The UN has confirmed that it is considering a formal review of its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) after a new report leveled fresh criticism at the high profile carbon offsetting scheme.
A coalition of green groups working under the banner CDM Watch yesterday tabled a formal request calling on the UN’s climate change secretariat to overhaul the CDM and crack down on alleged “gaming” of the system that has allowed some firms to benefit from increasing their greenhouse gas emissions.
The controversy surrounds companies which currently receive carbon credits for capturing and destroying the powerful greenhouse gas HFC-23 – a by product resulting from the production of the refrigerant gas HCFC-22.
CDM Watch has alleged the way the CDM is structured means that chemical gas manufacturers based in China and India and South and Central America have been incentivised to increase the production of HCFC-22 and HFC-23 as they can then earn Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) carbon credits, which can be sold into carbon markets such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Lambert Schneider, a former member of the UN climate change secretariat’s Methodologies Panel and one of the original designers of the CDM system, has joined the ranks of its critics. “The amount of HCFC-22 production and HFC-23 generation appears to be mainly driven by the possibility to generate offset credits rather than other factors,” he said.
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