“Clean” Development Mechanism?

I knew the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism), a component of the Kyoto Protocol, was broken but I had no idea it was funding the construction of new coal plants?! Whaaa?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/12/us-india-carbon-coal-idUSTRE76B1XI20110712

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4 Responses to “Clean” Development Mechanism?

  1. John says:

    Very interesting, though it seems that the objection here is not that it’s a (cleaner) coal-based technology in question, but rather that the project clearly doesn’t pass the additionality requirement (i.e. it would have been built even without CDM funding). A fundamental challenge with CDM permitting, and with comparative lifecycle assessment in general, is defining the baseline or ‘counterfactual’ that would take place in the absence of carbon markets.

  2. Paul says:

    Yes, my objection is on a broader level, that the CDM (or any other mechanism) should not fund a coal plant, regardless of its cleanliness. Its a tough issue – what is the CDM’s purpose? To reduce, at any cost, emissions? Or to enable technology transfer and implementation of new technology? In my mind, it should be the latter. It can’t do both, and to give out credits for a coal plant that are worth as much as technology that has ZERO emissions doesn’t make sense. Maybe my opinion would change if CCS was feasible and the plant was being built with CCS. Seriously, this plant will be in operation for the next 30 years! Is this really technology transfer or does this technology already exist in India? Sounds like the latter (beyond the argument about additionality, the technology is already feasible in that country). Maybe CDM should be reserved for alternative or cutting edge energy solutions, leaving retrofitting and upgrading of current technology to the country level? Thoughts?

  3. Paul says:

    Lets think about worst case scenario for a second – 50% or 60% of US energy is from coal. Pretend we are a developing country, and we just upgrade all our coal plants to more efficient ones with CDM money? Does that really help our situation? Maybe a little but now we are stuck with coal plants for another 30 years… see what I mean?
    This ties back into an issue I wrote about before in Maryland – trying to decide if MSW boilers should be on the same “level” as solar and wind:
    https://bioenergyigert.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/biomass-plants-polluting-like-coal-plants/

  4. Pingback: Perverting the CDM | Energy and the Future

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