World Bank to buy carbon credit from Congo project

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank said on Tuesday it will buy 500,000 tons of carbon credits from a forest project replanting about 4,120 hectares destroyed by deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Replanting forests, which have been cut or burned, is central to the reduction in global greenhouse case emissions because they soak up vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

The World Bank said it had signed an Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement with Congolese firm Novacel, the first of its kind in the West African country.

It is part of efforts by the Washington-based poverty-fighting institution to address climate change caused by deforestation by compensating developing countries for greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The Bank said French carbon buyer Orbeo, a unit of French conglomerate Societe Generale, would also buy “a similar amount” of carbon credits from the Ibi Bateke Sink Plantation project, some 150 kilometers from the Congolese capital Kinshasa.

The World bank said replanting the land will trap an estimated 2.4 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years.

Revenues from the sale of the carbon credits will go toward developing health, education and agricultural projects in the local Bateke community.

It is the first project in DRC to benefit from global trade in emission reductions under the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) scheme, which allows firms in industrial countries to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries and in return receive carbon offsets as a cheap way to meet their climate change targets.

“We hope that this first initiative will lead to many more such projects, thus establishing a mechanism to finance sustainable development in DRC,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank country director for DRC.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Carol Bishopric