Press Advisory: Carbon Offsetting Benefit Tracker launched to showcase local reality of CDM projects
Brussels/Lima 8 December 2014, today the ‘CDM Benefit Tracker India’ will be launched in Lima, Peru. The Tracker compares eye witness accounts of local communities with sustainability objectives of CDM projects and finds severe discrepancies between claims and local realities. Local groups are now calling on countries in Lima to establish monitoring and verification provisions for sustainability objectives and the establishment of a CDM grievance mechanism in case of adverse impacts.
The UN’s carbon offsetting mechanism, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was designed to bring sustainable development to developing countries while enabling industrialized countries to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective way. In 2014, the CDM Executive Board published a Sustainable Development Tool for project developers to highlight co-benefits of their projects.
Eva Filzmoser from Carbon Market Watch commented “The CDM sustainable development tool is a positive step but doesn’t do the job. The tool is voluntary, does not require monitoring or verification and does not offer opportunities for public input. This makes it useless to understand the sustainable development impacts of carbon offsetting projects”.
In order to address these shortcomings, Carbon Market Watch together with local groups in India developed the ‘CDM Benefit Tracker’, a publicly accessible interactive map that compares the local realities witnessed by local communities living at the vicinities of CDM projects with the sustainable development promises outlined in the project application documents. At its initial stage, the tracker includes information from 27 CDM projects located in 10 different states in India.
For example, the Sasan coal power plant in Singrauli, India which was registered in 2010 promises that the increased electricity generated by the project will support economic growth of the region and address the electricity deficit situation. It also claims that through its implementation, major pollutants would be reduced with positive effects for the local environment.
Two fact finding missions by several organisations to the project in 2014 show that these claims are in stark contrast to what was promised. The groups found that “Electricity is not made available for local residents who still depend on generators. Sasan does not offer positive effects but contaminates the Singrauli area with fly ash that pollutes the water and poisons the harvest, and even worse, residents who protested the forced relocations were abducted and never found.”
Prior to registration, each project must consult local stakeholders. The Sasan project information states that an open consultation meeting took place with overwhelming positive response for the project, including a “request for the implementation of another such project by Reliance Power, deploying supercritical technology as it would benefit them, being environmentally friendly, and would create several livelihood opportunities”.
“The findings of the fact finding mission also show that the local stakeholder consultation was manipulated to only reach people in support of the project. A newspaper announcement, as described by the project, is not an appropriate means of reaching local people that are mostly illiterate.” added Filzmoser. ”The CDM reform discussions in Lima must address these shortcomings, inter alia by establishing a CDM grievance mechanism for affected stakeholders”.
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Notes for journalists:
The CDM benefit tracker will be launched at the occasion of an event in Lima “The Sasan Coal Power CDM Project – Lessons Learnt For Climate Finance”, 8 December, 10.00 – 12.00, People Summit, 335 Av. Uruguay, Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores de Telefónica del Perú, Piso. 12
In October, a fact finding team of five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — the Sierra Club, 350.org, Carbon Market Watch, Friends of the Earth U.S. and Pacific Environment — released a scathing report. The 3,960-megawatt project has received over $900 million in taxpayer finance from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Following the severe concerns over human rights abuses, the Bank’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is currently conducting an investigation of Ex-Im Bank’s participation in the financing of the project.
- The Benefit Tracker can be accessed here: map.carbonmarketwatch.org
- Link to CDM project design document
- Link to the fact finding report The U.S. Export-Import Bank’s Dirty Dollars