Hydropower developers accused of emissions trade cheating

Hydroelectric project developers are increasing the levels of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere and cheating the global emissions trading system, said a new study released today in Bali.

International Rivers, a US-based NGO, says the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is funding dam projects — most of them in China — that would be built regardless of receiving credits, in contravention of the mechanism's basic principle.

"The CDM is blindly subsidizing the destruction of rivers, while the dams it supports are helping destroy the environmental integrity of the CDM," said the report author, Barbara Haya.

The report said that 402 large hydroelectric projects in China are now applying for CDM credits. However, there is no evidence of a substantial increase in the number of hydropower projects under construction in the country since hydropower developers started benefiting from carbon credits.

"Money that should be supporting decarbonization in developing countries is flowing into the coffers of hydropower developers with the only effect on carbon emission levels being to increase them," said Haya.

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