UN Climate Conference: NGOs Demand an End to Loopholes

Ann-Kathrin Schneider
Thursday, November 27, 2008

Joint Press Release

Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (Environment and Development) and International Rivers


The UN climate conference begins on December 1st in Poznan to set the course for the post-2012 climate agreement. International Rivers and the Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung demand meaningful emission reduction goals, as well as corrections to the Kyoto Protocol from decision-makers. One of the most serious loopholes is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Power plant operators in industrialized countries can offset their emissions with questionable projects in developing countries.

Most of the CDM projects, such as the dams co-financed by RWE in China, do not contribute to global emission reductions, since they would have been built in any case.

"Three-quarters of projects were already up and running at the time they were approved by the CDM and almost 40% of all projects are in China. The CDM doesn't ensure that poor countries can install windmills, rather it supports established industries in emerging economies, such as China," according to Barbara Haya from International Rivers.

Jürgen Maier of Forum Umwelt and Entwicklung emphasizes, "the Kyoto Protocol has outgrown its baby shoes. Post-2012, we need to reduce our emissions at home and assist the poor countries with financing to shift away from carbon-intensive energy sources. The CDM, in its present form, delays the shift toward decarbonization in the North and doesn't help developing countries. The carbon credits RWE receives for Chinese hydropower projects corresponds to the yearly emissions of a coal power plant."

Ann-Kathrin Schneider from the German office of International Rivers adds, "7500 people have been forcibly relocated due to the Xiaoxi dam in China - a CDM project that the German government approved. Today many of these people are now impoverished. To speak about large dams contributing to sustainable development and to support them in the context of climate protection is laughable. The governments of the North need to stop creating loopholes through the CDM and reduce emissions domestically, instead of continuing to build more coal power plants in Germany and financing large dams in China."

Media contacts: 

Barbara Haya, International Rivers, bhaya@berkeley.edu