Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Africa: Insecurity may hamper benefits of carbon trading

The recent opening of a police post at the Kinale forest by Kenyan vice president Kalonzo Musyoka to help curb insecurity on the Naivasha – Nairobi highway at Kiambaa region is a clear indication of negative effects afforestation as a means of carbon trading.

The World Bank sees carbon trading as a major revenue benefit for Africa which only produces 1% of world’s CO2 against major countries like USA which produces 25%. This has seen many African countries like Kenyan president and PM encouraging their citizens to start the lucrative trade.

According to experts currently there are 48,000 Kenyans already on the carbon trade in already three approved projects with 17 projects still in the pipeline. Stephen Ndibo an expert at KPMG on an interview with KTN observes that when the major water towers are restored Kenya can gain up to 10 billion yearly with Mau tower able to gain 4 billion.

This will be a welcome if you consider that the west capitalistic tendency is leading to carbon race where the negative climate change effect like famine, floods and poor weather patterns affecting Africa more.

Though lucrative the poor side of insecurity can be a thorn in the flesh like the recent killing and dumping of corpse in Kinale forest is just a tip of an iceberg.

On my frequent travel on Maseno-Nairobi I pass the expense Mau forest and laud the conservation effort but can’t cease to wonder how the inhabited area can be a haven of bandits and carjackers with impunity. Like other hotspots with the same trend in Mayi Mahiu Narok, Ahero rice plains or Awendo sugarcane plantations!

This is if you consider it being inaccessible and uncontrollable crime hotspots like dumpsites, cemeteries, industrial areas, parks and plantation but with a more deep cover for hiding.

Try to see this trend in the light of Sabaot Lands Defense Forces which gave the government a headache using the forest of Mount Elgon, Uganda’s LRA in Virunga forest or the Mau Mau fight against colonial government in safe haven of Aberdare forest!  

As UN envisions a 10% forest cover for each country I see it as a 10% increase of more Kinale type insecurity making environmental policy makers to factor this ignored fact.

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