French oil and gas producer, TotalEnergies SE has announced that it will fund the planting of trees in Congo.
Gatekeepers News reports that as part of TotalEnergies SE’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, the French oil and gas producer has commenced planting 40 million trees for over 10 years in the Republic of Congo.
There has been increased pressure from governments and shareholders on fossil fuel companies to fight climate change. TotalEnergies and its European peers have listed net-zero plans that include investments in renewable energy and other low-carbon fuels, and also plans to develop natural carbon sinks such as forests to offset some of their emissions.
However, some of the initiatives backed by the oil companies have become controversial as many have continued to raise questions on whether they make unrealistic claims about the environmental benefits the projects deliver. This has necessitated governments around the world, which are currently participating in climate talks in Glasgow, to clarify rules about carbon offsets.
In a statement on Monday, TotalEnergies said the tree planting project is in partnership with Foret Ressources Management. The oil & gas producer revealed that it will plant a new forest on 40,000 hectares of land on the Bateke Plateaux, and care for it for 35 years.
TotalEnergies added that the initiative will absorb about 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year from the atmosphere over twenty years, equivalent to the annual emissions of an average European city of 70,000 inhabitants. The carbon credits will be certified in accordance with the Verified Carbon Standard.
The company noted that for the past eight months, tree nurseries in Congo have produced more than one million plants, which will be progressively planted from the next rainy season on 800 hectares of land.
TotalEnergies also revealed that it plans to spend $100 million a year building a portfolio of projects that would generate at least 5 million metric tons of carbon credits annually by 2030.
The company further noted that after 2030 the planted trees would be used to offset greenhouse gases from the company’s operations, known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions.