Tuesday, September 7, 2010

GAIA Interventions at CDM’s 55th Executive Board Meeting

Bonn, Germany, 30 July 2010


My name is Neil Tangri, with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. We work closely with the wastepicker groups that some of you met in Copenhagen, and we are concerned about the CDM’s support for incinerators and landfill gas systems.

This week, the EB approved a revision to AM25, which has been used to support a significant number of waste incinerators. As you may know, waste incinerators are a technology of special concern under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, because they have been identified as the primary global source of dioxins – a human carcinogen that has been called the most toxic chemical known to humanity. The revision that was just approved expands the scope of AM25 to include incineration of wastewater sludge from paper mills, which is also a major dioxin precursor.

My question relates to the CDM’s obligations towards other UN treaties aside from the UNFCCC. This has been raised earlier in relation to the Montreal Protocol, but it applies equally to the Stockholm Convention, the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and others.

As a United Nations body, the CDM has an obligation to avoid undermining other UN treaties. When the CDM approves a project which runs counter to another UN treaty, it actually is creating a financial incentive for parties to neglect their obligations under international law. This is obviously counterproductive, and it indicates that the CDM cannot simply rely on parties to ensure treaty compliance; it must avoid creating such conflicts of interest in the first place.

As it currently stands, I do not see any step in the approval process – either for projects or methodologies – which conducts a sufficient review of potential conflicts with other treaties. This is not currently an obligation of PPs, DOEs, or validators; and, as far as I know, it has not been a systematic focus of the EB’s deliberations when considering projects and methodologies.

My question is, does the EB contemplate creating a process for the systemic review of potential treaty conflicts? And if not, how does it propose to ensure the CDM avoids conflicts with other treaties?

Responses from CDM Executive Board Members:

(Note that these notes are not authoritative; please refer to the video for exact comments).

Clifford Mahlung (Chair): The intention of CDM policy is not to do things that other treaties don’t support. I don’t know if it’s the case here. I don’t know how we can enforce national laws. I don’t know if this is one of our top in terms of methodologies. as you know methodologies are proposed by PPs… not sure what the implications are for the concerns you face.

Martin Hession (Vice-Chair): Our mandate is focused on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. We have obligations to ensure that host countries ensure sustainable development. We don’t have a general mandate around enforcement of other treaties.

Mahlung: It depends on DNAs because the project has to contribute to sustainable development.

Akihiro Kuroki: Compliance with international treaties is the host party’s role. They have to follow in accordance with local regulation with regard to E-plus/E-minus policies. It is already covered by general conditions. If you have any fault in the methodology, we are happy to have your opinion on how to revise that. This issue should be treated in host country’s party.

Thomas Bernheim: I have experience in waste management. Incinerators would have to be part of an optimal waste management strategy. Recycling is not necessarily most cost-effective, depends on situation. Cannot make comments on national government priorities. Methodologies have certain application conditions, cannot go beyond national legislation e.g. mandate filters for dioxin. We have competing methodologies for organic waste treatment.

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