Guest Post by David Stephen
The United States and two philanthropic partners have announced a carbon offset plan “with the creation of an Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) intended to catalyze private capital to accelerate the clean energy transition in developing countries.
COP27: Effecting Carbon Offset by Solving the Global Food Crisis
The partnership will work towards launching the ETA as an innovative, independent initiative to drive private investment in comprehensive energy transition strategies that accelerate the deployment of renewable power and the retirement of fossil fuel assets in developing countries. The ETA is expected to operate through 2030, possibly extending to 2035.”
The approach is to enable developing countries to pivot from fossil fuels, to reduce emissions. This, as a carbon offset program, aligns with reforestation and forest initiatives in several nations around the world. One metric ton or one thousand kilograms of carbon dioxide costs just £3 to offset on average.
Reforestation is a necessity against climate change. Developing countries can grow massive amounts of trees as a part of the collective carbon sink. But how does this become sustainable and pay for itself, aside just external dependency?
Several developing countries are affected by the global food crisis. Solving it provides a channel towards carbon sequestration by reforestation for the rest of this decade and beyond.
Agricultural necessities include land, seeds, irrigation, fertilizers, farm machinery, pesticides and transport to market. These necessities vary in importance depending on the crop and location of the farmer. Many developing countries have farms away from their major cities, so transportation gets stuff to market. There are cases where farm produce is cheaper somewhere but more expensive elsewhere, signaling transport to be the problem.
Agricultural necessities can be subsidized to make food cheaper, but how does the subsidy pay for itself sustainably? Agricultural incentives for farmers and for those in rural communities can be bifurcated to benefit food security, water security and reforestation.
There can be what is called food security insurance, where people in a country buy then enter into a raffle draw, where they can win food items every week. Winners would get deliveries as in e-commerce for those with national and state or regional premiums. The profit from this insurance would be used to subsidize one or more agricultural necessity, for two or three crops of staple meals in the country.
Simply, there is an insurance program for food security where people buy, then enter into a raffle draw to win food items, in national and regional sets. Profits from this insurance would be used to subsidize agricultural necessities for crops of some staple meals in the country.
Selected necessity may depend on several factors, including which ones would benefit reforestation as well as sustainable agriculture. Water provision for example, can solve water security, by providing clean water to communities, as well as find usefulness for irrigation for farming and for tree planting.
Other necessities like fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, farm machinery and transport to market can be evaluated for selected based on how appropriate they are to discounts for the crops.
The insurance holders would be the first to have access to buy the cheap produce, by a digital determination of insurance. Winning or not in the raffle guarantees cheap food, with this insurance program, as a general food security in one or two crops in that country.
Developing countries can be provided cheaper farm equipment, fertilizers, groundwater drilling machines, pesticides, transport forms, as a way toward subsidies for their food security. They can pay with profits from the food security insurance, but at a discounted price as part of carbon offset, for what would go into sustainable agriculture as well as for reforestation.
It is this intersection of global food crisis solution for developing countries and carbon offsetting for developed countries that holds immense promise, at present.
Some developing countries are in a debt crisis, as well as having hyperinflation. They could raise funds locally with this proposed insurance product for their food security, and not depend totally on external sources, whose contributions may vary.
Doing something, or having their moves would also encourage decision makers and electorate in many developed countries on what developing countries are already doing, rather than the appearance of a giveaway.
Developing countries working on this food security path can also work on a trade-currency model against their debt, liquidity and inflation crisis at the moment. One major country in a sub-continent can provide its currency as a loan to another, to use it to buy products from the lending country to sell in theirs. This would create demand in the lending economy, have a semblance of exports and provide the smaller country with supplies. It can also apply to sustainable agricultural programs.
The bigger country can hedge against risks by collecting some of the other countries currency, or having access to their reserves. It can be useful for some clean energy initiatives.
Climate change needs more action, but what might help are pair approaches, benefit current problems, then climate change.
David Stephen does research in theoretical neuroscience. He has a research experience in computer vision at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona. He was a visiting scholar in medical entomology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He blogs on troic.medium.com
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