"Everthing is Beautiful" until it morphs into a "Bird Killer" Part 2
The Guardian carries this feed from Reuters, emphasis mine:
LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - One in five carbon credits issued by the United Nations are going to support clean energy projects that may in fact have helped to increase greenhouse gas emissions, environmental group WWF said on Thursday. The United Nations runs a scheme under the Kyoto Protocol that allows rich nations to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries and in return receive certified emissions reduction credits (CERs) to offset their own emissions. But WWF said in a report that the credits are being delivered to projects that would have gone ahead anyway, even without the extra incentive provided by U.N. approval under the scheme, called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). ...
It said the problem damages the global carbon market, which is expected to more than double in value to around $70 billion this year.
This is a variant of the problem discussed earlier here.
Wikipedia explains how the "Clean Development Mechanism" is supposed to work:
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialised countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment (called Annex 1 countries) to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries. The most important factor of a carbon project is that it establishes that it would not have occurred without the additional incentive provided by emission reductions credits.
As the CDM is an alternative to domestic emission reductions, the perfectly working CDM would produce no more and no less greenhouse gas emission reductions than without use of the CDM. However, it was recognized from the beginning that if projects that would have happened anyway are registered as CDM projects, then the net effect is an increase of global emissions as those "spurious" credits will be used to allow higher domestic emissions without reducing emissions in the developing country hosting the CDM project. Similarly, spurious credits may be awarded through overstated baselines, causing the same problem. Such a rejection is termed a "false positive".
On the other hand, if a project is rejected because the criteria is set too high, there will be missed opportunities for emission reduction. Such a rejection is termed a "false negative". For example, if it costs $75 to remove just one tonne from a domestic power station in a developed country, while the same money would reduce 37.5 tonnes of emissions through a genuinely additional CDM project in China, it is important that the validation process does not become so bureaucratic or onerous as to dissuade the more effective option. Some observers report that the CDM process is producing far more of these false negatives than false positives.
NGOs have criticized the inclusion of large hydropower projects, which they consider unsustainable, as CDM projects. Other concerns are the lack of renewable energy CDM projects and the inclusion of sinks as CDM projects.
Negotiators have not yet been able to agree on whether, or how, carbon capture and storage projects should be allowed under the CDM. They are also discussing how to reduce as much Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions as possible under the CDM without creating a perverse incentive to build more HCFC-22 production facilities just to get the revenues from selling CDM credits. If this were to happen, developing countries' obligations to stabilise (2016) and phase out (2040) HCFC-22 would be in jeopardy.
In one adroit move international bureaucrats and NGOs, persons who are accountable to one, not even to an electorate, have achieved vast power over economic activity in every country. Now people the world over are hearing about "fine tuning", "thresholds" and credits -- the whole vocabulary of regulation and bureaucracy -- and realize that it applies to them. All without having enacted any of those measures. The Kyoto Protcol operates in many ways like a Trojan virus, "a piece of software which appears to perform a certain action, but in fact, performs another", loaded up through a backdoor.