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Trading Carbon : December - January 2011
Eva Filzmoser present a methodology revision, which was crucial," she added. More recently, projects that generate credits at new coal-fired power plants have come under scr utiny from the group. It hopes the CDM Executive Board -- which administers the mechanism -- will suspend these schemes from generating CERs. "Responsible investors would not necessarily have invested in (emission reduction initiatives at) coal plants in the first place," Filzmoser said. Yet, despite the imperfection, she said there have been some positives from the UN-backed scheme, such as the smaller scale community-based projects. Policymakers need to find a way at this year's high-level climate change conference in Durban to overhaul the mechanism to enable it to continue, she said. "The CDM does have some potential, but there is a need for fundamental reform in terms of additionality (which assesses whether the project would have gone ahead anyway without carbon finance) and how to bring the mechanism closer to local communities, if it is to continue post 2012," she said. The Kyoto Protocol's first commitment phase expires at the end of next year and Durban will seek ways to allow its flexible mechanisms, including the CDM, to continue after this date. Discussions about extending the protocol or agree a new international treaty, however, have fallen flat in recent years, and expectations are low again for this year's event. Some observers have suggested the way forward could be for countries to implement domestic and regional schemes developed in China and California, but Filzmoser said it is important that any carbon crediting programmes attached to such initiatives remain attached to legally-binding agreements. "There is a danger it (climate talks) will move out of the UN process if there is no political will. But, without binding emission reduction obligations around them, project- based mechanisms will lose their meaning. It is important that we keep the international framework," she said. l Eva Filzmoser has been programme director at influential green group CDM-Watch since March 2009. The NGO has been at the centre of a series of high profile campaigns, exposing flaws in the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). "A lot of market participants see that there are problems in the CDM, but there is no ombudsman that can investigate their complaints and that is why a group like CDM- Watch is needed," Filzmoser said. Prior to joining the group, she worked as a consultant at financial public relations firm Webber Shandwick. She used her experience as an intern at the European Commission to help firms understand the implications of EU climate and energy legislations. But she became interested in how the environmental integrity of schemes, such as the CDM, would be monitored. And so made the move from the corporate side of the fence into a NGO role at CDM-Watch -- a move she said she was happy make. Last year, the group carried out one of its most high-profile operations, challenging the amount of carbon credits awarded to CDM projects that reduce emissions at chemical refrigerant plants by destroying the potent greenhouse gas HFC 23 -- a project type that has been issued with almost 50 percent of all Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) awarded so far. The NGO argued that flaws in the methodology on which the projects are based had enabled developers to receive an excessive number of credits (see Trading Carbon, September 2010, page 15--18). CDM-Watch proposed a tougher methodology and its data-backed campaign helped facilitate a decision by the Commission to ban the use of the credits for compliance in the bloc's emissions trading scheme from May 2013. "Because we presented such well-grounded data it was difficult for people to ignore. If it had just been an ideological debate, we probably would have been ignored. We were able to Eva Filzmoser: CDM needs reform SUSANNA TWIDALE TALKS TO CDM-WATCH'S EVA FILZMOSER ABOUT ENSURING THE ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY OF THE CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM 19 PEOPLE Dec 2011/Jan 2012