Saturday, June 02, 2007

Validity of Kyoto Carbon Savings Questioned

A report in the Guardian says that “The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is supposed to offset greenhouse gases emitted in the developed world by selling carbon credits from elsewhere, has been contaminated by gross incompetence, rule-breaking and possible fraud by companies in the developing world….” The CDM is one of the main ways being used by countries trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reach the targets set under the Kyoto Protocol. According to the Guardian report UN paperwork indicated the following:

Most of the concern is around the crucial CDM test of "additionality" - proof that a project is delivering cuts in greenhouse gases that would not otherwise have happened. In an unpublished report, one of the CDM board's expert advisers, Axel Michaelowa, examined all 52 Indian projects which had been registered up to May 2006 and found that a third of them failed this additionality test.
Mr Michaelowa found evidence of projects supplying false information which was then accepted by the companies who were supposed to check it. In one case cited in the report, he accuses an Indian company of making statements which were "blatantly false". Despite his protests, that scheme was approved.

There are enough obstacles to achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on a scale sufficient to prevent catastrophic climate change without integrity being a major problem. Add concerns about integrity of the process and hopes for success grow that much dimmer. Maybe the first step in solving the problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be figuring out a way to reduce human greed. Bring on the psychologists.

No comments: