Liberia to Benefit US$495M for "Oxygen Forest"

Tropical rainforests are often called the “lungs of the planet” because they generally draw in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.  

…Prof. Tarpeh discloses at a post-COP26 news conference 

The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), Wilson Tarpeh has disclosed that the country would benefit over US$495.5 million as a major producer of oxygen through its forest.

Prof. Tarpeh told a special news conference at the Ministry of Information on November 23, that the National Coordination Committee on Climate Change (NCCC) has committed to providing the funds to support the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

The decision by the NCCC, according to the EPA Boss, is because Liberia is the ‘third lung’ of the world, which suggests that Liberia’s forest has the capacity to absorb harmful gases, which are mostly produced by developed countries. 

Liberia’s Delegation to COP 26 was headed by President George Weah and comprised public, private, local non-governmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations, academia, youth, students, and the media. 

The conference preceded the hosting of the World Leaders Summit, with President Weah being among the first batch of world leaders making statements during the afternoon hours, which extended to the early evening hours. 

At the High Level Summit President Weah informed the gathering that climate change remained one of the greatest challenges facing the global community despite the Coronavirus pandemic, but offered to host a meeting on establishing an African Carbon Facility for the primary purpose of developing a framework that will benefit African Countries including Liberia in generating incentives for national development for keeping the forest resources in terms of carbon sequestration. 

COP26 was the first significant test of the 2015 Paris Agreement. When countries negotiated this, they agreed to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below two degrees Celcius (2 ℃) and pursue efforts not to exceed 1.5 ℃ above pre-industrial levels.

To keep themselves on track with meeting the agreement's goals, including staying within 1.5 ℃, they created a ratchet mechanism to encourage regular increases in national ambition and a focus on taking short-term action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

In addition, countries agreed to improve every five years by submitting national climate commitments, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), on reducing GHG emissions. 

Speaking further at the news conference, Prof. Tarpeh said Liberia has the capacity to absorb most of the world's carbon and convert it into oxygen, which will then protect the world from climate change.

According to him, the US$495.5 million could increase if Liberia adheres to its conditional part of the agreement in meeting the NDC. He disclosed that the Glasgow Climate Change Conference ended with the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact.

The Pact covers a series of decisions including an agreement to phasing down unabated coal power and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

It was also agreed that developed countries double their adaptation finance from 2019 levels by the year 2025; and that parties that have not yet communicated new or updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) do so before the next COP.  Prof. Tarpeh also said that the pact also establishes an annual high-level ministerial roundtable on pre-2030 ambition.