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HFC-23 is an unwanted byproduct from the production of HCFC-22, a refrigerant gas that is currently subject to a phase-out under the Montreal Protocol due to its ozone-depleting properties. As a greenhouse gas, HFC-23 is 11,700 times more potent than CO2 and has an atmospheric lifetime of 250 years.
The CDM issues carbon credits for the destruction of HFC-23 gases to prevent their release into the atmosphere. There are currently 19 HFC-23 abatement projects registered under the CDM. These 19 projects are projected to deliver more than 476 million carbon credits by 2012. Over half of these credits (288 million) have already been issued, representing about 50% of the credits from all CDM projects issued to date.
Analysis of monitoring data from all registered HFC-23 destruction projects revealed that CDM HCFC-22 plants are intentionally operated in a manner to maximize the production of offset credits. The analysis indicates that because of the extra CDM revenue more HCFC-22 is produced and far more HFC-23 generated than would occur without the CDM. Following the official request by CDM Watch to revise AM0001 and an investigation by the UNFCCC methodology panel which confirmed that the methodology had major loopholes, the CDM Executive Board suspended the HFC-23 methodology in 2010.
At their 49th meeting, the UNFCCC methodology panel presented a new version of the methodology AM0001 which will be discussed at the next meeting of the CDM Executive Board starting on 30 May 2011.
The text (to be downloaded above) lays out the main issues that remain with this project type, despite the improvements that have been made in the revisions.