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`Coconut as carbon sink' campaign gaining wider acceptance

Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram , Aug. 11

THE Asia-Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) has extended its support for a proposal seeking to get coconut declared eligible as `carbon sink' during the second commitment period of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol.

According to Dr P. Rethinam, Executive Director, APCC, this decision was taken at a meeting of the Permanent Panel on Coconut Technology (Cocotech) held at Vanuatu recently.

The APCC has resolved to invite member country delegates (India being one) to draw the attention of their respective governments to the importance of the issue for the coconut industry.

They should in turn also suggest to the governments that country delegates to the next Conference of Parties (CoP) be allowed to argue their position as to why coconut needs to be treated on a par with other forestry plantations for being declared as eligible carbon sink. APCC will provide these delegates with supporting document.

It was also suggested that the coconut community should join efforts of counterparts representing other perennial crops and nursing similar ambitions in order that they collectively make themselves heard at the CoP.

Plants and trees "breathe in" and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. A single tree can absorb many tonnes of carbon dioxide in the course of its life, and a growing, healthy forest can absorb thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Farmers can also manage agricultural soils to store some of the carbon dioxide that plants absorb from atmosphere during the growing season as organic carbon, which does not return to the atmosphere. Forests and agricultural soils that absorb and store carbon dioxide are known as `carbon sinks' under the Kyoto Protocol.

Enhancing carbon sinks helps contribute to the mitigation of climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and offsetting a part of emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol allows countries that are burdened with emission reduction commitments to practice carbon sequestration by terrestrial sinks.

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