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Gabon Steps Up to the Negotiating Table at COP26

Gabon is one of the few countries in the world that absorbs more CO2 than it emits, with a forest that spans most of the country. At COP26 in Glasgow this month, Gabon is chair of the African Group of Negotiators. Chairing the African negotiators is quite a detail-focused task. It’s really about coming up with a common position that protects the Paris Agreement. The reality is there’s not much time left to make changes. Every year we lose makes things worse, and every Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report we see seems to shorten the fuse by 10 years. Gabon plans to put $5bn of carbon credits on the market in the coming weeks.The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa, wedged within the borders of Senegal along the mouth of the Gambia river with a population of 2.4 million. Its carbon footprint is among the world’s smallest and comes mostly from agriculture and vehicle emissions. In total The Gambia’s footprint amounts to less than 0.01% of global annual emissions (the US is 14.5%). Still, the Gambian government is taking steps to decarbonize anyway—and it might be the only country on Earth where those steps are commensurate to its (admittedly tiny) contribution to the problem.