Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kyoto Carbon Trade: "Discredited strategy"

I've referred to the "Eurochumps" who send their money to China and India rather than doing the hard work in their own countries. I'm going to have to come up with a term for the Americans. The latest iteration of Lieberman-Warner has the same scam embedded into it, although the smart money tells me the bill is dead and will have to come back in 2009. Next week I'll go over some of the reasons that the CDM approach is stupid policy.

From the Guardian:

Increasing allegations of corruption and profiteering are raising serious questions about the UN-run carbon trading mechanism aimed at cutting pollution and rewarding clean technologies

The world's biggest carbon offset market, the Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism (CDM), is run by the UN, administered by the World Bank, and is intended to reduce emissions by rewarding developing countries that invest in clean technologies. In fact, evidence is accumulating that it is increasing greenhouse gas emissions behind the guise of promoting sustainable development. The misguided mechanism is handing out billions of dollars to chemical, coal and oil corporations and the developers of destructive dams - in many cases for projects they would have built anyway.

According to David Victor, a leading carbon trading analyst at Stanford University in the US, as many as two-thirds of the supposed "emission reduction" credits being produced by the CDM from projects in developing countries are not backed by real reductions in pollution. Those pollution cuts that have been generated by the CDM, he argues, have often been achieved at a stunningly high cost: billions of pounds could have been saved by cutting the emissions through international funds, rather than through the CDM's supposedly efficient market mechanism.

And when a CDM credit does represent an "emission reduction", there is no global benefit because offsetting is a "zero sum" game. If a Chinese mine cuts its methane emissions under the CDM, there will be no global climate benefit because the polluter that buys the offset avoids the obligation to reduce its own emissions....MORE