When ecology related issues can benefit from trade operations

Germany’s Michael Otto Foundation ready to buy carbon offsets from Belarus, worth 3-5m Euros

By Olga Burmistrova

“We’re talking about quotas on wetland greenhouse gas emissions over an area of 30,000 hectares,” explains Victor Fenchuk, Director of APB-BirdLife Belarus Public Association.

At present, Belarus can’t sell greenhouse gas emission quotas under the Kyoto Protocol, but can trade them on the international voluntary market. Domestic scientists and ecologists have developed a method to measure the reduction of CO2 gas emissions, which could be applied at restoration of damaged wetlands (meeting international standards). A month ago, a procedure was completed to allow reduced greenhouse gas emissions to be calculated (from the restoration of peat bogs); these are now included on the list of carbon offsets which can be traded on the voluntary market.

According to experts, the country is ready to trade CO2 quotas, with major European businesses already showing interest in co-operation with Belarus in this area. Belarus can sell carbon offsets estimated at 50 million tonnes per year on the international market but needs to create a special fund to deal with this issue, finalising the necessary legal framework.
Belarus’ Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Anatoly Lis, notes that Belarus needs to develop a regulatory framework before beginning to trade in greenhouse gas emission quotas. Moreover, funds derived from the sale of carbon offsets can only be used for environmental purposes. “This is not a simple mechanism,” Mr. Lis asserts.

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