Novel project to offset COP17 emissions

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Monday, December 12, 2011

The local carbon footprint of COP17 (excluding international flights) has been estimated at 15 000 tonnes CO2e. In order to host a carbon neutral event, eThekwini Municipality has demonstrated a novel method of carbon offsetting by providing an opportunity for delegates to voluntarily offset their emissions through the restoration of a local catchment.

The Community Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (CEBA) initiative focuses on the link between ecosystems and communities and involves local communities in the restoration of natural ecosystems. The CEBA initiative provides the opportunity for both climate change mitigation and adaptation to be addressed. CEBA is a joint initiative between eThekwini Municipality and the Wildlands Conservation Trust.

For the COP17 event, delegates could purchase a CEBA credit for R100. This would then pay for the labour of a local community member to work for one day contributing to ecosystem restoration in the uMbilo river catchment. This specific project aims to remove alien plants, plant indigenous trees and restore wetlands and grasslands in the catchment system. Through the restoration of this ecosystem, communities will be able to adapt to climate change more effectively and carbon emissions will be offset through the planting of trees. International delegates were asked to purchase two CEBA credits and local delegates one CEBA credit.

Wildlands Conservation Trust and eThekwini Municipality plan to extend this model to other catchments.

Amanda Botes