviation sector’s transition to greener operations.

The main goal of CORSIA is to achieve carbon-neutral growth in the international aviation sector from 2020 onwards. This means that any increase in CO2 emissions from international flights should be offset by reducing emissions elsewhere.

Airlines must monitor and report their CO2 emissions from international flights.

Airlines are required to purchase carbon credits to offset any increase in emissions above 2020 levels.

These credits fund projects that reduce or remove CO2 from the atmosphere, such as Guyana which preserves the rainforest and sucks in harmful greenhouse gases.

The period 2024-26 is a continuation of the first phase of CORSIA.

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