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Climate change: AI tool to harmonise global carbon trade

As the debate on whether large carbon emitters should be compelled to take responsibility and remit carbon offset payments to non-emitters continues to gather momentum across the globe, techies are taking the deliberation a notch higher by researching workable solutions. During the launch of this year’s edition of the Kenya Innovation Week, Commonwealth Secretary-General (SG) Patricia Scotland told the gathering that included President William Ruto that Planet Lab, a member of a consortium drawn from tech giants in the Silicon Valley and from the Commonwealth, was working on an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tool that would enable the accurate measuring of amounts of carbon stored in each tree for easier calculation of amounts payable in carbon trading. “Every tree is a money generator due to its carbon storage capacity.

The new technology means measuring the carbon amount stored in each tree is possible,” stated Ms Scotland. “One of our consortium members, Planet Lab, is experimenting with this idea for carbon trading to achieve net-zero goals. This means that we will move from guesstimates to accurate estimates so that when you tell others to pay carbon offset fees, you’ll now be able to know how much they should pay.” In her address, the SG further committed to supporting the effort during this week’s COP28 meeting in Dubai, by launching a new programme for the Commonwealth dubbed the Geospatial Expertise Networking and Innovations for United Climate Solutions (Commonwealth Genius) aimed at helping leverage AI and geospatial technology as implementation tools to accelerate established commonwealth initiatives.

The revelation, coming at a time when President Ruto has intensified efforts to increase the country’s forest cover promises to boost Kenya’s revenues. The Dr Ruto-led administration has set an ambitious target to increase Kenya’s tree cover to 28 percent up from the current 8.8 percent by 2030, as part of efforts to curb the country’s exposure to climate change hazards. To that effect, the government targets to grow at least 15 billion trees on 11 million hectares of land across the country to offset lost trees in a plot that is in line with the country’s Vision 2030 blueprint which aims at moving Kenya to a middle-income nation.