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Green Solution or Greenwashing? Zimbabwe Grants Land for Forest Conservation

Zimbabwe's environment minister has granted control of almost 20% of the country's land to Dubai-based company Blue Carbon. The company, led by an Emirati royal, aims to conserve forests across five African nations to prevent the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Blue Carbon plans to sell carbon credits generated from these conservation efforts to companies and governments as a way for them to offset their carbon emissions. These forest conservation deals were announced ahead of the United Nations COP28 climate summit, which the United Arab Emirates is hosting this week. Critics argue that these deals are merely a greenwashing tactic for the UAE to continue its reliance on fossil fuels.

Despite announcing plans to extract its last barrel of oil in 50 years, the UAE has not confirmed whether it will purchase the carbon credits from Blue Carbon. However, given the chairman's close ties to the UAE's ruling family, it is widely assumed that the credits will be sold to the country to offset its carbon footprint. These credits could also be sold to other oil-dependent nations and companies in the Gulf region and beyond. Blue Carbon has not disclosed the area size of its projects or the amount of financing provided, but the agreements are still in the initial stages.

Blue Carbon intends to present its deals at the COP28 summit in Dubai as a blueprint for carbon trading. The company believes carbon removal should be central to climate solutions, including from forests and oil and gas as they burn. However, climate advocates have criticized carbon removal as a way for companies to continue producing and burning fossil fuels while profiting from offsetting their emissions. Scientists also remain skeptical about the efficacy of carbon removal.



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