In a decision criticized as “unfortunate” and even “insane” by onlookers, the United Nations has decided that new coal plants are eligible for carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The CDM is a trading platform set up by the UN that allows developed countries to obtain verified emissions reduction credits through renewable energy, energy efficiency, power plant fuel switching, and sustainable transportation projects in developing countries in order to meet Kyoto Protocol targets.
Now the UN has added coal to the list of eligible projects. Again.
At a CDM Executive Board meeting last week, the organization approved new rules that allow more efficient supercritical coal plants built in developing countries to obtain carbon credits. So theoretically, a coal-fired power plant in Europe could be “offset” by carbon credits not through renewable energy, but through another carbon-burning coal power plant in India.
“This destroys the sense that there is some sanity and rationale to this mechanism,” said Justin Guay, head of the international climate program at the Sierra Club. “The fact that we are defending coal plants as part of low-carbon finance is crazy.”
The Sierra Club and the ...