image: govt says ‘up yours’ to the public over environment policy direction
It is estimated that between 20% and 60% of CDM projects do not save additional CO2 this BBC article reports. This comes as the UK government is looking for the right to buy its way out of half its CO2 reduction targets, according to a leaked document.
European nations are currently expected to make around 70% of their carbon reductions on home turf, leaving 30% available for trade. Reducing that domestic obligation to 50% could allow an extra billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, according to WWF.
The dispute centres on the credibility of the system used for trading international carbon permits – the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – arranged under the Kyoto Protocol.
It allows rich countries to offset some of their emissions reductions by purchasing carbon credits which help developing countries get clean technology. In practice the CDM is under fire because some investors are obtaining credits for clean energy projects in countries like China and India that would have been built anyway, meaning that no CO2 is saved overall.
The leaked document (a so-called “non-paper”, discussed between government departments but not yet stated policy) argues:
“Environmentally it does not matter where emissions reductions take place. [The CDM] provides member states with a cost-effective means to meet their obligations and is an important flexibility mechanism.”
This proposal comes as countries around the world are tightening their belts and holding cash for essentials. In the UK at least that appears to signal that the poor investment record for renewables is about to get a whole lot worse.