US Enticed by EU to Buy International (Rip-)Offsets

The CDM:
The CDM: "Have a poisoned apple, US, it'll do the climate good"?
In the latest Point Carbon CMNA, Martin Bursik, the environmental minister of the Czech Republic (current holder of the six-month EU presidency), recently wooed US leaders with false promises about the Clean Development Mechanism.

Mr. Bursik said on March 17th that the US would be able to reduce its GHG output between 25 and 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 (the IPCC recommendation) by funding emission reduction projects in developing countries, i.e. via the CDM. This is inspite of clear indications that the CDM not only generates false carbon credits, which allow rich-country industries to continue polluting their air and destabilizing our climate, but also that many CDM projects have been shown to have major environmental and civil rights violations.

In addition, a miniscule amount of CDM projects are in the poorest regions that need financial support the most (i.e. Sub-Saharan Africa). Rather, the majority are located in China and involve hydro projects, despite China's thriving hydro industry, where CDM credits are only icing on the cake.

The Point Carbon article itself notes that "the CDM has faced intense criticism over the slow and bureaucratic process behind approving projects and the questionable environmental integrity of some projects."

While it's commendable that EU environmental ministers are holding US leaders to tough targets (as well as promoting further discussions with the other CO2 giants--Brazil, India, and China), let's not get hypocritical. Only when the CDM is either radically reformed or replaced with a funds-based approach to leap-frog technologies in the Global South will we be able to truly reach our global targets, stabilize our climate, and promote sustainable and prosperous development in the developing countries.