CDM: Changing Lives for the Worse

Hydro makes up nearly a third of CDM Projects
Hydro makes up nearly a third of CDM Projects
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat organized a "changing lives" photo contest to raise awareness of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).  Was the photo contest a last ditch effort to spruce up the CDM's image and deflect criticism?

The winners were announced on Monday at the UN Climate Change Conference here in Poznan.  The winning photos were of an urban housing energy upgrade project in South Africa, a wind farm project in Mongolia, and  bagasse cogeneration power projects in India and Brazil.  All very nice projects to support and beautiful images.

But it is funny how hydropower is not showcased, even though it represents 27% of CDM projects in the pipeline.  An example is the Allain Duhangan Dam in the Indian Himalayas, a 192 MW project. It was approved for CDM registration in May 2007, despite the fact that the the Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman of the World Bank verified that the project developer had not ensured enough irrigation and drinking water for affected villages. The project was also temporarily halted and fined for blatant violations of Indian forest conservation law due to illegal felling of trees, dumping of waste and road construction.  "Changing lives" is an appropriate description for the people affected by the project.

Unfortunately, their lives have been changed for the worse.