An effort to decrease emissions of the super greenhouse gas HFC-23 has led to a largely-false carbon market that should be eliminated, says the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
HFC-23 is a byproduct of the refrigerant HCFC-22, which is currently being phased out under the Montreal Protocol for its ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas properties. However, the effort to reduce HFC-23 through a carbon market has been hampered by companies in India and China producing extra HFC-23 just so they can capture and destroy it—and receive lucrative carbon funds.
“Indian producers have recently reported revenue from HFC-23 credits to be double the sales of the actual refrigerant HCFC-22,” explains Natasha Hurley, campaigner with EIA, in a press release.
To deal with this fraudulent market, the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has proposed cutting the allowable emissions credits by two-thirds. However, EIA says this doesn’t go far enough.
“[It] does nothing to fix this absurd subsidy which is not only damaging to the reputation of the CDM but also blocking international efforts to deal with all HFCs cost-effectively under the Montreal Protocol,” Hurley says.
In the US and Europe, manufacturers voluntarily capture and destroy HFC-23, which has a warming potential 1,810 times that of carbon dioxide.
“On balance, HFC-23 crediting has already caused more harm than good for global climate, and clearly the only way to fix the HFC-23 methodology is to eliminate it,” said Samuel LaBudde, EIA senior campaigner.
(11/28/2011) The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2010, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which found that warming from greenhouse gases rose 29 percent from 1990 to 2010. The announcement was made just a few days prior to officials meet at the 17th Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, where expectations are low for a strong, binding agreement with a number of wealthy nations stating they expect no new agreement to take affect until 2020.
(11/13/2011) Not known for alarmism and sometimes criticized for being too optimistic, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that without bold action in the next five years the world will lock itself into high-emissions energy sources that will push climate change beyond the 2 degrees Celsius considered relatively ‘safe’ by many scientists and officials.
(11/01/2011) Hydroelectric power is often promoted as green energy, yet dams, especially in the tropics, can be significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. When built, reservoirs trap vegetation, which, as it rots, emits both methane and carbon into the atmosphere. A new study in Science of the Total Environment found that a dam in Lao PDR remained a significant source of greenhouse gas emission even a decade after construction.