International Rivers' CDM Work Gets Gore's Attention

Monday, February 2, 2009

For Immediate Release

Former Vice President Al Gore told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at their hearing on climate change on January 28 that the Kyoto Protocol's carbon offsetting scheme, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), required "significant reforms." Gore was head of the US delegation that pushed for the creation of the CDM at the Kyoto talks in 1997. The CDM is by far world's biggest source of carbon offset certificates.

Gore made his comment in response to a statement from Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) highlighting the concern that most CDM projects may not actually reduce emissions.

The CDM allows countries or industries in industrialized countries to purchase carbon credits from projects in developing countries, instead of reducing emissions domestically. Climate change legislation previously introduced into Congress would have allowed US polluters to buy CDM offsets to help meet their pollution-reduction obligations. International Rivers and others, including Senators Corker and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), believe that CDM offsets should not be eligible to be used in a US cap-and-trade scheme.

International Rivers' research indicates that most CDM projects are non-additional - they would have been built regardless of receiving revenue from selling carbon credits and so do not reduce emissions. Our research, cited by Sen. Corker in the January 28 hearing, shows that three-quarters of CDM projects were already up and running at the time they were approved.

Patrick McCully, Executive Director of International Rivers said, "We urge Congress to lead the world on climate change by enacting strong domestic climate legislation that excludes offsets, thereby ensuring true emission reductions."

International Rivers

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Patrick McCully, +1 510 213 1441 (cell),

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