African forestry needs $100 carbon offsets to preserve and extend its carbon abatement potential, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, told US President Joe Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate April 22.
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Nature-based carbon offsets are currently trading between $4 and $6 per metric tonne CO2, representing a premium over CORSIA-eligible carbon (CEC) credits, assessed by S&P Global Platts at $2.05/mt CO2e April 22. CORSIA credits meet standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
"Achieving carbon neutrality will not be possible without taking into account the conservation and regeneration of forests, but the current price of forest carbon, at $5 per tonne, is neither fair nor realistic. A fair price for forest carbon that incorporates foregone opportunities should be at least $100 per tonne," Tshisekedi said.
Tshisekedi, who is also Chair of the African Union, said the DRC and its neighbors were working to protect two million square kilometers of tropical forest in the Congo Basin.
Broader than Alaska and spanning six African countries, the basin hosted the world's largest peat complex and held three years' worth of global emissions, he said.
"These forests are endangered by the illegal use of timber and raw materials. We can improve the lives of people living in these areas by combatting corrupt activities, implementing sustainable energy production and improving agricultural practices. I know from my discussion with President Biden and Vice President Harris that the US is willing to invest in this critical issue," he said.
The summit should accelerate access to additional finance and simplify procedures for least developed countries, the majority of which were in Africa, he said.
Carbon credits are generated by specific projects that avoid, reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions. They are typically verified and validated by a set of independent standards created by coalitions of NGOs and market participants over the last few decades.
The next UN Conference of the Parties (COP), hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November, 2021, is expected to formalize international trade in carbon credits under the Paris Agreement.