Friday, August 3, 2012

Despite failure to "lauch" at Rio+20 --- UN opens up a 'help desk' to aid roll out of carbon offset projects (no longer pilots)

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The UN's climate change secretariat, the UNFCCC, has this week launched a help desk service designed to help developing countries accelerate the rollout of emission reduction programmes under its Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) offsetting scheme.

The service is to be made available to so-called designated national authorities (DNAs) in under-represented regions and countries. African nations, the groups of least developed countries and small island developing states, and countries that had fewer than 10 CDM projects approved as of the end of 2010 will be eligible for the service.

The CDM offers those countries classified as developing under the Kyoto Protocol climate change agreement the opportunity to issue tradable carbon credits alongside projects that can demonstrate that they have led to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The scheme has driven millions of dollars of investment into renewable energy, energy efficiency, and industrial gas emission reduction projects in developing countries. But some critics have argued that the cost and complexity associated with registering projects under the CDM has resulted in the scheme being dominated by large emerging economies such as China, while poorer developing nations have struggled to benefit from the offsetting mechanism.

The launch of the new help desk follows a series of measures from the UNFCCC designed to streamline the processes governing the CDM and make it easier for governments to register projects.
The UN said that project developers could work with DNAs to submit a request for assistance that should make it easier for them to gain approval for emission reduction projects.

In particular, the help desk is expected to provide advice on how to develop standardised base lines that allow projects to calculate the level of emission reductions they will deliver and how to assess whether projects are delivering so-called "additionality", ensuring that the emission reductions they deliver would not be realised without the revenue generated from issuing offsets.

For example, the UNFCCC said that "DNAs could inquire about the requirements of specific procedures or standards that may be unclear or seek advice on how standardised baselines can help project development in their country".

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