U.N. Carbon Credits Called Bogus

WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, released a report this week claiming that one-fifth of all United Nations carbon credits are going to projects that might actually be increasing emissions. Through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a provision in the Kyoto Protocol that encourages developed nations to share clean technologies with the developing world, countries can earn certified emissions reduction credits (CERs) by investing in clean energy projects. The WWF report claims that one in five such credits go to projects that would have happened anyway, allowing rich countries to pollute more.

The WWF specifically charges the EU, the world’s largest carbon market following its 2005 launch of the European Emissions Trading Scheme, with fixing the CDM. The developing global carbon market is expected to double in value this year, to $70 billion, and the World Bank estimates that the CDM market alone was worth $5 billion in 2006, Reuters reports. If the EU wants to continue to build global confidence in its carbon market, ill-defined programs like the CDM cannot be allowed to give massively polluting nations and companies such wiggle room.

The report comes a week before the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali, where the WWF is hopeful that countries will seriously consider their recommendations in the hopes of making real reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll see.