Chinese, SA firms help ‘green’ COP 17

9 December 2011

A Chinese investment company is to buy carbon credits from a Johannesburg brick factory registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s emissions trading scheme to offset the travel of over 750 UN-sponsored delegates to COP 17 in Durban, it was announced on Thursday.

The 398 secretariat staff and 369 supported delegates’ travel to and from the UN Climate Change Conference will generate an estimate 1 844 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Chinese donor Guangzhou Shengzhou Investment Limited Corporation has agreed to purchase certified emission reduction (CER) units originating from the Corobrik Lawley Fuel Switch Project in Johannesburg to offset these emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn CER credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialised countries to meet a part of their targets under the Protocol.

South Africa’s largest brickmaker

Corobrik, the largest supplier of bricks in South Africa – the company produces around 73-million bricks annually – converted its Lawley factory from a coal-fired to a natural gas-fired operation and implemented enhanced extrusion technology to further reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Corobrik registered its Lawley fuel-switch project with the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism Committee in 2005, and in 2008 became the first company in sub-Saharan Africa to be granted approval to trade carbon credits within the framework of the UN emissions trading scheme.

The agreement to buy Corobrik’s carbon credits was brokered by the South-South Global Assets and Technology Exchange and the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation in the UN Development Programme.

South-South cooperation, imagination

“This effort, which has brought together public sector agencies, a private sector partner and an emission reduction project incentivized by the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism, is an example of the kind of cooperation and imagination needed to tackle climate change,” Richard Kinley, deputy executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in Durban on Thursday.

Li Jun Feng, deputy director of the Energy Research Institute in the National Development and Reform Commission of China, said there were “many great opportunities for cooperation between China and South Africa in both CDM capacity-building and environmental technology transfer, particularly in wind and solar technologies.”

SAinfo reporter