CAIRO: Egypt wants to add new names to a UN-approved list of firms with certified carbon offset credits to trade and is offering soft loans and other incentives to encourage polluters to clean up, top environment officials said.
Egypt is only a small player in Kyoto Protocol s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that allows carbon savings from clean energy projects in developing states to be sold to buyers in rich nations seeking to meet mandatory emissions targets.
Mawaheb Abou El-Azm, chief executive of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, said she wanted to raise awareness of the scheme to encourage more firms to apply and is offering donor-backed loans to help firms meet environmental rules.
It would be passive to just tell polluting industries we ll shut you down if you don t improve your conditions … so we say it will cost you the following and we will provide you with technical assistance and a 20 percent soft loan, she told Reuters in an interview.
Egypt could be one of the countries worst hit by climate change. A UN study has said 8 million people could be displaced by a one meter rise in sea levels that would flood swathes of the Nile Delta on the Mediterranean coast.
Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2020. But it remains plagued by problems ranging from industrial pollution in the crowded capital to tourists diving and degrading Red Sea coral reefs.
Regulatory codes are getting stricter … The first one couldn t be that strict, because I would have had to shut down the entire country, said Abou El-Azm, referring to an initial set of environmental laws introduced in 1994.
She said her agency was now planning to open two branch offices in industrial zones in north and south Egypt to improve inspection and ensure rules are enforced.
A key aspect of the agency s efforts is promoting the trade in carbon emission cuts.
Four Egyptian firms were registered and now traded under the Clean Development Mechanism, projects involving about $200 million in investments, said El-Sayed Sabry, who heads the agency s Climate Change Unit.
A further eight firms were in the last stages of registration and an Egyptian oversight body would consider approving an application by four more firms, said Sabry.
In addition, 43 other firms and projects had been identified as potential candidates, some of them smaller ventures.
The certified carbon emission reductions of all projects approved or identified would amount to 8 million tons per year and would involve investments worth about $1.3 billion, he said.
One of the firms already registered for the UN scheme is a wind farm on the east Red Coast, while other possible applicants include projects turning solid waste to fertilizer and firms switching from oil to cleaner burning natural gas.