Minister of Economic Affairs, the Hon. Michael Halkitis, said given the expected dependability of Bahamian Blue Carbon Credits and the expected increase in demand as countries and companies seek to offset their carbon emissions to hit their goals for achieving net zero, the Bahamas can anticipate receiving “healthy” prices for such assets.

Projections of potential revenues, according to Minister Halkitis, could be looking at a windfall of around $900 million a year. Some long-term estimates, he added, suggest that there could be a profit generated of some $60 billion by 2050.

Minister Halkitis threw out such figures for possible carbon credits the Bahamas can receive during his address to attendees of the Forum for Impact Americas, day two session, on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at the Garden of the Groves in Grand Bahama.

Speaking about the Blue Economy in the Caribbean, the Minister noted that as the world recognised the vital role plants play in absorbing carbon from the atmosphere — and the economic implications of this function –- The Bahamas has led the discussion in recognising the role seagrass meadows play in absorbing carbon.

As such, he said his government commissioned research on 10 seagrass meadows in Bahamian waters to determine the density of organic carbon found within the seagrass and surrounding sediment. That research revealed averages of about 67 to 93,000 square kilometres of seagrass, the largest seagrass meadows in the world.

“Once the research is completed and verified, we will begin the process of evaluating and putting a price to our carbon absorbing capacity,” said Minister Halkitis.

“This value will be represented by Blue Carbon Credits we can then monetize. Based on our current pace, we could be in position to monetize by the end of next year.”

Those potential revenues he said could average around $900 million. However, Minister Halkitis said he wanted to be conservative in throwing out such figures, because there is the tendency to misconstrue those numbers.  

“The market is still being developed, so we are very, very cautious…cautiously optimistic, but also very conservative in our projections.  But the projections for potential revenue are very encouraging.”

The concept of having the Bahamas seek out the possibility of receiving Blue Carbon Credits is something which Minister Halkitis said his government pursued shortly after taking office. He pointed out that the entire process was brought about through a Public-Private Partnership – with 49% of the executing entity owned by The Bahamas.

“It is envisioned that proceeds will belong to the National Investment Fund, which will fund Family Island development, climate resilient infrastructure, renewable energy, and food security initiatives,” said Minister Halkitis.

“To paraphrase all of this, let’s just say Blue Carbon Credits are a big deal. Once fully realised, we are looking at a major revenue source that will make our economy stronger and more resilient through investments in key areas.

“Our ability to become more climate resilient will define our future.”

Minister Halkitis thanked the organizers of Forum for Impact for facilitating the discussions, adding that the dialogue fostered allows the government and those friendly towards the environment to highlight how The Bahamas can positively impact the world.

“It also allows us to exchange knowledge, learn from each other, and gain inspiration to continue on our mission to make the world a better place.”

By ANDREW COAKLEY/Bahamas Information Services

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