French President H.E Emmanuel Macron says France will assist Papua New Guinea in its fight to reduce carbon emission in the region.

He made this statement during a Q&A session with the students of Sogeri School of Excellence at the Varirata National Park in Central Province on Friday (28/07/23).

When asked how France plans to help PNG in its effort to preserve its net carbon (negative) footprint while helping to promote sustainable economic development, President Macron said that is exactly the goal of the strategy and partnership both countries currently have.

He told students that the strategy is aimed at preserving the rainforests and also to partner in this cause.

“This is because you may have activities in PNG and some of these activities could have a net of zero impact on your carbon production.”

One of the activities is the gas project currently being facilitated by a French Company, TotalEnergies Limited.

“This is a very important project because it will create values and job opportunities for your country,” he told the students.

However, President Macron said the project is made smart and even better for the climate for two reasons.

“First, the gas will be utilized to reduce the use of coal. Gas is much better for the climate because this is a transition energy toward renewables and nuclear.

“And off course it has zero carbon emission.”

He added that one of the key issues of the region is to get rid of coal. Therefore, the gas production in PNG will be a good constitute to the use of coal in South-East Asia.

“Second, TotalEnergies will help in a reforestation project.”

He said TotalEnergies will initiate and fund a mangrove program, which is good for carbon capture and to offset the emission.

Moreover, PNG is advantaged by having the existing forests and rainforests, the President said.

“In PNG, you have something like 8% of the global biodiversity and it has a huge capacity to capture carbon.

” Also, PNG has a huge reserve and storage of what we call ‘irrecuperable carbon’. This means, if you destroy your forests, you will release this irrecuperable carbon and this will be a disaster,” the President said.

He told students to refrain from exploiting their forests but start creating value, right balance and fair approach to preserving the rainforests because it is good for the planet.