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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Kenya issued its proposed regulations for carbon markets and projects within the country. Among the most interesting sections of the proposal – with my comments – are the following:

4. These Regulations shall apply to—

(a)  principles governing trading in carbon markets;

(b)  participation in carbon markets;

(c)  environmental impact assessment relating to carbon markets projects;

(d)  social and environmental benefits relating to carbon markets; and

(e)  published whitelists of eligible technologies.

6.c. All carbon offset projects shall ensure that emissions are kept out of the atmosphere for a reasonable length of time in accordance with the relevant carbon standards. This indicates that permanence may be variable, depending on which “relevant carbon standard” is selected by the project developer.

21. (1) A carbon market project shall be subject to certification of known international standards and validation by a reliable and independent auditor before it starts and verification of each result in accordance with the principles under Regulation 6. The proposed rule does not explain or define “validation” or “reliable and independent auditor.”

27. The annual social contribution to the community in public carbon market projects on public land shall be 25%.

28. Any community carbon market project shall … provide for annual social contributions of at least 40% of aggregate earnings of the previous year for land-based projects. There is no explanation or definition of “land-based projects”.

29. A private entity carbon market project on private land shall not be required to disburse the annual social contributions. This is a loophole to be exploited by project developers.

34. At least 25% of the aggregate earnings of the previous year for non-land based Carbon Market Projects in public and community carbon projects shall be paid into the consolidated fund to be used for sustainable development. At least 15% of the aggregate earnings of the previous year for land based carbon market projects on public land shall be paid into the consolidated fund and used for sustainable development. There is no explanation or definition of “non-land based projects”.

Given the size of Africa and its carbon project potential, more countries on the continent are certain to develop similar regulations. Africa will eventually play a major role in the global carbon market, especially when project developers and investors get comfortable with the inherent political and regulatory risks. It would be prudent to monitor these regulations, along with Zimbabwe’s new carbon revenue policies.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile