Papua New Guinea is the second country in the region to partner up with the Australian government under a new Indo-Pacific carbon offsets scheme.
The agreement hopes to encourage the private sector to voluntarily buy credits for omitting greenhouse gases to compensate for its carbon footprint made elsewhere.
Fiji had earlier agreed to sign the memorandum of understanding during the UN Climate Change Conference currently held in Glasgow.
PNG minister for environment, conservation and climate change, Wera Mori, said the scheme that heralded a “significant bond” would enable partnering nations to generate high-integrity carbon offsets while also participating in an Indo-Pacific carbon market.
“The Pacific is the largest ocean area in the world and that it has become the agent of sinking carbon dioxide more than any other regions on planet earth,” he said.
“But unfortunately, this becomes so that we have suffered the consequences of the impact of climate change.
“Small-island communities are seeing small jetties and wharves that they depended on now being washed away. Overheating of our oceans, the greater Pacific.
“They’ve seen greater concentrations and over saturations of carbon dioxide that’s making our oceans becoming more acidic. We are losing our fish and tuna stock.
“That is the biggest challenge to the economies of the small-island nations of the Pacific, including Fiji and Papua New Guinea.”
The five-year program is aimed to support policy frameworks and recognise the substantial potential of the region’s significant forests, mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass ecosystems for carbon sequestration as a source for the offset credits.
PNG and Fiji are expected to play key roles in designing the scheme.
“One of the industries that we depend on, which has been the tourism industry, where visitors from all around the world would want to go and relax on the sandy beaches and the blue atolls of the Pacific (are) now are gone, beyond right in front of our noses because of sea-level rising,” Mr Mori said.
“In Papua New Guinea, we are looking at growing trees and mangroves to increase the capacity of our lungs.”
PNG hosts about 30 per cent of the balance of the world’s tropical rainforest.
Plans are afloat to implement measures to ensure the country also stops logging to “play out part to become a singular carbon dioxide”.
The government has also made amendments to its climate change management act.
“Despite the fact that we only emit a small amount of greenhouse gases, we’re sinking more than what we are emitting and, in fact, we made one of the very few countries that have met global 2050 in terms of carbon trading,” Mr Mori said.