Tuesday, 1 November 2011

WikiLeaks Cable Highlights High Level CDM Scam in India | International Rivers

WikiLeaks Cable Highlights High Level CDM Scam in India | International Rivers

WikiLeaks Cable Highlights High Level CDM Scam in India

Katy Yan

A recent WikiLeaks cable from the US Consulate in Mumbai provides irrefutable evidence that carbon credits generated by Indian projects and sold to European countries under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) are a lot of hot air.

It reports on a seminar in 2008 with the US Consulate General Office, analysts from the Government Accountability Office (which later released a critical report on offsets), and the executives of top Indian companies. The cable notes that these companies "conceded that no Indian project could meet the 'additionality in investment criteria' to be eligible for carbon credits."

While none of this is really surprising (studies from the University of Zurich and by other experts have provided ample evidence that Indian hydro and coal-fired power plants under the CDM would have been built regardless of carbon credits), the shocker is that these admissions come from not just project developers but also high-level people within the CDM.

Conflicts of interest

One such person is R K Sethi, Member Secretary of the National CDM Authority in India and then-Chairman of the CDM Executive Board. In the cable, he admits that India's National CDM Authority "takes the 'project developer at his word' for clearing the ‘additionality' barriers."

25 percent of all CDM projects in the pipeline are from India. The fact that Sethi, a top CDM Executive Board member, is also the member secretary of India's designated national CDM authority (DNA) shows a clear conflict of interest.

Lots of hot air and no real emissions reductions

Non-additional projects in India mean no real emissions reductions are occurring.

Non-additional projects in India mean no real emissions reductions are occurring.

According to the cable, Mathsy Kutty of Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a CDM Executive Board-accredited validation and verification organization for CDM projects and an insider in the CDM shell game, affirmed what Sethi said when she told the US Consulate General Office that:

"the designated authorities of host countries approve projects in a cursory manner and do not check to see whether the project meets all the requirements laid down by the CDM Executive Board."

India accounts for 15% of all Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) expected by 2012. A total of 112 million CERs have been issued so far to Indian projects, the equivalent of 112 million metric tons of CO2. The fact that Sethi admitted that his DNA does not take seriously the additionality criteria throws into question whether any of these emission reductions are real. Supposing that all these CERs are fake, that would be equivalent to allowing 26.5 coal-fired power plants to continue polluting in Europe.

Banks complicit with gaming the system

A number of bank representatives were also present at the seminar. According to Somak Ghosh, President of Corporate Finance & Development Banking at Yes Bank:

"project developers prepare two balance sheets to secure funding: one showing the viability of the project without the CDM benefit (which is what the bank looks at) and another demonstrating the non-viability of the project without the CDM benefit."

Ghosh continued to point out that:

"no bank would finance a project which is viable only with carbon revenues because of the uncertainty of the registration process, unclear guidelines on qualifying CDM projects and because carbon revenue is only a by-product revenue stream of the main operations of the company."

Since the risks with acquiring CDM projects are so high, banks would never finance a truly additional project – further proof that most Indian projects are non-additional. This is not just limited to national banks like Yes Bank, who decide to look the other way as these scams play out, but also to major global players like the World Bank.

Case study: Mega Hydro Project in India fails additionality and sustainability criteria

The Rampur Village, site of the proposed Rampur dam, in Himachal Pradesh (SANDRP)

The Rampur Village, site of the proposed Rampur dam, in Himachal Pradesh (SANDRP)

The Rampur Hydropower Project is the latest example in a series of non-additional Indian projects that have tried to game the system. Rampur is a 412 MW hydropower project on the Satluj River in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN), an Indian hydropower company originally created by the World Bank, signed an implementation agreement for the project with the local government in 2004. The Indian Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for it in 2005. The World Bank approved a loan of $400 million for Rampur in 2007. Rampur is now over 70 percent complete. At no time during this process did SJVN signal any prior consideration of the CDM or that it would depend on carbon credits to move forward.

Rampur would supposedly cut emissions by 1,407,658 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, equivalent to the CO2 emitted from over 276,000 passenger vehicles. The Swedish Energy Agency is the buyer, and if the project is registered, Sweden would benefit by not having to reduce their emissions by the same amount even though the offsets in India are fake.

Instead of reducing emissions at home, Sweden is paying India to do it for them. (http://www.ecofriend.com)

Instead of reducing emissions at home, Sweden is paying India to do it for them. (http://www.ecofriend.com)

In addition, Rampur fails to meet the CDM's sustainability criteria. The Linking Directive under the CDM requires EU Member States to ensure that the World Commission on Dams (WCD) criteria be respected when approving hydro projects exceeding 20 MW. Yet local communities affected by the project claim that they neither were consulted nor did they benefit from the project. Environmental and health concerns include an increase in dust problems, asthma rates, and lower harvests. According to a 2009 field report, no prior consultation had been conducted and none of the developer's promises for clean water or school supplies had been delivered.

Climate change no laughing matter

The impacts of climate change are taking a real, present and serious toll on our rivers, biodiversity, and communities, particularly in Africa and South Asia. Weather-related disasters in India and Pakistan, for instance, are a serious problem that's likely to increase in a warming world. This means that the UNFCCC, which administers the CDM, should not be asleep at the wheel when all this is happening, but instead should reject all dubious projects like Rampur. This also means that both host countries (particularly India given its vulnerability to climate change) and buyer countries have a responsibility to ensure that emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol are real, that significant emissions reductions occur at home, and that renewable energy projects benefit local communities instead of putting them at further risk to climate change impacts.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Climate change scientist faces lie detector test - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

Climate change scientist faces lie detector test - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

It's the next step in "Polarbeargate" – one of two scientists whose report on dead polar bears in the Arctic helped make the animal a potent symbol of climate change has been asked to take a lie detector test as part of an investigation by US agents.

The 2006 report from American wildlife researchers Jeffrey Gleason and Charles Monnett told of dead bears floating in the Arctic Ocean in 2004, apparently drowned, and focused attention on the vulnerability of the animals to the melting of the Arctic ice, which they need for hunting. Widespread references were made to the dead bears and they figured in the film An Inconvenient Truth, made by Al Gore to highlight the risks of global warming.

But earlier this year, allegations were made within the US Department of the Interior that acts of scientific misconduct might have been committed in relation to the report, and the Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) began an inquiry.

Mr Monnett, who works for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, a Department of the Interior agency, became the focus of the inquiry and was interviewed several times by OIG agents; in July he was suspended.

The OIG said the suspensions followed concerns about a research contract he had been involved in awarding, and not his polar bear article. But some pressure groups alleged the episode represented political interference with science and was a witch-hunt, or at least an attempt to intimidate researchers whose studies might affect the politics of climate change. The issue became known in some quarters as "Polarbeargate".

Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute with the Centre for Biological Diversity, a charity that campaigned to have the polar bear listed as a threatened species in the US, said at the time: "There's no way this can have anything but a chilling effect on the ability of other scientists to carry out their work."

Mr Monnett has now returned to work but the investigators are now focusing on his colleague and fellow author of the report, Mr Gleason, who has already been interviewed, earlier this year. This week Mr Gleason was interviewed intensively by investigators and asked if he would take a polygraph (lie detector) test; he responded that he would only take such a test if the agent interviewing him took one as well.

"There appears to be kind of a desperate, almost fierce nature to pursue this until they find something," said Mr Gleason's lawyer, Jeff Ruch, of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Mr Ruch accuses the investigators of taking issues raised during the normal scientific peer-review process and acting as though they constitute evidence of wrongdoing.

He has filed a complaint with the department under its new scientific integrity policy, saying these issues should be investigated not by the Office of Inspector General, but by a review performed by other scientists.

Polar bears are the world's largest land carnivores and it is widely believed that extensive melting of the summer sea ice in the Arctic will seriously compromise the bear's ability to hunt the seals which are their principal food.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Not the alleged 99%

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Real Life Superheroes: Pam Coronado :: Psychic Detective, Psychic Investigaator, Psychic Reader and Spiritual Teacher

Pam Coronado :: Psychic Detective, Psychic Investigaator, Psychic Reader and Spiritual Teacher

Pam Coronado was instrumental in solving the Dally murder case in Ventura County many years ago and has worked ever since on missing persons and other mysteries. Her success rate clearly establishes her psychic superpowers, as does the inability of cheapjack destroyers masquerading as "skeptics" in making any attempt at discrediting her.

Real Life Superheroes- not just costumed nonpowereds, there are genuine superpowers out there!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Goldman Sachs rules the world. Where did Malcolm Turnbull work again?

Notes: he says it's not just the elite who can make money; the crisis is like a cancer, etc.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sarah Palin speaks the truth, as usual

Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars.  They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.

-Sarah Palin
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