Carbon Market Watch

For fair and effective climate protection.

CDM Watch Expectations for COP17 in Durban (Newsletter #17)

04 Nov 2011

Achieving a successful outcome at the upcoming climate change negotiations in Durban (COP17) depends fundamentally on the political will of Parties to agree to emissions reduction targets that are in line with the Cancun Agreement to prevent global warming beyond two degrees Celsius. CDM Watch believes the following issues need to be addressed at COP17:

  • Establish a mandate to agree to an equitable effort sharing approach between all countries by COP18. This mandate should be consistent with the equity principles of the UNFCCC, the historical responsibility of developed countries, and the right to sustainable development of developing countries.
  • Developed countries should commit to binding targets of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Loopholes must be closed: damage from hot air (surplus AAUs) and non-additional JI and CDM credits must be minimised; double counting for new market and non-market mechanisms must be avoided; and accountability for LULUCF needs to be strengthened.
    • No gap in legally binding commitments: Kyoto Protocol parties must commit to a second commitment period at Durban. The legal and governance structure of the Kyoto Protocol is crucial to ensuring that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity.

To improve the integrity of carbon markets under the UNFCCC, CDM Watch advocates the following important policy changes:

CCS in CDM: CCS must remain ineligible until all of the environmental, legal and safety conditions for CDM inclusion have been properly addressed and resolved

HFCs: HFC emissions must be quickly and effectively reduced in close collaboration between the UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol. New HFC-23 projects in the CDM must remain ineligible.

Human rights: The UNFCCC must acknowledge that it is required by the UN Charter to not allow human rights violations, which means that it will investigate any claims or evidence about emission reduction projects linked to human rights violations.

New market mechanisms: New market mechanisms must create a net decrease of emissions (beyond zero sum). Any framework must include a core set of principles that governs the overall interaction of different mechanisms. These include stringent and binding rules to ensure uniform quality criteria and no double counting, as well as strong safeguards that ensure sustainable development, uphold environmental treaties and the Declaration of Human Rights.

CDM reform: a thorough reform of the CDM is needed, including:

  • Additionality: strengthen additionality rules to limit the number of free-riders. In particular, large infrastructure CDM projects (which are clearly non-additional such as coal projects) must be excluded from the CDM.
  • Standardised baselines:  conservative thresholds and mandatory use of standardised approaches.
  • HFC-23: any revised methodology should be applied to the current crediting periods of all projects.
  • Human rights: clarification that CDM projects that violate or risk violating human rights are ineligible for registration or will be suspended, until the project is adjusted to comply. Clarification that Designated National Authorities be allowed to withdraw letters of approval in case of violations of any of the UN principles or of national legislation.
  • Sustainable development: definition of sustainable development co-benefit indicators and a ‘do no harm’ assessment for CDM projects to increase contribution of sustainable development and avoid negative impacts of CDM projects.
  • Monitoring: revision of reporting and verification standard to monitor and verify sustainable development criteria and claims made in the PDD, to ensure the claimed sustainability benefits of CDM projects are actually realised.
  • Stakeholder consultation: Revision of validation and verification standard and project standard to include strong guidelines for improved stakeholder involvement at local and global levels. This needs to include means to voice concerns during the implementation of CDM projects.
  • Appeals procedure: Swift implementation of a strong grievance mechanism giving civil society organisations the possibility to appeal against decisions by the CDM Executive Board.