Scientist opposes trading of carbon emission credits

Updated: 2009-12-16 07:35

(HK Edition)

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark: A Taiwanese delegate attending a global meeting on climate change in Copenhagen has argued it is not in the spirit of carbon emissions reduction if carbon emission credits are traded like commodities futures.

"Every country should spare no effort to cut carbon emissions.

"Only if they cannot achieve binding targets should they be able to buy credits," Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) Executive Vice President Chu Hsin-sen told reporters in Copenhagen.

"It is not helping global carbon emissions reduction if one does nothing but just buy the credits," he added.

Chu, who is heading Taiwan's delegation at the 2009 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Denmark's capital, was addressing calls for relaxing provisions in the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The mechanism allows industrialized countries to help developing countries earn carbon emission credits by investing in projects or transferring technology that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in developing countries.

The mechanism, however, has sparked criticism and disputes because some interpret it as giving developed countries the right to pollute. Some studies have concluded that many CDM programs have loopholes and have contributed little to carbon emissions reduction.

Environmental groups have expressed concern over a trend emerging from the ongoing climate talks in Copenhagen where some negotiators hope to relax CDM restrictions to make it easier for rich investors to buy carbon emission credits.

One of those groups lobbying for more freedom under the cap-and-trade system is the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).

Although the ITRI is one of the IETA's 169 members, Chu said he does not agree with the group's intention to treat carbon emission credits as futures.

The IETA has been nominated as one of eight candidates for the Angry Mermaid Award - launched by environmental protection organizations including Friends of the Earth International to shame companies and corporate lobbyists who are trying to sabotage effective action on climate change.

The winner of the Angry Mermaid Award was to be announced alongside the Copenhagen climate talks yesterday.

China Daily/CNA

(HK Edition 12/16/2009 page2)