Global Warming UN


Distribution of wealth scheme on a global level. 


UN cap-and-trade system: Good for China and India, but who else?

By George Russell

Published May 14, 2012

The United Nations-administered cap and trade system to reduce planetary greenhouse gases through investment in “green” projects in developing countries has directed most of its billions of dollars in investments to China and India, two of the world’s most notorious polluters.

Indeed, China and India together have gotten more than 70 percent of the more than 4,100 projects so far registered for the system, while most developing nations, aside from a handful, have gotten hardly any at all, according to the system’s own accounts.

At the same time, critics are charging that the system established under the controversial Kyoto Protocol to combat greenhouse gas emissions, and known as the Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM, is “costly, unpredictable, unreliable, prone to gaming,” and “counter-productive due to perverse incentives,” according to a consultants’ report prepared for the European Commission in Brussels last December.

The question of whether it has, in fact, reduced global greenhouse emissions by the equivalent of some 927 million tons of carbon, as heralded by the carbon reduction certificates tallied on the CDM website is also open to vigorous dispute.

In all, “one gets the impression of a mechanism that has not delivered on its objectives as well as many had hoped,” as the European Commission consultants delicately put it, while they critiqued the cap and trade system’s “lack of transparency,” “inconsistency of decisions,” “conflicts of interest,” and extensive support for “unsustainable technology for emissions reduction.”

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