Carbon finance and reforestation : a survey of African cases

Lagrange, Chantal V. M. (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis addresses the topic of carbon finance in the context of reforestation and avoided deforestation. The research is based on the Nhambita Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and Agro-forestry carbon offset project in North West Mozambique. The thesis raises important questions in terms of the relevance of carbon offset projects to human and biophysical realities in Africa. The research was conducted through the lens of ethnographic development and explores how carbon offset projects are received by recipient communities. What issues do such projects attempt to address? Are the targeted issues the „real‟ issues, as they are perceived by local populations in developing countries? Who do such projects benefit and who do they benefit the most? The thesis comprises two academic papers. The first paper is a synthesis article presenting a review of key issues with regards to the roll-out of improved cooking stoves (ICS) in the context of carbon offset projects, combined with a pre-feasibility study on the introduction of ICS in the Nhambita village. It shows how biomass will continue to play a dominant role in addressing Southern African energy needs and how a large scale dissemination of ICS could play a seminal role in alleviating pressure on threatened ecosystems. The paper, however, recognizes that ICS programmes are not a panacea and discusses the pitfalls of paradigms underlying stove-provision programmes to date. Based on a review of the pertinent literature and on the field work conducted in Mozambique, conclusions are drawn that environmental and health considerations do not constitute a sufficient „pull‟ factor from the end user‟s perspective. It appears that best channels to engage with the targeted users are economic and social rationales. This debate is of particular relevance to climate change policy but it also offers insights in terms of the acceptance of such programmes by the target communities. The second paper is related to the first in that it discusses the opportunities and challenges associated with the developmental ambitions of carbon offset projects. By virtue of the market systems that regulate them, such carbon offset projects imply an innovative developmental praxis, whereby project recipients become the owners and the sellers of a tangible good in the form of carbon credits. This innovative dimension is, however, thwarted by the fact that such projects stir welfare expectations from project participants. Such livelihood improvement expectations become the fertile ground for difficulties reminiscent of the weakness of traditional aid. The intricacies underpinning this new mechanism that combines land use changes with environmental conservation and livelihood benefits are debated in the context of private entrepreneurship and global markets. The analysis is anchored in a socioanthropological interpretation of climate change science and lays the emphasis on the risks and constraints of such projects, from the perspective of the target communities. The paper concludes by discussing the policy implications of these findings.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis behandel die onderwerp van koolstoffinansies binne die konteks van herbebossing en vermyde ontbossing. Die navorsing is gebaseer op die Nhambita Veminderde Emissies van Ontbossing en Degradasie (REDD) en die agrobosbou koolstofkompensasieprojek in Noord-Wes Mosambiek Die tesis opper belangrike vrae ingevolge die relevansie van koolstofverminderingsprojekte vir die menslike en biofisiese realiteite van Afrika. Watter kwessies probeer sulke projekte aanspreek? Is die geteikende kwessies die „ware‟ kwessies, soos hulle gesien word deur plaaslike bevolkings in ontwikkelende lande? Wie trek voordeel uit sulke projekte en wie trek die meeste voordeel daaruit? Die tesis behels twee akademiese verhandelings. Die eerste verhandeling is „n sinteseartikel wat „n oorsig bied van sleutelkwessies ten opsigte van die uitrol van verbeterde kookstowe (VKS) binne die konteks van koolstofverminderingsprojekte, gekombineer met „n vooruitvoerbaarheidstudie oor die bekendstelling van VKS in die Nhambita-dorpie. Dit dui aan hoe biomassa sal voortgaan om „n dominante rol te vervul in die aanspreek van energiebehoeftes in Afrika en hoe die onderliggende paradigmas van vorige stoofvoorsieningsprogramme heroorweeg moet word om tot die debat by te dra. Hierdie benadering erken die belangrikheid van hierdie hernubare energiebron, terwyl dit die ekologiese implikasies van die swaar steun op biomassa besef, veral in Suider Afrika. Gebaseer op 'n oorsig van gepaste literatuur sowel as die veldwerk gedoen in Mosambiek, word die gevolgtrekking gemaak dat omgewings- en gesondheidsoorwegings nie genoeg stukrag verleen vanuit die eindgebruiker se perspektief nie. Die beste kanale om by die teikengebruikers betrokke te raak, is ekonomiese en sosiale rasionale. Hierdie debat is van besondere betekenis vir die klimaatsveranderingsbeleid maar word ook fyn bestudeer ten opsigte van die aanvaarding van sodanige programme deur die teikengemeenskappe. Die tweede verhandeling is verwant aan die eerste in die opsig dat dit die geleenthede en uitdagings bespreek wat verband hou met die ontwikkelingsbehoeftes van koolstofverminderingsprojekte. Uit hoofde van die markstelsel wat hulle reguleer, impliseer sulke koolstofverminderingsprojekte „n innoverende ontwikkelingspraktyk, waarvolgens projekontvangers die verkopers word van „n tasbare voordeel in die vorm van koolstofkrediete. Hierdie innoverende dimensie word gedwarsboom deur „n tradisionele benadering tot ontwikkeling wat ontstaan uit die welvaartverwagtings van projekdeelnemers. Sodanige bestaansverbeteringverwagtings word die teelaarde van probleme kenmerkend van die swakheid van tradisionele bystand. Die ingewikkeldhede van hierdie nuwe meganisme, wat landgebruikveranderings kombineer met omgewingsbewaring, asook die bestaansvoordele word gedebatteer binne die konteks van privaat entrepreneurskap en wêreldmarkte. Die ontleding is geanker in „n sosio-antropologiese interpretasie van klimaatsveranderingwetenskap en benadruk die risiko‟s en beperkings van sulke projekte, vanuit die perspektief van die teikengemeenskappe.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5295