ON THE WAY: PM says gov’t preparing carbon credits legislation

ON THE WAY: PM says gov’t preparing carbon credits legislation
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis

 NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Government is preparing to table legislation that will open the door to the country’s participation in the global carbon market, according to Prime Minister Philip Davis.

Davis was addressing the Seventh Ministerial Meeting of The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action.

He noted that Hurricane Dorian caused approximately $3.4 billion in loss and damages, adding that although The Bahamas did not emit the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change, it is reaping the damage nonetheless. 

“As a country on the front-line of climate change, we believe it is of the utmost importance to keep the global goal of 1.5⁰C within reach, as this is a critical threshold to ensure the survival of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries. An important tool for achieving this goal is the mobilization of climate finance to ensure that countries meet national mitigation and adaptation targets,” said Davis.

He said: “We recognize that carbon prices and markets are evolving quickly. Saleable, verified emission reductions or removal credits, or other carbon mitigation measures under the standards of the Paris Agreement, can be a key tool for addressing the climate finance gap and a catalyst for carbon action. 

Carbon prices impose a cost on emissions and therefore play a fundamental role in setting economic incentives for clean development and in transitioning to a decarbonized economy.”

The prime minister recently suggested The Bahamas’ efforts to extract value from carbon credits will supplant oil exploration and extraction as a potential multi-million dollar revenue source. Carbon credits were originally devised as a means to incentivize companies, and countries, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

According to Davis, a multilateral approach to addressing carbon pricing will be key, and it is crucial that there is fairness and equity in carbon pricing across various compliance and voluntary markets.  

“The price of emitting a ton of carbon in the Global North should not differ from the price in the Global South,” he continued.

“The war in Eastern Europe reminds us that addressing energy security should not come at the price of devaluing decarbonization efforts. The value of oil, gas, and coal cannot continue to increase in value without having an impact on the price of carbon credits. Unless carbon credits are valued correctly, it will have a major impact on our ability to keep the goal of 1.5 degrees within reach.”

According to Davis, SIDS must take steps to ensure our countries can profitably participate in global carbon market initiatives.

He said: “Multilateral efforts to pair our countries with countries that have had experience in placing carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism and other voluntary marketplaces, will be critical to our advancement in this emerging financing market. As our country prepares to table legislation that will allow our participation in the global carbon market, we are open to partnerships with other Small Island States and with countries who have advanced expertise in the carbon markets.”

Davis added: “The Bahamas is keen to be an innovator in this space and we believe that partnerships will aid in sending the right price signals for carbon credits and enhanced climate action.”