Greenhouse gas emissions up despite CDM

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 November)—The clean development mechanism or CDM set up by the Kyoto Protocol has failed to bring down the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere, groups concerned about climate change said.

Joseph Purugganan, research associate of the Focus on the Global South-Philippine Programme, said that despite the implementation of CDM as a flexibility mechanism to allow developed countries to cope with their emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol, greenhouse gas emissions have increased.

The Kyoto Protocol is treaty that aims to regulate the amounts of greenhouse gases in particular carbon being released into the atmosphere by each state-party as part of multilateral efforts to possibly roll back the effects of global warming.

But CDM’s failure to bring down the levels of emissions opens up the possibility of its being phased out when its implementation ends in 2012, a prospect that worries companies putting up projects under such mechanism.

“Under the mechanism, developing countries would rather invest on CDM and the carbon market because it allows the continuity and increase of production and the same development model that created the climate crisis,” said Khevin Yu, national secretariat of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, in a presentation here Monday.

He said that by passing on the responsibility of reducing emissions to developing countries, rich countries like the United States are able to continue the industries that emit greenhouse gases.

“So, instead of reducing greenhouse emission, the CDM instead increased it,” Purugganan said.

The prospect of the CDM being phased out has worried companies like the Aboitiz-owned Hydro Electric Development Corporation (Hedcor), which opened its 42-megawatt run-of-river hydropower plant in Sibulan, Davao del Sur this year.

Rene Ronquillo, Hedcor president, said that their hydropower plant only started operating this year, so the company only has a year after their operation started to cash in on the carbon credits under the CDM program.

“But it’s possible that we might only operate for only a year before the mechanism will be phased out,” he said.

Hedcor’s hydropower plant in Sibulan is one of the 42 renewable projects in the Philippines which can take advantage of the CDM.

Purugganan said the government cannot count on private corporations to fight climate change.

“They’re only there for profit,” he said. “Even Hedcor is unapologetic about it.” (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)