The Adoption of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December was truly historical. It was an important first step. It made possible the second step we are witnessing in the signing ceremony today. The proof of our resolve and commitment to making it all a reality hinges on the third step yet to be fulfilled; ratification and implementation of the Agreement.
The United Republic of Tanzania was among the first countries that submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on both adaptation and mitigation. It was a demonstration of our strong commitment to fulfil our obligations under the Convention and the Paris Agreement.
As a country, Tanzania is conscious that our fate and prosperity are inextricably linked to the effects of climate change. This is the essence of our INDCs on our adaptation and mitigation strategies. We will take a climate resilient development pathway intended to address climate related disasters and significantly reduce the impacts of climate change to our productive sectors and ecosystems.
We recognize the need to ensure economic growth that is sustainable, and less emitting in keeping with our National Vision to become a middle-income country by 2025. We have therefore focused our mitigation contributions on the following areas:
With 48.1 million ha of woodland and forests, of which 28 million ha (33 per cent) are under legal protection, Tanzania has a carbon stock of over 9 trillion tonnes and sequesters over 76 million tones of carbon dioxide despite emitting less than 50 million tonnes annually: It is a remarkable contribution we are committed to sustain and increase.
We have resolved to make significant investments in natural gas to facilitate fuel switching by various end users to energy sources that are readily available and less emitting. To date, we are using over 140 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day to produce over 690 MW of electricity. This contributes more than 2.2 million tones annually towards the global efforts to address climate change.
In addition, with over 57 trillion cubic feet already discovered, we hold considerable natural gas reserves whose future exploitation require financial and technological support and will contribute to further carbon reduction.
While we acknowledge the reality of climate change, we are mindful that the question of equity is crucial. Climate change affects us all, but it does not affect us all equally. Those who are least able to cope are most affected due to limited financial, technological as well as institutional and infrastructural capacities.
Those who have done the least to cause the problem bear the most severe consequences. In this regard, we are duty bound to right off this unfairness, and protect the most vulnerable. The Agreement we have signed today has made clear provisions for this consideration and deserves to be respected in full.
In Tanzania we have a national consensus and the necessary political will. We will seek and invite cooperation and partnerships. We will strive to access, acquire and deploy appropriate technologies for adaptation and mitigation in furtherance of a climate resilient, low carbon emission growth.
Finally, following our signature today we will begin our ratification process. We have a Government and a Parliament that is keen to see our Country playing its vital role in adapting to the negative impact of climate change and participating effectively in the global mitigation efforts.
I thank you.