We would like to introduce you to the first real and scientifically monitored carbon offset initiative in Tanzania - we have simply called it "Carbon Tanzania".
The Founder of this initiative, Marc Baker, grew up in Tanzania and recently worked for UNDP on their Cross-Border Biodiversity Project throughout the Eastern Arc and Northern Montane forest reserves. His forestry background lends practical and scientific foundations the activities that Carbon Tanzania is promoting and overseeing. His colleague, Jo Anderson also worked on local tree planting and environmental education programmes in Kilimanjaro Region when he first moved to Tanzania in 1995. They have both made their homes and lives in Tanzania and are committed to ecologically sustainable initiatives that directly benefit local communities.
Although not a new concept, the activities relating to carbon emissions offsetting even now remain in the realm of theory rather than practice. The collapse of the initial European Emissions Trading Scheme showed governments and businesses alike that while the theory of heavy emitters paying to have carbon sequestered through remote tree planting projects or renewable energy programmes, the reality was that the credits were being traded but the revenue was rarely channelled to practical carbon sequestration projects in developing countries.
One of the biggest challenges for the people implementing these carbon credit trading schemes was that even while the trading systems were being put in place, the ways and means to measure carbon sequestration were barely developed or agreed upon. This is a scientific challenge that has gradually been met over the last 10 years, and now we have enough information to understand under which circumstances carbon, as carbon dioxide, is best physically taken out of the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocols allocate carbon credits only to regenerative schemes such as forest re-planting or woodlot development, while the parallel Clean Development Mechanism which was initiated under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) allows for a much broader range of carbon offsetting, including natural habitat regeneration, local forest management schemes and alternative energy projects.
Carbon Tanzania is dedicated and committed to fostering a scientific and well-grounded approach to carbon sequestration and emissions reduction. If this is going to happen in reality, we need to be sure that the rhetoric of climate change mitigation is backed up by real activities in carefully selected areas with long-term, quantifiable outputs and results.
We currently have two main areas of operation. The first is a village managed forest regeneration and habitat management project on Monduli Mountain in Arusha Region, northern Tanzania. The second initiative is supporting a 5-site village forest management pilot scheme in partnership with the University or Dar es Salaam. This scheme has trained village forest scouts to use handheld computers to monitor scientifically the amount of carbon sequestered per year in designated areas of forest or various types around Tanzania. This monitoring and reporting model will be applied to the Monduli Forest area as well, so that each year we will have an accurate measure of the number of tons of carbon sequestered. This can be set against the funds committed to each area and our donors will receive reports of how their donations have been disbursed.
Future planned initiatives will include bio-briquette marketing and delivery to communities to reduce reliance on locally sourced wood fuel and charcoal for cooking, as well as locally appropriate alternative power generation, such as wind power for village water-pumping projects and solar array investment for off-grid communities.
Please use our website as a primary resource for learning more about how you can link into Carbon Tanzania as a way to mitigate your own individual or company carbon emissions. And feel free to contact either of us directly for more information or clarification.
Yours with best wishes,