28 August 2010

EU demands new rules for controversial CDM gas projects

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Connie Hedegaard reveals EU is planning to take independent action to address concerns over integrity of UN offset scheme

The EU's top climate change official yesterday waded into the debate surrounding alleged loopholes in the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), arguing that the offsetting scheme needs a "major overhaul".

Connie Hedegaard, EU commissioner for climate action, issued a statement indicating the EU could introduce new rules for the bloc's emissions trading scheme (ETS) that would limit the use of CDM-approved credits issued by controversial projects that aim to curb HFC greenhouse gases.

Projects that curb HFC-23, a potent greenhouse gas, have been accused by environmental groups of "gaming" the system and deliberately increasing emissions of the gas in order to then cut emissions in return for UN-approved carbon credits.

The UN board responsible for the CDM is investigating the allegations and six HFC projects in China and India are being reassessed by UN officials.

Hedegaard said that reforms were urgently needed to tackle the problem. "The CDM has been successful in some aspects but has also given rise to criticism, eg with regard to environmental integrity," she said. "As a first step towards a more advanced carbon market the CDM therefore needs a major overhaul."

She added that the EU was preparing to act independently to stop potentially compromised carbon credits entering the ETS.

(BusinessGreen)

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