This Caribbean Country Is Carbon Negative But Still At Risk

suriname-president-cop-26
President of Suriname Chan Santokhi makes a national statement during day three of COP26 at SECC on November 2, 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. 2021 sees the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. (Photo by Adrian Dennis - Pool/Getty Images)
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: As the spotlight turned to COP 26 in Glasgow and the climate crisis, one of the world’s three Carbon negative countries globally is in the Caribbean.

Suriname is one of only three members of the prestigious group of nations. Suriname emits less carbon dioxide than it retrieves from the atmosphere and ranks at second on the list. The country has claimed a net-negative carbon economy since at least 2014. This is in large part because dense forests cover over 93% of the country. This annually absorbs 8.8 million tons of carbon, while providing annual emissions of 7 million tons of carbon.

However, it is being threatened by gold mining and logging companies.

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Paradoxically, Suriname is still very susceptible to climate change. Rising sea levels may damage or destroy its coastal ecosystems, including arable land, erode gross domestic product (GDP), and damage or destroy the homes of more than 80 per cent of the population.

Changes in rainfall patterns and rising temperatures may lead to an increase in health risks, a decrease in hydropower production, and a reduction in access to river pathways.

Suriname has a small population of just over half a million, and thus most infrastructure and economic activity is concentrated along its easily accessible Atlantic coast.

This coastal zone has already experienced extensive erosion and has suffered damage from heavy rainfall, flooding, higher temperatures during dry seasons and high winds; the types of natural phenomena (and in some cases disasters) which are expected to worsen with climate change.

For a country to be carbon neutral, it must absorb more greenhouse gases than it emits from human activities.

The other two countries that are carbon neutral in the world are Bhutan, in number one, and Panama in the third spot. Bhutan, a small, landlocked kingdom in Southern Asia, has managed to move beyond carbon neutrality and make itself carbon negative. In other words, it has managed to create a situation in which it offsets more CO2 emissions than it produces.