UAE Firm Strikes Controversial Deal for Zimbabwe's Land in Carbon Credit Scheme

UAE Firm Strikes Controversial Deal for Zimbabwe’s Land in Carbon Credit Scheme

Controversial Deal Carbon Credit Scheme

In a controversial move, a Zimbabwe- and Dubai-based firm has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Zimbabwe. This MOU will allocate a significant portion of Zimbabwe’s landmass for carbon credit production. The agreement has sparked concerns about transparency, environmental impact, and the potential misuse of carbon credits.

Blue Carbon – The Land Deal

The deal was officially announced in Harare on September 29, allowing Blue Carbon to gain control over an extensive 7.5 million hectares of Zimbabwean forest. This development follows a series of similar, controversial MOUs between Blue Carbon and other African countries. One such deal with Liberia involved conceding 10 percent of Liberia’s territory to the company, potentially breaching several land laws.

Financial Implications

Chairman of Blue Carbon, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of the UAE royal family, has mentioned that the deal could channel approximately $1.5 billion in climate finance to Zimbabwe. It’s important to note that Blue Carbon, founded just a year ago, needs a track record in managing carbon offset projects.

Concerns of Greenwashing

Environmental activists have raised concerns about the potential for “greenwashing” associated with deals involving Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum due to his connections with the oil and gas industry. There is apprehension that the harvested credits could be used to offset the UAE’s emissions.

Details and terms of the contracts remain veiled in secrecy, similar to the previous MOU with Liberia. This lack of transparency has led to doubts about the fairness of land valuation and whether it aligns with the offered amount.

A significant portion of the land allocated in this MOU encompasses existing nature reserves, raising concerns about the environmental impact of this agreement.

While Blue Carbon claims to adhere to REDD+ standards for emissions reduction, the concept of “additionality” poses questions about the project’s actual climate benefits. With mounting scientific evidence challenging the efficacy of carbon credits, there is a growing concern that such deals may inadvertently enable developed countries to increase their carbon emissions.

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