05 September 2011

Wikileaks and the CDM: no "additionality" in India

Several of the recently released wikileaks cables discuss the CDM in passing. A cable on the CDM in India is particularly enlightening, however. It reports on a seminar with the US Consulate General Office (Congenoff) and analysts from the Government Accountability Office (which later released a skeptical study on offsets).

At a seminar on CDM in Mumbai, R K Sethi, Member Secretary of the National CDM Authority and the present Chairman of the CDM Executive Board, publicly admitted that the National CDM Authority takes the "project developer at his word" for clearing the "additionality" barriers. Mathsy Kutty of Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a CDM Executive Board-accredited validation and verification organization for CDM projects, told ConGenoff 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. CDM projects in India do not have to be validated or verified to get host country approval while both processes are mandatory to get the project registered with the UNFCCC, she continued. For this reason, she pointed out, Indian projects account for 44 percent of the total projects rejected by the CDM Executive Board.

Most Indian CDM projects are initiated without foreign backing, and

For this reason, Santonu Kashyap of Asia Carbon maintains that Indian projects can never fulfill the additionality requirement as no developer will risk investing in a project unless he is certain of a revenue stream independent of the CDM incentive. In a separate discussion with GAO analysts and ConGenoff, Jamshed Irani, Director of Tata Sons and the Chairman of the Tata group's Steering Committee on Sustainability, agreed that no Indian company is brave enough to rely entirely on a CDM-driven revenue stream.

Although all of the CDM project developers spoken to claim that their projects have sustainability benefits, the cable concludes that

Amidst complaints about the "arbitrary" decisions of the CDM Executive Board, all interlocutors conceded that all Indian projects fail to meet the additionality in investment criteria and none should qualify for carbon credits.

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