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Climate Justice Now!
| CDM implementation violates spirit of Kyoto, says Costa Rica |
by Jim Vallette

Delegates from several developing countries expressed disenchantment with the Climate Convention's Clean Development Mechanism. The CDM, they noted, initially came into creation with the promise of leap-frogging developing countries' energy sectors into sustainable, renewable, dynamos.

"The original purpose of the CDM has not been realized," lamented the delegate representing Costa Rica.

This dialogue took place during the second day of this two-week conference. Agenda item 6 on the development and transfer of technologies provoked discussion on the CDM's track record to date. Many parties (national governments) to the convention expressed dismay with a variety
of issues related to methodologies, transparency, and most significantly, development impacts.

The CDM emerged from the desire to stop fuelling economic development with conventional fossil fuels, noted the Costa Rica delegate. The CDM was a way to "alter development pathways," he said.

Instead, it is focused upon projects that are hardly make a development impact. The CDM is dominated by projects like capturing methane from landfills, and transforming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) plants into hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) factories. (HFCs have a greater global warming radiative effect, but less of a ozone depletion effect, than HCFCs. CDM projects of this nature may help curtail greenhouse gas emissions, while simultaneously reversing gains made through the Montreal Protocol on the ozone layer).

"The number of HFC and methane projects is limited worldwide," said the Costa Rica delegate, who predicted, "The CDM will practically end without leading to energy-related actions like renewables. The international climate change regime, the Kyoto Protocol, relies on the CDM to steer investment in energy flows to facilitate energy efficiency and renewables.

Argentina and Senegal's representatives agreed with Costa Rica's analysis, with Argentina saying "the lack of energy-related projects is a concern to our delegation as well. HFC/HCFC projects were not the idea behind the creation of the CDM."

Richard Worthington, representing the Climate Action Network, echoed these concerns. Projects like monoculture plantations, HFC/HCFC tranformations, and chemical process modifications, should not be considered under the CDM. He urged the CDM board "to avoid fuel switching projects being pushed by the World Bank and corporate interests." These kinds of projects "introduce a form of carbon blackmail, in which, for example, a company would be paid
not to switch to coal."

Also in today's plenary, the United States continued to take a pounding, finding little support for its initiatives. At one point, the U.S. delegation complained that "NGOs (non-governmental organizations) will have greater rights than sovereign states" that are not a party to the Kyoto Protocol. The Bush/Cheney administration is a staunch opponent of Kyoto, although it is a party to the Climate Convention that spawned the protocol.

The U.S. also protested an agenda item on cooperation between the Climate Convention and upcoming UN-affiliated meetings on small island states, global disasters, and follow-up to the Johannesburg sustainable development summit.

Delegates from Samoa, Tuvalu, Barbados, Cuba, St. Lucia and Panama took particular exception to this latest U.S. insult. The delegate from St. Lucia noted a local saying. "'Who feels it, knows it.' Climate change is undermining our way of life," he said.

Steve Sawyer, representing the Climate Action Network, said he was "puzzled why some developed countries fail to recognize their overwhelming moral obligation" to help small island states that are already impacted by climate change. "CAN urges all parties to accept their responsibilities, and to not be held hostage by one or two powerful parties."

Sawyer predicted that some time in future, the US will be forced to abide by Kyoto. "We are convinced that the US will rejoin the Kyoto Protocol eventually." Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Sawyer said, "At the end of the day, the U.S. will do the right thing, once it has exhausted all other possibilities."

by: ProfMKD @ 2:46 PM


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