Carbon offset plan to protect local mangroves

| 30/06/2021 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service
Photo by Protect Our Future

(CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands (NTCI) has partnered with Island Offsets, a newly formed non-profit organisation, to enable companies to offset their carbon footprint locally through the Trust’s Land Reserve Fund as part of a project to tackle climate change globally while protecting local mangroves. Local companies, offshore entities domiciled here and even international businesses are being offered a genuine way of greening their unavoidable emissions by contributing to the purchase of wetlands under threat from development. It also solidifies the concept that land can have economic value in the absence of development.

Catherine Childs, the Trust’s environmental programmes manager, is the founder of Island Offsets, which is a locally registered NPO that will co-ordinate the initiative. She told CNS that although this is a locally focused project to help conserve mangroves and wetlands in the Cayman Islands, it is open to anyone, from small businesses here in Cayman whose emissions are relatively small but who want to play their part in protecting the local environment, to offshore companies with a much larger carbon footprint across the world who can help meet global emission reduction targets.

“Attending international climate meetings opened my eyes to the value that our mangroves hold to the world and it seemed clear that carbon offsets could help us preserve our local natural areas for the benefit of the Cayman Islands, as well as the planet,” Childs said.

Mangroves are one of the best ecosystems in the world at carbon storage as they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it away for generations, so protecting them anywhere in the world has a positive global impact on slowing climate change. Mangrove ecosystems also provide critical natural habitats that are vital for the preservation of biodiversity, our islands’ natural beauty, and services for local communities, such as storm protection, rainfall creation and fish nurseries.

Childs explained that through this partnership, based on internationally recognised carbon prices, which currently stand at $40 per metric tonne of carbon, a small local business can offset their annual emissions for about $2,500.

“In the Cayman Islands, this won’t buy much land, but combined with contributions from other businesses and individuals, it can add up to make a real difference in protecting this critical ecosystem,” she told CNS. “And because an individual’s offset would be even smaller, everyone can afford to participate.”

Aureum RE, a Cayman based, privately held reinsurance company, is the first corporate partner to become involved in the project to offset their 2020 emissions.

“We are proud to partner with Island Offsets and the National Trust of the Cayman Islands to obtain carbon neutrality through the protection and preservation of the Islands’ mangrove ecosystem. We believe that preserving our mangroves is vital for the protection of critical habitats, the environment, and the impacts of climate change,” a spokesperson for the company said.

Offsets are only intended for emissions that cannot be reduced, Childs said. “The first priority is to reduce your carbon emissions as much as possible. But for those emissions that can’t be eliminated, carbon offsetting is a great tool that has a real positive impact,” she added.

The money generated by offsetting will go directly to the NTCI Land Reserve Fund for mangroves. The fund is then used to purchase areas that would otherwise have been deforested. Currently, the Trust has acquired and protects about 3,600 acres of land across all three islands through this fund, which is around 6% of land in the Cayman Islands. The goal is to reach a target of 11% to get the country to the international target of “30 by 30”, which is 30% of natural areas protected by 2030.

NTCI Chairman Olson Anderson described the partnership with Island Offset as a significant milestone in the fight against climate change for the Cayman Islands. “We are delighted to be able to offer our community this unique opportunity and we look forward to the positive impact this joint venture will have locally,” he added.

NTCI Executive Director Annick Jackman said that the benefits were twofold, in that they slow climate change while supporting the protection of precious environmental habitats across the Cayman Islands.

“The National Trust has been looking into the partnership for several years and I am excited to see that we have been able to formalize it and create a programme that shows that the Cayman Islands is serious about climate change resiliency and sustainability,” she said.

To purchase carbon offsets or find out more information, contact Catherine at 749-1124 or
environment@nationaltrust.org.ky.


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Category: Climate Change, Land Habitat, Science & Nature, Species Conservation

Comments (23)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Tree hugging pot smokers too high on the philosophical righteousness and buzz from their smoke to realize they are on an 8 mile by 20 mile postage stamp in the ocean. Taken to its non-logical conclusion Brazil is a country of potential carbon credit trillionaires, if only there was somebody to pay for it all. We can:

    -A- buy land for market prices
    -B- build affordable housing
    -C- stymie development and throw the economy into a massive recession
    -D- scare away investors with crazy environmental nutty talk.

    I’ll take and and especially B please. More roads, More development, less Mangroves. Save Little Cayman and your choice of Brazilian rainforest

  2. Elvis says:

    A survey woman asked if my car on footprint was large or small , i said small.
    She asked if she could come and see my place, i said sure, my kettles always on honey 😂😂😂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Fact: Mangroves and wetlands create lots of methane, a “leading greenhouse gas”.

    Fact: High Co2 levels are great for plant growth, in fact many of the pot growers use increased Co2 levels to get better yields. Up to 3000ppm (we live in roughly 420ppm)

    Envirowackos and continually conflicted by facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:32 what the hell have you been smoking. Sounds like someone needs to go back to high school biology class..

      • Anonymous says:

        If you don’t know this, you may want to double check your high school degree.

        This information is obvious to the brain dead.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, even too dumb to google.

      • Dogma is for dogs says:

        Sounds like they were never taught science period, however they might have excelled in studying in ancient scriptures.

    • Anonymous says:

      While it is true that decomposition processes do give off various climate forcing emissions, it is easily proven that wetland habitats (mangrove / swamp) actually work as effective ‘carbon sinks’ as much of the carbon literally sinks into the soil.

      In fact, it is the **disturbance** of that habitat – through clearing or similar – that leads to high emissions. These land-use change emissions would be what this scheme aims to avoid

  4. Vigilante says:

    The idea of carbon offsets might be sensible, but the reality seems quite complicated and not very effective in reducing fossil fuel usage. I see a lot of effort for very little reward – the plan basically says “keep burning gas and oil but pay some money to an environmentalist and your conscience will be clean.” The sentence in the article describes this initiative as “a genuine way of greening their unavoidable emissions by contributing to the purchase of wetlands under threat from development.” How about proving you have reduced all your avoidable emissions? How about precluding development of wetlands in the first place? How about [insert options]…?

    • Anonymous says:

      > How about precluding development of wetlands in the first place?

      That is a great idea. The only organisation that can implement that in a coercive manner here would be the Cayman Islands Government. Civil society, business, and third sector organisations are key in showing that such a move wouldn’t be objected to.

      It’s worth remembering that most charities would love to not have to exist – that would mean that the problem has been solved!

  5. Anonymous says:

    We can see where this is going in the next 5-10 years. Mandatory carbon tax for all producers of CO2, which is all of us that are actually breathing.
    The trouble is that the people that are making the laws are the same bastards that approve big business to make toxic, non-biodegradable products and we get the blame.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Island Offsets is not new. They have been pedaling that nonsense for years.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just one thing – is that 30% by 2030, 30% of the natural areas as they stand today or in 2030 because at our current rate of development achieving that goal in 2030 using the 2030 remaining natural areas will not be difficult at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      The article is slightly misworded regarding the ’30×30′ goals – it is 30% of “total land area” AND 30% of “total ocean”, so 30% of the planet!

      Despite marginal shifts from sea level rise and land reclamation, those global or national totals won’t change much by 2030.

  8. Anonymous says:

    BUNK!

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