Climate Change

No US Money for World Bank Coal Technology Fund

Thursday, February 12, 2009
The letter below, initiated by Friends of the Earth, US, and endorsed by numerous other organizations, was sent to relevant Congressional leaders. We are writing to urge you to ensure that no funds are appropriated for the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF) for FY09. The World Bank launched the CTF in July 2008, ostensibly to fund transformational, low carbon development in developing countries, targeting major greenhouse gas emitting nations. Global climate destabilization disproportionately harms the poor worldwide. Despite this, the World Bank has increased funding for fossil f

US President says Chinese Communist Party May Not Survive Dam Burst Scandal

No, Obama didn’t just wade into the controversy over whether the disastrous 2008 Sichuan earthquake was triggered by Zipingpu Dam. The headline above is based on a future scenario described in the US National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World.” The NIC imagines the US President writing in his diary on October 1, 2020 about a series of recent catastrophes caused by climate change. She (or maybe he) relates that 100,000 people “perished in the recent dam disaster” in China. The President believes that this may be “the straw that breaks the [Chines

Hydropower: Not As Clean as You Think

Hydropower is often touted at "clean energy." But how clean is it really? We explore the impacts of this often misunderstood energy source, in "Hydropower: Not As Clean As You Think."

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

Xiaoxi Dam, China

Xiaoxi Dam, Hunan Province, China
Xiaoxi Dam, Hunan Province, China Tina Lea This large dam epitomizes the abuse of carbon offsets and the many flaws in the Kyoto Protocol's offsetting scheme, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In this case, the dam has evicted from their homes poor farmers in Hunan Province, China, while allowing Germany to burn more coal and still meet its Kyoto commitments. The German power utility RWE, one of the biggest CO2 emitters in Europe, intends to buy CDM credits (or offsets) from the now infamous Xiaoxi Dam on the Zishui River so that it can continue to expand its coal-fired electricity gener

International Media Echo Our Criticisms of the CDM

Xiaoxi Dam, Hunan Province, China
Xiaoxi Dam, Hunan Province, China Tina Lea The international media is increasingly echoing our criticism of the Clean Development Mechanism's phony offsets. The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Huffington Post and Germany's Focus Online were among the many outlets that carried an Associated Press story this week about credits from bad hydro projects in China being bought by German utility RWE, one of the largest polluters in Europe. The credits allow RWE to meet their commitments under the EU's carbon trading scheme while opening new carbon-spewing coal plan

Tüv Süd Travelled with the Cops to a CDM Project

Mr Wu & Gustaf Klarin at Tongwan Hydropower Station, China, 2008
I recently met with the German DNA - a department of the German environment ministry that is responsible for all things related to the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism - to further discuss whether Xiaoxi, remember, the Chinese dam that has displaced 7,500 people, was indeed environmentally and socially benign and should therefore be allowed to sell carbon credits to German companies. The German DNA approved the project last year, based on an assessment by German company Tüv Süd. The Tüv Süd assessment says that the displaced people have not suffered any social or cult

The Crisis of the 21st Century is...Water Supply

That and sanitation (water supply's poor cousin for infrastructure and aid). Clearly climate change will continue to dominate the news. But my prediction for the new year (and those to follow) is that we'll be seeing a lot more water issues on the (web)page. International Rivers has covered water supply in the Himalayas, followed the water politics between nations like India and Pakistan, and tracked emergent water storage solutions (such as rainwater harvesting). News agencies worldwide are also picking up the stories as well, especially on how water relates to climate change, hea

Letter to the Ministers and Delegates of the UNFCC at Poznan

1Sky ♦ Ceres ♦ Clean Water Action ♦ Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministries,Presbyterian Church (USA) ♦ Earthjustice ♦ Environmental Defense Fund ♦ Environmental and Energy Study Institute ♦ Friends of the Earth U.S. ♦ ICLEI-Local ♦ Governments for Sustainability U.S.A. ♦ International Rivers ♦ KyotoUSA ♦ Natural Resources Defense Council ♦ National Wildlife Federation ♦ Pennsylvania Interfaith Climate Change Campaign ♦ Pew Environment Group ♦ Public Citizen ♦ Union of Concerned Scientists ♦ US Climate Action Network Ministers and DelegatesConference of the

Decisions on the CDM in Poznan

Cop 14 in Poznan, Poland
Cop 14 in Poznan, Poland I have just come from a meeting of the NGOs working on the CDM, as well as the big Climate Action Network daily meeting. The mood is bad, real bad. First on the CDM: as Payal reported earlier, all issues pertaining to the future of the CDM, where the real potential for a fundamental restructuring of the mechanism lies, have been postponed to next year. And for the current CDM, up to 2012, only governance issues were on the table. But still, changes on those governance issues would have made a difference. To have the validators (the DOEs in CDMtalk) be selected and


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