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 plants.

As the AP says, with over 750 hydropower projects in the CDM pipeline, adding 25 every month, China is at the forefront of selling carbon credits from hydropower projects to European companies.

The AP story was prompted by International Rivers' research and analysis, including our field report from the Xiaoxi Dam, a hydropower project that is selling CDM credits to RWE. AP heard from the villagers who were resettled for Xiaoxi that they had received less than the legally required amount of compensation, and were not asked whether they wanted to be relocated or not. As I wrote last week, we learned from Gustaf Klarin from Swedish Radio that the German company Tüv Süd (which was hired to assess whether Xiaoxi was eligible for the CDM, and separately whether it was compliant with the WCD) travelled with the police when doing their assessment of Xiaoxi.

All this information has not yet led to the suspension of the German approval of carbon credits from Xiaoxi. But I am guessing that the amount of bad press the Xiaoxi project is earning might be reason enough for RWE to rethink their strategy of buying carbon credits from large hydro in China. We will keep you posted...