Suriname is carbon negative but needs a plan for a sustainable future

  • Suriname is one of only three carbon-negative countries (along with Butan and Panama)
  • Paradoxically the country is extremely vulnerable to climate change.

Suriname is one of only three carbon-negative countries (along with Butan and Panama)  in the world. This means that it is able to absorb more carbon dioxide than it emits. The country is also one of the most biodiverse countries in South America. For a country to get carbon negative status, the country has to have a negative carbon balance. The country has to be able to absorb more carbon dioxide than it emits.

Suriname is 93 per cent covered by forest, which acts as a massive carbon sink;  in other words, all those trees capture, or suck in, harmful carbon dioxide, and the country’s peat lands store up to 35 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. 

Suriname, paradoxically, is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Rising sea levels may harm or destroy its coastal ecosystems, including arable land, degrade GDP, and harm or destroy the dwellings of more than 80% of the people. It is predicted that sea levels would increase by 0.5 to 1.5 meters by 2050. This will have a big influence on Suriname’s economy.

Do the climate action plans of the world’s poorest countries account for the need for development? What about the need for sustainable development? It’s not an easy feat.

Countries are expected to meet these lofty aims collectively by establishing specific, individual or national goals known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs. These NDCs are an important aspect of the Paris Agreement and are reviewed and revised by the nations themselves every five years.

Suriname’s modified NDCs prioritize four main areas: forests, power, agriculture, and transportation. It is dedicated to preserving 93% forest cover, but believes “substantial international help is required for the long-term conservation of this unique resource.”

Main photo: By -JvL- from Netherlands – Flamingo’s in Bigi Pan, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69679740

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