Liberia will hand over a full tenth of its land — about 2.47 million acres — to a private company from the United Arab Emirates that plans to preserve and market it for use as carbon credits, French newspaper Le Monde reported.
The land may be used to help the oil-rich gulf nation fall in line with United Nations environmental goals — and to sell climate credits to other nations — even as the UAE forges ahead with burning more fossil fuels and new drilling projects as OPEC’s third-largest oil producer.
Blue Carbon LLC, a company created less than a year ago by the Emirati ruling family’s Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoumhas, is also negotiated with Zambia and Tanzania over land rights.
Critics are concerned that the negotiations were done in secret and that nine territories would be affected by the deal, which is set to be signed in the coming days.
The leftist Liberian People’s Party has called on the government to halt negotiations until communities are notified, informed of the social and economic costs, and given a chance to respond. It said it believes the contract is illegal, citing a forestry law that bans the government from giving away more than 988,000 acres in a single contract.
Blue Carbon was set up in October 2022 to develop “nature-based solutions” to help reduce the effects of climate change. The firm said it would invest in both “green carbon,” including forest vegetation and soil, and in “blue” investments, such as mangroves, which provide up to five times more carbon than inland forests.
Opponents say that in its current form, the deal only gives 10% royalties from carbon credit purchases to the Liberian government — and only 30% of profits made off of the land after factoring in the cost of forest preservation and offset projects.
The UAE is also the controversial host of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP), a global climate summit that will take place this fall.
Liberia has among the largest spread of forest cover and biodiversity left in West Africa, making it a hotspot for climate-focused investments. About a third of Liberia’s population lives in a forested area. Source: themessenger.com